I'm sorry... the beach just got to be too much fun for me to keep updating my blog. I can't yet figure out what I was doing exactly that was so much fun... what did I do?
I figured out that I need to spend some time alone in order to keep from stressing out. So the next day when everyone went down to the beach to swim, I stayed back to just relax in the condo. I got to practice some tajweed and read some of the books I brought with me. My relaxing was cut short however when one of my friends lost her glasses in the choppy waves (in her defense, the water was very choppy and she hadn't even gone in really far but got knocked over.) But since I hadn't planned to do water that day, I was free to drive her around town to get some replacements--quite an adventure. We also did some shopping and it wasn't so bad really.
The next day I decided to rent a bicycle, something I'd meant to do early on. We went to the aquarium, and as we observed all the different kinds of fish I couldn't help but hope they would all make du'a for me when I go out to seek knowledge about Islam. That afternoon I also spent some time alone, and that evening took the bike and went for a little ride. Came back feeling much better actually--and from there, things kept improving.
The next two days I did go down to the water and swam for a little while. I went to the pool a few times, once teaching one of my friends how to swim (or really just how to float.) I took some walks on the beach, alone and with company. One night did putt-putt golf and go-carts with one friend, and one day I went up to Fort Macon (which wasn't far from where we were staying) on my bike, by myself. And explored it. I had gone once before with my family but it was neat to do it by myself.
Fort Macon is a military fort on the North Carolina coast (obviously) that was built prior to the Civil War and was used in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War before being turned into a State Park, considered to be defunct. And then it was used again in World War II when U-boats were disrupting shipping off the NC Shores.
What was pretty interesting at the Fort though was the "Civil War" history. While upon occasion you would find the words "Civil War" on displays, it was much more common to see, as shown in this photo, the war called "The War Between the States." This particular room (the sign is on a door) contained information about the Fort's importance during that war. Pretty early on it was actually captured by Union forces (in case you didn't know that North Carolina was part of the Confederacy) and turned into a prison during the Reconstruction. I found this to be kind of amusing, the determination used in re-naming the war. I was always taught to call it the "Civil War" although I know some of my fellow Southerners used this term, as well as the "War for Southern Independence" and the "War of Northern Aggression" as we get progressively more biased.
And this I found in the bookstore--I actually thought about getting it for my mom, who considers her culture to be "Dixie" and the Confederacy (or "The South") the land of her birth. According to the cover, this book lays out the argument the the South (Confederate States) were legitimate in their secession from the United States, and that the North actually invaded. It's interesting though, that Southerners while they justify the actions of the South are not justifying slavery. I don't think so anyway. I think ultimately for them it's about States' rights. While in school we're mostly taught the other perspective that it was more an issue of slavery. Anyway. The North won... and I think that's probably better!
So I came back on Saturday and promptly went to a friend of mine's wedding--it was quite lovely--and then spent some time with my brother's lovely fiancee. And now Monday means back to work, and I go back to school next Wednesday--for those of you stalker types who like to know what I'm up to, there ya go!
Anyway... now that my life is boring again perhaps the blogging can resume, inshaaAllah!