"What are some misconceptions that we have about the Middle East?"
"Wow. I don't think you have enough recording time for that... Well, umm, not everyone there is as conservative and radical as the media often perceives. The countries over there, they're filled with very hospitable people. It's their nature. It's their culture. They're very welcoming. I mean, I've been in many villages throughout the countries there and you meet people, they will invite you to their home just to hear *your* story. To meet you and learn about you and even to try to work on their English, right? But, mainly just to feed you! That's a big thing in their culture. I find that the people are quite open-minded and accepting, except for what we do see in the media--that doesn't represent everyone, right? Obviously those people exist, but that's not the majority of them. They want to just live their lives and work their jobs and have their families at the end of the day. It *is* really hot there, though! (Laughs) It was a great experience for me, and I didn't leave because of the culture, I didn't leave because of the environment, I left because I wanted a new job, a new step in *my* career. So I went back to the U.S. I was really glad to have been there. And one of the reasons I went there was to not only see their culture but to get out into the rest of the world more readily. Middle East is in the middle. You can get to a lot of places really quickly, compared to here. In the U.S. everything is far. Except Canada... So, from there, six hours you're anywhere in Europe. Ten hours, you're in Asia. And then you can really see all types of things, so that was one of my motivations for going there. And having the financial means to explore."