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Why It Took Me 10 Days to Evacuate Egypt

April 4, 2011

Here are some photos during my ten day “evacuation” back to Amreekah. ¬†It was a blast, and if anyone out there needs to evacuate I’d highly recommend going through Western Europe. ūüėČ

shaun at the restaurant we went to every day for free wifi and breakfast.

botel: our home during the evacuation in amsterdam.

shaun and meg on the shuttle boat we took each day.

tulips!

inside notre dame.

best. cookies. ever.

fun band in front of the opera house.

can't escape the pyramids. even in france.

ferris wheel in paris.

eiffel tower at night.

the eye in london.

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Leaving Cairo

February 16, 2011

As most of you guys know, there’s a bit of a revolution that is happening in Egypt. ¬†Nothing too big, just the ouster of a corrupt president and sweeping change throughout the Middle East. ¬†The implications are huge. ¬†I couldn’t possibly tell you what Egyptians are feeling or what comes next. ¬†I was just a designer there, paid for work with little interest in the society before I got there. ¬†However, my lasting image is how brave and strong the people were. ¬†I had a direct view of the whole thing.

Inconveniently, or conveniently depending on your prospective, my apartment sat just two blocks away from Tahrir Square. ¬†My windows overlooked a small alleyway where protesters would stream in to run from the police. ¬†On the first night I missed most of the protests. ¬†I had to work and subsequent protests I’d come home late to avoid the chaos. ¬†The only hint of anything would be the smell of tear gas in the air and the hundreds of riot police carefully guarding my approach home.

It never really¬†occurred¬†to me that anything would really happen. ¬†Protests would start in the morning and end at night. ¬†Nothing that would distract me from my work. ¬†But then the announcement came that a much larger and fiercer demonstration would happen January 28th. ¬†A Friday. ¬†My day off. ¬†I’d be at home all day to witness it all.

I woke up early that morning knowing full well that I wouldn’t be able to leave the house after 2pm. ¬†I got some breakfast and walked around Tahrir. ¬†Nothing too out of the ordinary. ¬†People were taking a walk and taxis zoomed by. ¬†It felt like any other Friday.

By 2pm, the marches started and it was pleasant enough. ¬†I saw them peacefully walk by my window and I immediately started questioning whether I took everything too seriously. ¬†But then the tear gas started. ¬†At first it was every few hours I’d hear them and smell them. ¬†But as the day grew longer, the frequency increased. ¬†It was at this point I started packing. ¬†Rocks were being thrown at my window and I could see people getting angrier and angrier on the street. ¬†Outside my window I saw a man hit by tear gas¬†canister, blood gushing out of his head. ¬†The viciousness and brutality of the police was shocking. ¬† It wasn’t safe for me anymore. ¬†I went to sleep that night to the sounds of tear gas and the knowledge that the police had completely left. ¬†Lawlessness on the streets.

When I woke up the next morning, I carried all my bags downstairs.  I was greeted with a large army tank in front of my building.  Windows cracked everywhere and garbage overrunning the streets.  Cars were driving on the wrong side of the road and people just stood around, dazed about what had happened to their neighborhood.

I got a taxi to our office and requested I be sent to a hotel until things calmed down.  They never really did calm down.  My night at the hotel was spent watching buildings burn down.  By the next day, my American friends and I decided to leave Cairo permanently.  The lack of police and diminishing food and money options left us little choice.

I’ll have create another post about our actual experience leaving the city but I thought this was important to get off my chest. ¬†To be honest, it wasn’t all that horrific and I feel more for the Egyptians who now have to deal with the new future and hope everything turns out okay.

2010 in review

January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter‚ĄĘ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2010. That’s about 29 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 39 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 82 posts. There were 214 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 249mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 30th with 108 views. The most popular post that day was A Night with Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, expat-blog.com, twitter.com, en.wordpress.com, and silatpanglimakasim.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for ben gibbard, deschanel sisters, cv template, architecture work samples, and cv samples.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

A Night with Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar October 2009

2

Updated CV and Work Sample March 2009
6 comments

3

Chillin’ in Berlin June 2009
1 comment

4

Work Samples January 2010

5

Curriculum Vitae December 2009

It’s Been A Long Time

December 27, 2010

Oops.  Forgot to blog about my life.

To be honest, not much has happened. ¬†Work has been extremely intense and so I haven’t had as much free time as I’d like. ¬†There was a stretch there in early December when I worked for 14 days straight…yuck. ¬†Things have eased up lately but since Christmas isn’t really celebrated here, I’m already back at work.

So what’s been going on in my life? ¬†Well I grew a mustache. ¬†Since I wasn’t going on vacation I took a vacation from myself! ¬†It’s been pretty exciting as I like stroking it (That’s what she said!).

taking a vacation from myself

I suprisingly got Wimberley’s Save-the-Date! ¬†I didn’t give it much chance since Krystal’s invitation never arrived to me. ¬†Now the hard part; trying to figure out if I can actually make it to her wedding!

egyptian postal sevices comes through!

In other news, I FINALLY visited my cousin who lives IN Cairo. ¬†Yes, I had a cousin here this whole time, and yes it took a whole year for me to finally meet her. ¬†It was the first time I’ve met her in 25 years. ¬†We ended up going to a Korean restaurant in Maadi called Gaya and had Pork Belly! ¬†Pork has finally been allowed back into Cairo via distributors from Brazil. ¬†I’m pretty sure I ate a whole pig by myself.

cousin's place...we used to own the same wooden ducks

At night, they took me to a Christmas party which turned out to be a Christmas-CAROL singing party….they kinda skipped carol part out of the description. ¬†And in typical embarassing Korean ways, they made me sing White Christmas in front of everyone…by myself. ¬†I needed a lot of alcohol for that party. ¬†Interestingly enough, they’ve lived here for ten years and already my Arabic is WAY better than theirs. ¬†Koreans are the worst at learning new languages.

I’ve continued to watch the Bears thanks to some friends who have NFL GamePass. ¬†This has made Cairo much more bearable.

i've especially enjoyed watching this guy

Well I think that’s all that happened during December and the Holidays. ¬†My time here in Egypt is winding down so I’ll let everyone know soon what my next plans are.

Happy Holidays!

Bulls Rookie Camp

November 29, 2010

I think last year I visited Chicago once while living in California. ¬†While living in Cairo?? ¬†Twice already. ¬†Last week I was home for Eid, an annual Muslim celebration. ¬†This time around I decided to stay in the Midwest for the whole ten days. ¬†It was a pretty relaxing time and I got to meet a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in ¬†a LONG time. ¬†I basically drove down to the city every night. ¬†Ate wings at least three times and probably gained about ten pounds. ¬†It was a great trip and makes me want to come back to America faster! ¬†The only thing really worth talking about is my first Bulls game of the year. ¬†Since we were first time season ticket holders we were invited to a special “rookie camp” before the Bulls vs. Wizards game. ¬†We were promised shots on the court, $1 hotdogs, and photo ops with Scottie Pippen. ¬†Only one of those promises were¬†fulfilled.

We got to the game pretty early and decided to get in a random line.  We looked at the sign and were led to believe it was a photo with Scottie Pippen. Awesome.  But as soon as we got closer to the court we realized it was just a photo opportunity at center court. WTF.  We quickly jumped out of the line and went for some $1 hotdogs.  Sold Out.  At this point we were slightly pissed.  We came to the game 4 hours early and we had nothing to show for.  We did get to shoot some jump shots (Sorry for the blurry pics.  We forgot our camera so we were reduced to using a phone).

Dan Shooting

Rome Shooting

Groot Shooting

As we were about to leave who comes walking by us? ¬†Team Ambassador Scottie Pippen! ¬†Two hours late. ¬†Rome took a picture with him while the rest of us stood and gave Scottie dirty looks (Rome is such a fanboy). ¬†We also wanted to take pics with the Championship trophies but the line was HUGE. ¬†Instead we decided to just photoshop us in. ¬†I’m hoping I’ll be able to go another game, you know, since I am season ticket holder ūüėČ

Rome and Scottie

Groot, Schmitt, Rome, and Me with Scottie and Trophies

P.S. I did get to celebrate two Thanksgivings this year. ¬†Our family celebrated on the Sunday before and on Friday we did a large 26 person potluck at my friend’s place.

Rejected Architecture Club

November 28, 2010

I’ve been working on a small Kid’s Club on and off for most of the year now without much luck. ¬†Frustratingly, I’m on concept #5 now. ¬†Here is the rejected design. ¬†Hopefully, #5 will have better luck. ¬†If not? #5 will enter the Rejected Architecture Club and be posted here soon enough.

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What I’ve Been Working On

November 7, 2010

The magic number is down to 5 days until I go back to the homeland.  Begin planning of mass consumption of pork and miller lite.

Here is the reception installation that I’ve been working on the last few days.