Thursday, April 01, 2010

Saturday, October 03, 2009


The children in Egypt have finally gone back to school today. The government has been concerned about swine flu becoming an epidemic, so they've kept all schools except mine closed until today. Since the government schools here often have at around sixty students in a classroom, and since Egypt is not the most hygienic country, I understand why the government took the measures that it did. But now schools are back in session, which means lots of traffic in the mornings, and boys in the streets making trouble and harassing the girls. I'm not very excited about the start of the Egyptian school year.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Facebook Friends

Tonight I met some friends in person for the first time. I am a huge fan of facebook. It's how I stay connected with the friends that I've made in the many places I've lived. Typically on my facebook account I only accept friends that are really truly friends of mine. In this case, however, I bent my rule slightly.

I noticed a comment on the status of one of my Egyptian friends, and I commented in agreement with the first comment. The girl who made that comment replied to mine, and thus a bit of a conversation started. So when she sent a friend request I accepted. She is Egyptian but lives in Kuwait and we have been facebooking back and forth for a while now. We discovered that we have several things in common: 1) our faith 2) we both live outside of our home countries 3) we are both international school teachers 4) we both love to read. I'm sure there is more, but those are the main things that we discovered on facebook.

She came home to Egypt to spend the summer visiting family and friends, and we arranged to meet in person. I wanted to bring my husband along, so I showed him her photo from her facebook page, and it turns out that they knew each other as children,that they were in the same Sunday school program.

So tonight we met her and her sister at Chilli's and had a blast! John was a little concerned that we might not have much to talk about, but the conversation flowed quite naturally. We met at five, and we didn't look at our watches again until it was nine. We talked about mutual friends. They entertained me with stories from their childhood, we discussed the difficulties of living outside of your home country, we talked about faith. It was really good. It was what I needed. We are going to try to get together with them one more time before I travel. By the time I return she will have returned to Kuwait, so this is my last chance to hang out with her.

I've been struggling with the fact that so many of my friends have moved away this year, and God knows that. But it's cool the way He brings different people into my life at different times. He never abandons me.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Days like that

I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday. Thanks to my mother's fine example and coaching my husband now knows how to deal with those. He dealt brilliantly yesterday.

I used to cry and he would try to fix it and when he couldn't he's get frustrated and angry and desparate to make me stop. When my mom came to Egypt for the wedding, I had multiple meltdowns. Getting married in another country, culture, and language, can be incredibly overwhelming. I cried a lot and at random moments. My mother, knowing me as she does, would simply pat my back, let me cry, and say reassuring things. She knows not to try to fix things. She knows that I just need to cry sometimes. Watching this was enlightening to John. He realized that he doesn't need to make things better, that he just needs to let me cry. He's been amazing at it ever since.

He was great yesterday. I spent a good part of the day weeping. Why? I'm sure there are a million reasons, the biggest being hormones. Hey, I'm a girl. I cry a lot. I was missing my family, and wishing the John could come with me to see them this summer. I think I was also prcessing the fact that once again things are happening the people I love in the States and I'm far away and helpless. I'm realizing that most of my friends are gone and many of them are not going to come back in the fall. And I kept going back to a comment my mother-in-law made last week about how much weight I've gained (here gaining weight is not bad, so she has no idea how psychologically damaging a comment like that can be to me). I kept thinking: I'm going back to America and everyone's going to notice how fat I am! Tragedy. Yes. Vanity. Yes. He just let me cry. He was good.

Today I'm feeling a bit more stable. What is my problem? I do not know. I just have days like that sometimes.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We are home owners!!!

We finally did it!!! John and I have been saving and searching for a flat that would meet our needs and fit our budget. We finally settled on one a couple of months ago, and agreed with the owner on a price. The thing is, in Egypt paper work is... paper WORK. Nothing is easy. It takes forever to get things processed, to get all the proper official documents, etc. It was getting to the point that I didn't really believe that we were really going to purchase this flat. But this week it worked out and John went to close on it today! Yay!

So now to move, right? Wrong. In the midst of all of this madness, John and I decided that if possible we will stay where we are. We are hoping to rent out the flat that we own, and stay in the flat that we're renting. There are several reasons for this. First, the idea of moving again is a nightmare to me. Furniture gets ruined in the process. We still haven't had everything repared from when we moved in here. Second, I know this street, this neighborhood, and people know me, which means that I don't have to worry walking down these streets because the people here look out for me. I don't want to have to start over again with all of that. Third, the flat we are in now is on the Metro line and within walking distance of work. It's very accessible, a huge advantage. Fourth, if that rent can cover ours, then we are breaking even anywway. There are other little reasons, but those are the major ones.

So now to fix the place up and find renters.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

That time of year again

Today John and I went to our friends' for an open house. They are moving back to their native Canada, and the purpose of today's event was to get rid of the many little bits and pieces that have made up their home here in Egypt. We walked away with a few little treasures, things like a crock pot, which you can't find here, a spring form pan, and English books.

What a strange feeling it is to shop in your friends' closets, and yet that's what happens every year around this time. That's what happens in our little ex-pat community. Every year at this time families that we have become close to, whose children I've taught, who we've gone to church with, begin preparing to leave. Sometimes their company or government moves them to another county or back to their home country. Sometimes their visas are not renewed and so they must leave. Sometimes they have just finished what they came here to do. For whatever reason, they must go.

I been part of this cycle for a while now. It's always difficult. This year though, several of our closest friends are going. These are the people who we hang out with after work, who we spend our days off with, who we go on holiday with, who we pray with when we're struggling and when we're not. They were our closest friends when we were fighting all of our government issues trying to get married. They are those people who have gotten to know me so well that they finish my sentences. They won't be here when we all reconvene to begin another school year, and I'm really struggling with that.

The thing is: this constant turnover of friends is something that will be part of my life forever. I live in Egypt. I wasn't born here. I don't even speak the language very well. But this is my life. For better or worse. And sometimes this life weighs heavier on the 'better' side of the scale, and sometimes this life weighs heavier on the 'worse' side. On days like today, when I find myself staying yet again, watching my friends go, saying my goodbyes, it feels a little bit heavy on the 'worse' side. I'm sure tomorrow will hold something that will weigh heavily on the 'better' side. But for now, sigh, I will prepare for goodbyes.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My morning in the desert

This morning my school paired with another tiny Christian school here in Cairo to do a 5k and 2k race in the desert not very far from my house. The event took place at Wadi Degla (wadi just means valley). Since it was my first time to this wadi, I took along my camera and snapped a couple of photos.

And the winner was:


I took this last shot as we were walking back out of the wadi and to the cars. Notice how empty it is. I was amazed a how just a few minutes from my home, the world can look so different. It was so quiet there. No sound of car horns, people screaming in the streets, venders with their donkey carts selling their wares, nothing. It was amazing.