The Communicator

Document Sample
The Communicator Powered By Docstoc
					The Communicator                                                                                                July 1, 2005
                                                                                                           Volume 1, Issue 14


“For by Him all things were created: Things in heaven and earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, powers, authorities, or
rulers; all things were created by Him and for Him” ~Colossians 1:16




      Chit Chat

•    Time & Temperature

•    Culture “Shock”                               “Under the Sea”
•    Training Notes
                                          It is hot. In the last month we have had one day with a recorded high of 133 degrees,
                                one day with a high of 120 degrees and numerous days with recorded highs well over 110
•    Inspiring Words
                                degrees. This has all been accompanied by warm winds (not cool breezes), blowing sand and
•    Language Lesson            zero precipitation (unless you count the gallons of water we have been dumping to our yard and
                                flowers in an effort to keep them from wilting to nothing but a crunchy brown). Needless to say,
•    Food 101                   we are always looking for ways to keep cool. What better way to stay cool than hanging out
                                around the water? This is exactly what we did this month as we got acquainted with the Persian
•    Our Lives in Pictures      Gulf by exploring the Kuwait Scientific Center and taking scuba lessons.
                                          Late last year, the Embassy began offering a series of scuba diving certification classes.
                                After several months of deliberating about whether or not we really wanted to pay to scare
                                ourselves to death by swimming 40 feet underwater, our sense of “adventure” finally won out
                                and we signed up for the classes offered during the month of June.
                                          The weekend before our classes began; we visited the Kuwait Scientific Center and
                                Aquarium. While this was not something we did just because we were taking scuba lessons, it
                                did give us an idea of what we could expect to see while diving in the Persian Gulf.
                                           Built in 1996 by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, the
                                Scientific Center is home to four attractions: the dhow harbor, the aquarium, the IMAX Theatre
                                and the Discovery Place.
       A dhow is a                        Outside along the sea, the dhow harbor displays the only surviving Kuwaiti sailing ship
    wooden boat that            from the pre-oil era along with five smaller dhows. The largest ship is named “Fateh El-Kheir”
         is used                which means “advent of all good” and was used as a cargo ship. The smaller dhows were used
     throughout the             for pearl diving and fishing. From outside, visitors can view the giant sails that create the roof of
     Gulf for fishing           the Scientific Center and enjoy a walk (or run) along the seaside walking path. Inside, visitors
    and pearl diving.           can tour the largest aquarium in the Middle East, learn about the natural and cultural heritage of
                                Kuwait through hands-on games and experiments in the Discovery Place and enjoy a movie in
                                the 250 seat 3-D IMAX theatre. The aquarium has a great display of not only sea creatures but
                                desert creatures as well. We saw everything from bats and kangaroo rats to crocodiles, sharks
                                and “Nemo” fish. In the IMAX theatre we enjoyed a movie about the international effort to
                                extinguish the oil fires from the first Gulf War called “Fires of Kuwait”.
                                          After seeing what the Scientific Center and Aquarium offered, we were ready to see the
                                sea, or so we thought as we began our 6 day scuba class.

                                Day 1: This was probably the easiest and most boring day of the entire class. We spent the entire
                                4 hours of class time in the class room. After a brief introduction to our instructors, Mishari and
                                Mohammed, both master dive instructors, we began learning about the world of scuba diving.
                                There are two main associations through which divers can become certified: NAUI (National
                                Association of Underwater Instructors) and PADI (Professional Association of Diving
                                Instructors). We received the NAUI certification.
                                         As with any sport, there are risks and scuba diving is no different. The main risks most
                               people associate with scuba diving are shark attacks and running out of air. The truth is that there
SCUBA =                        are very few shark attacks on scuba divers and running out of air can be avoided by monitoring
   Self                        your air gauges. In addition, diving under the buddy system means you are never diving alone
Contained                      and will always have someone to assist you if necessary. This means that you had better trust
Underwater                     your buddy. Good thing Vaughn was my buddy!!
 Breathing                               After learning about the dangers of scuba diving and the importance of never diving
Apparatus                      alone we learned about the equipment used in scuba diving. We learned how to fit our mask, fins
                               and snorkel correctly as well as how to maintain our air tanks, regulators and BCD's.
                                         The final subject of our first class dealt with the science of diving. This required us to
                               dig back into the dusty recesses of our brains and retrieve the information we had learned in high
                               school science class about density and pressure. Because of its increased density, water affects
                               vision, the ability to distinguish colors, hearing, the ability to retain heat and the ability to move.
                               When light passes through water it refracts or bends causing objects underwater to appear closer
                               and larger than they do on land. This explains why new divers (including us) reach in front of an
           A BCD is a          object rather than reaching directly for an object. Colors are affected because water absorbs the
        buoyancy control       color spectrum of the sunlight. The first visible color to be absorbed is red, followed by orange,
       device. This is the     yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. In deep waters, the only colors you can see without a light
        “vest” that scuba      are blues and purples. Sound is also affected by water. Sound waves travel about four times
          divers wear to       faster in water than on land. Typically, sounds are heard underwater before the source of the
       carry their air tanks   sound can be seen. I would have to argue, however, that sounds cannot be heard at all
        and control their      underwater!
        ability to float or              Pressure is probably one of the biggest factors scuba divers must be concerned with.
        sink while in the      Increasing pressure by diving deeper affects the volume of air as well as the density of air. This
              water.           means that the deeper you dive, the more difficult it becomes to breathe and the more air you will
                               consume. It is important to develop a slow and relaxed breathing pattern because breathing
                               shallow and rapidly will waste air. Pressure also affects the air spaces in your body. The air
                               spaces in your body include your lungs, sinuses and ears. This means that if you do not equalize
                               the pressure in your air spaces while diving, you can pop an eardrum, over-expand a lung or
                               bloody a sinus. Wait a minute! This is supposed to be fun, right? All this talk about popping
                               eardrums and bloody sinuses is not sounding like fun to me! Good thing we learned and
                               practiced how to clear our air spaces while diving.
                               Day 2: After two hours in the classroom I finally got to try out my new yellow fins, snorkel and
                               mask as we moved to the pool for our first lesson in the water. After a short lesson on how to put
                               on our equipment and enter the water, Vaughn and I strapped on our air tanks and BCDs. My
                               first thought was that I hoped the water made that air tank lighter because that thing was heavy!
                               The first water skill we learned was how to enter the water wearing our scuba gear using the
                               seated side entry. Basically, we just sat on the edge of the pool and then used both hands to turn
                               and lower ourselves into the water. We both managed this skill without any problem. Of course,
                               we were in the shallow end of the pool so it was not too difficult. Once the entire class was in the
                               water, Mishari instructed us to place our regulators in our mouths, deflate our BCDs and lower
                               ourselves to the bottom of the pool. I put my regulator in my mouth, got used to breathing the air,
                               deflated my BCD, lowered myself down into the water and immediately came crashing back to
                               the surface. For 27 years I have been taught that you do NOT breathe underwater and now I am
                               supposed to change that thinking in just one day! I do not think so! Needless to say, I panicked.
                               Vaughn, being the great diving buddy he is, returned to the surface to check on me. After
                               assuring him that I was fine, I attempted to go to the bottom of the pool again, this time
                               reminding myself that it was okay to breathe through my regulator (you cannot breathe through
                               your nose because it is sealed off by your mask). I finally managed to negotiate the 3 feet depth
                               to the bottom of the pool where I joined the rest of the class. Remember the lesson on day one
                               about not breathing fast and shallow? I realized, as I sat on the bottom of the pool praying “Dear
                               God, please let me live through this personal Fear Factor”, that I needed to practice on breathing
                               slow and relaxed….
                               Day 3: Following a short time in the classroom learning about dive tables, we spent most of this
                               class in the pool. After learning to put our dive gear on using our buddy for assistance, we
                               entered the water using the giant step. This is not a jump. With your eyes forward and holding
                               your mask to your face, you take a giant step off the edge and into the water. Once again, we
                               were instructed to breathe through our regulators, deflate our BCDs and descend to the bottom of
                               the pool. The only difference this time was that we were descending to the bottom of the pool on
                               the deep end. This meant that if I panicked there was no standing up off my knees to get to the


  Page 2 of 7                                                                                                       The Communicator
              surface. We slowly began our descent as a round of thoughts swirled through my head:
               1 foot – “Breathe through the regulator that is in your mouth”; 2 feet, 3 feet, 4, feet, 5 feet – “I
              am okay, I am okay, I am okay.”; 6 feet, 7 feet, 8 feet – “Look at everyone else. They are doing
              the exact same thing and they are still alive.”; 9 feet – “I am on the bottom and I am still alive!”
              As the class practiced buddy breathing (saving your life and your buddy’s life if one of you runs
              out of air), underwater BCD adjustment and buoyancy skills, I began to feel more comfortable
              with my equipment. My initial fears began to subside and slowly, I began to relax and marvel at
              the fact that I was alive and breathing 9 feet underwater. Maybe this scuba diving thing would
              not be so bad after all.
              Day 4: This was a short class that we spent in the pool learning how to use our snorkels and how
              to perform the surface dives used for getting under water when snorkeling. Breathing through a
              snorkel while swimming on the surface helps divers conserve energy as well as the air in their air
              tanks. The 2 most important points to remember while snorkeling are to swim horizontally while
              swimming and to always clear your snorkel after a dive before breathing through it. Failure to
              remember these two items will result in a deep, choking breath of water. One thing that amazed
              me during this class was how long our instructor, Mishari, was able to stay on the bottom of the
              pool without scuba equipment. He watched each person in the class perform the surface dives by
              looking up at us from the bottom of the pool. I suppose years of underwater practice are a good
              way to increase lung capacity. Following this class, I decided that I enjoyed snorkeling more
              than scuba diving. There is just something about being able to raise your head and be above the
              surface of the water that is comforting.
              Day 5: This was our first open water dive. After a one hour drive to the marina, followed by a
              45 minute boat ride to the dive island (which was really nothing more than a pile of sand in the
              middle of the water) we were ready to jump off into the big blue waters of the Persian Gulf. We
              completed two dives today. I am just going to be honest. Our first dive was absolutely horrible.
              The wind had been blowing in the 2 days previous and had continued throughout the day. This
              meant that the sand on the bottom of the Gulf was no longer on the bottom of the Gulf. It was
              floating in the water. It was impossible to see anything. We were doing our best to follow the
              yellow fins of our instructor and hang on to the guideline that had been laid out. We did survive
              but we returned to the boat wondering what in the world we were doing spending our weekend
              being scared half out of our wits. The second dive was a little better. We still were unable to see
              much in front of us but the fears and apprehensions that had accompanied our initial open water
              dive were not as intense. We at least had a better idea of what to expect and how to handle
              everything. I remember nothing from this day except that the water of the Persian Gulf tastes
              atrocious and that I was so grateful that Vaughn was with me. I kept a death grip on his hand the
              entire time we were underwater. That evening as we drove home, we both voiced what we had
              been thinking the entire day, “We are freaking out but we are not going to quit. We will finish
              this.”
              Day 6: Our final day of class and 2 more open water dives. Thankfully, the wind was not
              blowing today. When we arrived at the island where we would be diving, our instructors told us
              not to mess with their money. We did not figure out what they were talking about until we
              looked over the side of the boat and saw a thin layer of oil floating on top of the water. This dive
              was starting out interesting. It got even more interesting. However, it got more interesting in a
              good way. For the first time since we started the class, I finally understood how interesting and
              fun scuba diving can be. Our first dive was awesome. We were able to see not only our
              instructor’s yellow fins but coral, fish and a variety of other sea-bottom dwelling creatures. We
              saw a lion fish, a crab, several zebra fish, jellyfish and I even saw an eel. We did not see any
              sharks. Our second dive was not as great as our first dive because we both had problems keeping
              the water out of our masks (saltwater stings the eyes!). Nonetheless, I did manage to turn loose
              of Vaughn’s hand and enjoy the experience of getting to see another amazing part of God’s
              creation.

              A week ago we received our certificates stating that we had “satisfactorily completed the
              requirements for qualification as a scuba diver”. While we probably will not be pursuing scuba
              diving as a hobby on a regular basis, the experience was fun, interesting and challenging.

              Until next time, get out and experience the wonders and miracles of God’s creation.
              Sea you later!
              Vaughn and Jessica


Page 3 of 7                                                                                       The Communicator
                                                Chit Chat
                      “Fun, interesting and maybe a little useful information”

    Time & Temperature
                                                            Kuwait          Central        Mountain           Eastern
                        Weather                              Time          Standard        Standard          Standard
              Averages for the month of June:                                Time            Time              Time
                                                          12:00 a.m.     4:00 p.m.       3: 00 p.m.       5:00 p.m.
    Average Maximum Temperature: 110 ° F
                                                          1:00 a.m.      5:00 p.m.       4:00 p.m.        6:00 p.m.
    Average Minimum Temperature: 81 ° F
    Rainfall: 0 inches                                    2: 00 a.m.     6:00 p.m.       5:00 p.m.        7:00 p.m.
    Daylight: 14h 01 minutes                              3:00 a.m.      7:00 p.m.       6:00 p.m.        8:00 p.m.
                                                          4:00 a.m.      8:00 p.m.       7:00 p.m.        9:00 p.m.
    A few days ago I was watching the weather forecast    5:00 a.m.      9:00 p.m.       8:00 p.m.        10:00 p.m.
    on CNN and heard the weatherman say that Dallas
    would be “baking” because they were already at 75     6:00 a.m.      10:00 p.m.      9:00 p.m.        11:00 p.m.
    degrees and would get to a high of 90 degrees         7:00 a.m.      11:00 p.m.      10:00 p.m.       12:00 p.m.
    before the day was out. After looking at my           8:00 a.m.      12:00 p.m.      11:00 p.m.       1:00 a.m.
    thermometer, which was in the shade at 4:00 in the    9:00 a.m.      1:00 a.m.       12:00 p.m.       2:00 a.m.
    afternoon, and seeing that it read 107 degrees, I
    decided that if Dallas was baking at 75 degrees we    10:00 a.m.     2:00 a.m.       1:00 a.m.        3: 00 a.m.
    must be roasting. So how hot is it really? The        11:00 a.m.     3: 00 a.m.      2:00 a.m.        4:00 a.m.
    Embassy safety office published an article in the     12:00 p.m.     4:00 a.m.       3: 00 a.m.       5:00 a.m.
    weekly newsletter warning people to be careful        1:00 p.m.      5:00 a.m.       4:00 a.m.        6:00 a.m.
    about leaving anything out in the heat. One of the
    examples they cited as to just how dangerous the      2: 00 p.m.     6:00 a.m.       5:00 a.m.        7:00 a.m.
    heat can be was an accidental garbage fire that was   3:00 p.m.      7:00 a.m.       6:00 a.m.        8:00 a.m.
    started when a bag of lawn fertilizer spontaneously   4:00 p.m.      8:00 a.m.       7:00 a.m.        9:00 a.m.
    combusted.                                            5:00 p.m.      9:00 a.m.       8:00 a.m.        10:00 a.m.
                                                          6:00 p.m.      10:00 a.m.      9:00 a.m.        11:00 a.m.
                                                          7:00 p.m.      11:00 a.m.      10:00 a.m.       12:00 a.m.
                                                          8:00 p.m.      12:00 a.m.      11:00 a.m.       1:00 p.m.
                                                          9:00 p.m.      1:00 p.m.       12:00 a.m.       2:00 p.m.
    Culture “Shock”                                       10:00 p.m.     2:00 p.m.       1:00 p.m.        3: 00 p.m.
              What Day Is It?                             11:00 p.m.     3:00 p.m.       2:00 p.m.        4:00 p.m.
   According to the following date notation,
        what date would you say it is:
                 06/07/2005.                                                          Questions?
  If you said June 7th, 2005, you would be                            Do you have any questions about life in
   wrong. It is actually July 6th, 2005. In                           Kuwait? If so, then email them to me at
        Kuwait, dates are written in                                          jwallace@vjwallace.com.
    DD/MM/YYYY notation rather than                                  I will do my best to answer them and then
 MM/DD/YYYY notation we are used to in                               publish the answers in a future newsletter.
                  America.




Page 4 of 7                                                                                           The Communicator
Training Notes                                                          Monthly Inspiration
                 What Now?
                                                              Don’t go around saying the world owes
Boston is over so now what? I have
                                                              you a living. The world owes you nothing.
enjoyed running so much over the past few
                                                              It was here first. ~Mark Twain
years that I wanted to show my friends and
family how enjoyable it could be. So I
have started the RunOKC running group in                      Life is what you make it…so make it worth
an effort to introduce my friends and                         your time.
family to the wonderful world of running
by helping them get in shape and train to
participate in the 6th annual Oklahoma City                           Language Lesson
Memorial Marathon 5 person relay. We
have 10 team members so far but there is                      A few words and phrases useful when scuba
always room for more. Want to                                 diving:
participate? Check out
http://www.vjwallace.com/OKC_Marathon                         “Are there sharks?” = fee u-roosh?
/okc.html for more information.                               Sea = il-baHr
                                                              Coral = mur-gehn
And check out this column in following                        Crab = aboo galamboo
months for updates on the RunOKC team                         Fish = samak
as well as health and fitness notes.                          “I am afraid” = ana kheh-yif




                                          Our Lives in Pictures


         Check out pictures of our visit to the Science Center and our scuba diving classes at
         http://vjwallace.com/v-web/gallery/Under_The_Sea




 Page 5 of 7                                                                                       The Communicator
Food 101
 Kuwait is famous for the rubian (also known as prawns or shrimp) that are caught in the Persian Gulf.
 In an effort to preserve the stock, fresh shrimp are only available fresh during the official fishing
 season which is September through February. When shrimp are not available fresh, they can still be
 purchased frozen. Fresh or frozen, shrimp are delicious when used in the first recipe for shrimp
 scampi. Cornbread is a good bread choice to serve with a variety of meals. The second recipe is
 definitely worth trying if you are looking for an alternative to plain cornbread. Even though it is
 called a casserole, it can be served as bread.



                                             Shrimp Scampi
 1/3 cup clarified butter (See below for information on how to make clarified butter)
 4 tablespoons garlic, minced
 1 ½ pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
 6 green onions, thinly sliced
 ¼ cup dry white wine
 2 tablespoons lemon juice
 8 large sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
 Salt
 Black Pepper

 Heat clarified butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or
 until soft but not brown. Add shrimp, onions, wine and lemon juice; cook until shrimp turn pink and
 firm, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Do not overcook. Add chopped parsley; season to taste with salt
 and pepper.

 To make clarified butter place ½ cup unsalted butter in a microwavable bowl; cover with plastic
 wrap. Heat on low power about 5 minutes or until melted. Allow butter to stand 3-5 minutes. Skim
 off the white foam that forms on top. Carefully strain the clarified butter through cheesecloth into a
 container; discard the milk solids at the bottom of the bowl. Clarified butter will keep, tightly
 covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

                                         Cornbread Casserole
 1 stick margarine, melted
 2 eggs
 1/2 pint sour cream (1 cup or 8 oz.)
 1 cup whole kernel sweet corn
 1 cup creamed sweet corn
 1 pkg corn muffin mix
 1 cup shredded Swiss or cheddar (I prefer cheddar)

 Mix together all ingredients except the cheese and place in a buttered baking dish. Bake at 350
 degrees for 30 - 50 minutes until slightly brown on top; sprinkle cheese on top and bake an additional
 10 minutes to melt and brown cheese. Serve warm with butter and/or honey.




Page 6 of 7                                                                                    The Communicator
                                            Keep In Touch!



  Mailing Address:         Phone Number:                     E-mail Address:            Website

    Vaughn and Jessica      011-965-539-4056                       Vaughn’s:         www.vjwallace.com
        Wallace                                             vwallace@vjwallace.com
    PSC 1280 Box 29
                                                                    Jessica’s:
     APO AE 09880                                           jwallace@vjwallace.com




                         Written by: Jessica Wallace   Edited by: Vaughn Wallace


Page 7 of 7                                                                                  The Communicator