Guest Speaker on Campus

So earlier today I was sitting in the study area of a building at school when a nicely dressed middle aged man walked up and two students greeted him. He was a guest speaker for their class at 3:00. They were sitting right next to me and I’m a fairly curious person so I couldn’t help but listen to them.

I asked him what he was speaking about and he told me The Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War. By now I’m really interested. I asked him with what authority he was speaking like is he from the government and he told me he’s from Syria. I said great! Then he said he’s also the president of the local Arab community club and he owns 15 Little Caesars Pizzas in the area. I asked him for his business card but he didn’t have one.

I asked the students if they thought their teacher would mind if I sat in on the talk and they said they were sure he wouldn’t mind. I followed them in the room and told the teacher I was interested in hearing the talk. It turns out it was a Global Issues class so I was really happy!

Wow. Was I in for one heck of a talk.

He moved here in 1985 with $1100 in his pocket and he’s made it well for himself and I applaud him for that. Although he said some pretty wacky things and I was shocked this man was brought in to a Global Issues class as a guest speaker.

1. He kept repeating over and over again that America is heaven.

While it is true that I am moving to Vietnam it’s not as if I hate America. I just want to see the world and I want my daughter to have a worldly education. Yep, the USA is a pretty sweet place to live but heaven? Heaven? I can’t say I agree with that.

2.  He kept talking about how the leaders of Middle Eastern countries are insane. His examples were:

  • The king of Saudi Arabia paid to have houses built for every Saudi citizen.

I can’t find anything online anywhere saying this is true. What I do find is several references to the king pumping $35billion of his own dollars into government funds to help Saudi citizens get loans to build houses, open businesses, and get married. He also released people from debtors prisons. Plus he gave 15% raise for government employees, better state aid, and one year of unemployment pay for youths.

While I am sure living in Saudi Arabia would suck for me as a woman and I could write a 20 page paper and what’s wrong with the Saudi government I can’t call the king insane. Especially since it doesn’t appear that he paid for houses for every Saudi citizen. He only made it possible for Saudi citizens to take out loans. While this is a far cry from women’s rights it’s not insanity. In fact it’s down right wonderful.

  • He also called the King of Kuwait crazy. (His words not mine. Saudi king insane, Kuwaiti king crazy) Why is this man crazy you may ask? He forgave all debts and called everyone even.

True! Awesome! How sweet would it be if the US president were to forgive all debt and let us all start over again? I can hear the nation wide sigh of relief in my head. I could go on and on but I won’t. Once again I’m not saying I think Kuwait is a model country as it’s far from it but forgiving the debts of it’s citizens does not seem crazy to me it actually seems nice.

  • I can’t remember if this was Saudi Arabia, Syria or Kuwait but he said he prepaid for $5 worth of gas but the pump didn’t shut off and he got more gas than he had paid for. He went in to pay for the rest and the attendant said don’t worry about it, it was our mistake. Guess what he said about the attendant? He was crazy. He was crazy because he didn’t make him pay for the gas he got. But it was a mistake and the attendant admitted to the mistake and said don’t worry about it. How does that make him crazy? In my mind it makes him nice. I think this guy is so obsessed with capitalism and money that he can’t even imagine someone being nice. Nice=crazy to him.

3. He said that he does not believe that Obama or the United States had anything to do with the death of Osama bin Laden. He thinks Osama bin Laden died of liver problems and it was all a huge publicity stunt for Obama.


Remember this man was brought in as a guest speaker on a university campus.

4. He said that the war in Syria is not a civil war at all. He said the people that started the war against the government and the rebels that are fighting now are Chechen.

I looked into this as well. Yes. There are people from Chechnya fighting in the Syrian Civil war but there are also people from China, Bosnia, and several other Arab states and the Chechens most certainly did not start the war.

5. A student asked him if there were any comparisons between the US and the Middle East and he said none at all. It’s completely impossible to compare the two.

I was a guest so I didn’t say anything but someone else spoke up and asked about corruption in the government and he refused to admit that there is any corruption in the US government because once again the US is heaven. He spoke of democracy and how wonderful it is that we can all vote and how all of our votes matter. If you know me at all you know that I think that is a beautiful idea but anyone that believes our nation is truly run like that is naive. If you are rich you matter and if you are not rich you are fodder for the rich. That’s how our country was started and not much has changed since. I don’t believe we live in the heavenly democracy this guy thinks we live in.

6. As if he hadn’t jumped the shark already he also mentioned the Malaysian plane and how “the government” knows where it is they’re just not telling us.

This guy struck me as nothing but a right wing, Tea Party nut job. I’m glad he’s made it well for himself. It’s a difficult thing to do and he succeeded. Good for him! And I mean that but wow did he come off as crazy to me. Well ya know the converts make the best zealots. He’s an American convert so he’s going to love our capitalist system more than many.

I am very disappointed that he was brought in as a speaker for a Global Issues class. Young college kids (and many not so young people) are very impressionable and they believe anything a man in a suit in the front of the room tells them. This guy stood up and told 30 college kids flat out lies. The death of bin Laden was a publicity ploy for the president? Chechens started the Syrian Civil War? The Saudi king bought a house for every citizen? These are lies.  This man belongs in the nuthouse and not speaking on a university campus as if he’s an official of some sort.

Oh yeah! There was also some anti-Christianity and anti-Semitism thrown in there but I’m always down for some anti religion talk so I won’t dwell on that part.

By the way: he didn’t talk about the Arab Spring at all and the only thing he said about Syria was that Chechens started it.

I would totally expect someone like this to speak at something like last week’s Tea Party rally in town but not on a university campus. Well…. maybe Liberty University but not a state run school. Vietnam here I come!

What I learned from his talk:

  • Nothing should ever be free.
  • USA=heaven
  • No one should ever be generous to anyone else. Ever. No matter what.
  • USA=heaven
  • The US had nothing to do with the death of bin Laden
  • USA=heaven
  • The war in Syria was started by Chechens and it’s not really a civil war at all
  • USA=heaven
  • The Malaysian plane is not really lost
  • USA=heaven



To clear some things up

You may have heard by now that I’m moving to Vietnam. My husband got an amazing job there and I am so excited I can hardly wait. Classes are almost impossible to concentrate in and if I could leave right this minute I would.

There’s one thing I would like to clear up. I have been asked the same questions over and over again and they go like this:

So what about your education? You’re just expected to give up everything for your husband and follow him?

The first time it caught me off guard? Give up everything? WHAT????

So let me explain this to everyone clearly:

My BIGGEST DESIRE in life is travel.

My second biggest desire in life is adventure.

Yes, education is very important to me and yes I have been quite obsessed with neuroscience for over a decade and yes I was planning to get a PhD in neuroscience. BUT that was only because we were not traveling and adventuring. As long as I was stuck in one place for more or less the rest of my life I wanted to continue my education in the world of science and research.

I dropped out of school the first time around and I’ve had a fun life and much to many adults in my life’s chagrin I have not really regretted it. I met a wonderful man that encouraged me to quit my hourly paid job, go back to school, and study the things that fascinate me and I did it! I’ve loved being in school but I assure you the thing I want to do the most in my life is travel!

I want to see every country and experience every culture. Since it didn’t look as if that was going to happen I was happily settling for 9 years of school and hopefully finding a job in academia for life. I could easily see myself doing brain research for the rest of my life and being happy with it.

Yay!!! That’s not the life I’m going to live after all! I get to travel! I get to see the world! I get the adventure I’ve always wanted and I get to do it with my family! I have a wonderful husband and a beautiful, adventurous daughter!!

I am SO VERY, VERY excited for this next phase of my life.

As far as education goes: my husband had to convince me that since I’m so close to a degree now I should continue taking online classes. Heck, I was ready to throw it all to the dust! I’m sure he’s right. Maybe in a few more years we’ll be in Europe long enough for me to finish a PhD program there.


Traveling in Mexico

Summer of 2013 was amazing. We traveled the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico camping, sleeping in hammocks, snorkeling the coral reef, and seeing ancient Mayan ruins. After Mexico we went to Guatemala where we have friends.

We first flew into Cancun but we got the heck out of there as fast as possible. Cancun is the land of all inclusive resorts. Why anyone would travel to a different country to only be surrounded by people just like themselves I will never know. Tulum Mexico is about a 45 minute bus ride from Cancun and while there are tourists there they are mostly Mexican tourists.

We got off the bus with our packs and asked someone where the cheapest place to camp was and they directed us to la Playa de Pescadores and off we were. It took us about 45 minutes to walk there and our teen boy was complaining the whole time.

We found the beach and we were told that we could hang our hammocks in the trees on the beach for $10 a night for the whole family. It was amazing! White sands and beautiful, clear, blue water.

I had wanted very badly to go snorkeling while we were there but we were afraid it was going to be too expensive. The only place we could find online charged $300 per person and there are 4 of us. Luckily for us that’s only the way the rich do things in Mexico! So we were hanging out on the beach and this 60something year old man walked up to us and asked if we wanted to go snorkeling or scuba diving and if so he could take us.

He took us snorkeling on coral reef with sea turtles and to several cents (under cave lakes). We were gone ALL DAY and he supplied us with professional gear (wet suits, masks) for $75! It was one of my favorite parts of the whole summer.

In Tulum the ruins are right at the beach. They are on a cliff overlooking the ocean and it’s gorgeous! I recommend anyone going there.

Lake Attitlan

This is the beautiful Lake Attitlan in Guatemala. We had a wonderful time there. While the children and my husband went zip lining I paid a tuk tuk driver to take me around town and show me the real San Pedro. I told him I wanted to see the parts that none of the tourists ever ventured to.

It was amazing! I saw child laborers, ancient women living in tiny shacks and women breaking their backs at washing the laundry in the lake. child at work

We’re moving to Hanoi!

My husband and I both share a great desire to travel and we are making our dreams come true. Several months ago he turned his resume in to a recruiter. He told him I want to make X amount of USD per month but other than that we’re open to the world!

The recruiter was not very hopeful. Apparently most international schools are looking for singles. Often times the spouse ends up miserable and wants to leave so schools simply avoid the problem by only hiring singles. We heard nothing for a long time.

Then a month ago the recruiter emailed that my husband had an interview for a job in Vietnam! He interviewed via Skype and got the job! We move to Hanoi on August 5th! I’m so excited I can barely focus on school and life here.

He will be teaching at the International School of Vietnam and our daughter gets to go there for free! I will be finishing up my degree online and enjoying asian life!