We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

Bug is jetlagged. And other shocking news.

It’s about 3:30 am here in Cairo, and I’m in our living room with a very alert Bug who is playing with the hand-me-down kids’ toy PC acquired just before our move (thanks Mom!). This thing talks and makes noise and is much more interesting than bed. He’s also munching on an apple because, by golly, it’s time to eat.

See, here in Cairo we’re seven hours ahead of our former time zone. So when Bug konks out at 8pm or so, his body thinks he’s taking a nap right after lunch (8pm – 7 hours = 1pm). And then he wakes up, apparently refreshed, a few hours later. Last night it was midnight. Tonight it was 2am or so.

Unfortunately, Mr. Four also is suffering from jet lag. He wasn’t even asleep yet when Bug woke up. So now I’m up with Bug and Mr. Four is trying to sleep with Giggle, who adjusted back to this time zone with nary a missed wink. Giggle stays up a bit later and sleeps way later, but he’s on the best schedule of all of us. Except for maybe Iggy, who is handling all this way better than we expected of an old, sick cat.

Some good news is that thanks to the generosity of an anonymous neighbor, I do have internet access now. And at least the connection seems a bit faster in the wee hours. (And yes, we are getting our own, proper connection. It takes about two to three weeks to set that up here.)

Tomorrow (well, later today), Giggle and I are going to visit a nursery/school around the corner. It has a great reputation and, I hope, he can start soon. He is so excited about school! We wanted to enroll him in kindergarten because we’re pretty sure he’s at least five years old. Unfortunately, the school, who says they have lots of experience with families made through adoption, wouldn’t budge on the age issue. They seemed not to understand that a child could be a different age than what his passport says.

Ah, well, so Giggle will go there next year, and in the meantime, he can work on his writing and letters and shapes and numbers at home and at preschool.

In other news: we’ve gotten a great recommendation from another expat for an Ethiopian woman who has worked as her nanny and housekeeper for the past year. This seems a great opportunity for Giggle to keep his Amharic, and, if it works out, perhaps she can cook some injera and other Ethiopian food for us on ocassion.

From the US, the idea of a housekeeper seemed blissful. Now it seems a tad exploitative. Except that apparently we expats pay good wages, relatively speaking. And we could really use some help, which we can afford here when we couldn’t in the States. Readers, care to comment on this?


15 August 2007 - Posted by | adoption, bug, giggle, our life in egypt


  1. Not exploitative. I was in the Peace Corps and I had a housekeeper. Giving a person a job is always better than straight handouts, in my opinion.

    Besides, your sons will benefit (Ethiopian culture and more of your undistracted unattention).

    Comment by Diane | 16 August 2007

  2. Not exploitative at all. People here need jobs. You need help. It’s a perfect match. It took me a while to get used to having people work for me too when I moved many years ago from Canada. But when you get someone good who becomes part of your household it changes things. There is the language issue that is a very good idea and also you find that you might be helping the employees family in other little ways like used clothing and toys/books and so on. Good luck with the kids and transition. It isn’t all that easy, as I well know.

    Comment by Maryanne Stroud Gabbani | 17 August 2007

  3. Some friends who lived in Nigeria years ago had a wonderful nanny for their kids (one of whom was born there and was very unhappy when they moved back to the States and she had to leave Nanny behind.) It was, as the earlier comments suggest, a very ordinary situation there that seemingly benefited all of them.

    And it seems particularly good in your case, as a way to keep the boys’ connection with Ethiopia.

    Comment by Monica | 17 August 2007

  4. Joan,
    Exploitation I say. I scream it from the rooftops. Don’t pay that woman to provide a service, it’s wrong, it’s decadent, it’s schadenfreude! If you start down this slippery slope, think of what it could lead to: going to a restaurant and paying the waiter, paying the taxi driver for a lift into town, the unconscionable purchasing of movie tickets or airline fares. In short, you may end up paying for services that people provide for you and well—its just not right.

    Seriously and without sarcasm now-I think that we just aren’t used to it here in the states. But paying for someone for a service they provide in your home is no different than paying for those other things I mentioned above. I think the issue for me would be that its much more personal and up close. And I’d wonder about the perception of American dominance over the local population through greater wealth. But I’d just have to get over it and realize that I’m not in America anymore, and that everyone needs a job if they aren’t independently wealthy. You are helping her and she is helping you. It’s mutually beneficial.

    Glad to hear you all are there and doing well. Hey, if we want to send you personal emails we shouldn’t use the blog should we?


    Comment by Charlie Morris | 18 August 2007

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