We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

Out with a whimper

Here it is, the last day of NaBloPoMo, my month of daily blogging. And I’m home sick with symptoms I will not describe out of concern for you, my reader.

This entry is the last before a hiatus. Bug and I leave for Ethiopia in a few days, and WordPress isn’t accessible there (because the government blocks it and other blogging platforms–there are work-arounds, but I’m not motivated enough to find them). Even more, though, my trip is about Bug, not blog(ing), so I’ll be offline most of the next two weeks.

I need a break, anyway. I’ve been re-reading some of my posts from a year ago, when we first arrived in Egypt, when life was new and everything was interesting. I’d like to try to re-capture some of that energy when I’m back and posting again.

Thanks for sticking with me, dear readers! And see you next month.

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30 November 2008 Posted by | bug, ethiopia, this blog | 8 Comments

Good birthday, bad camera

Giggle is officially six years old! We had a party with six friends, plus Bug and one other sibling. It was a perfect size. More would have sent me fleeing into the house to hide.

We had perfect weather, too, for our garden party obstacle course, which required the kids to do the following tasks:

  • Kick a soccer ball to knock over plastic bowling pins
  • Walk on a low balance beam while balancing a frisbee on their heads
  • Ride a bike down a ramp
  • Go down a couple of slides
  • Jump through a swing
  • Hit a small fabric basketball with a tennis racket
  • Run very fast

We needed the help of a couple of parents to make it work–one dad’s job was to stop the kids on bikes from crashing–but it was good fun and a perfect activity for our oddly-shaped garden.

Giggle also really enjoyed opening his presents.
opening presents

And we all loved the Spiderman birthday cake. (No I did not make it nor dream of the design; it was a gift of the internet.)
spiderman cake

The pictures, as you will have noticed, are not fantastic–nor have they been all fall. I’m not a great photographer, but Mr. Four concurred today that our camera is in pretty bad shape. So the upside of this is that we may finally get a new camera.

Mr. Four and the boys are now watching The Incredibles, a gift to Giggle from my dad and stepmom. And thus our busy weekend comes to an end.

29 November 2008 Posted by | our life in egypt | 3 Comments

This anvil called NaBloPoMo

We’ve got a lot going on this weekend. I’m trying to get Bug and me organized for our trip to Ethiopia–we leave Tuesday night–which involves making a few reservations, one of which requires me to schlep downtown tomorrow morning to the Ethiopian Air office; and packing, including for a two-night trek. It’s good busy.

We’re also organizing Giggle’s sixth birthday party tomorrow, which will include six of his buddies from school. Our small backyard means most activities will happen outside–as soon as we can figure out what they are. I’m thinking something soccer-related or perhaps an obstacle course. The all-important cake will feature Spiderman.

His birthday means I have to dig out of storage all the toys and presents I bought in London, presents for Christmas and birthdays for Bug and Giggle, from Mr. Four and me and from my dad and stepmom. I have been stalling on organizing that stuff. Ugh. At least we get all the fun of giving it, though.

The good news: only a couple more days of mandatory daily blog posts. Woot!

28 November 2008 Posted by | bug, food, giggle, holidays, our life in egypt | 4 Comments

Whirling turkeys

Today is Thanksgiving, or, as we irreverently say in the States, Turkey Day.

We spent Thanksgiving eve not driving several hours on crowded interstates to visit cousins as is the American tradition, but instead watching some traditional Egyptian dancing. The real Sufi Dancers and Whirling Dervishes are actually in the midst of a religious celebration when they spin in circles.

Fake Sufi Dancers wear incredibly colorful skirts, almost like tapestries, and twirl for pay. And it is incredible. The dancer we saw spun himself, continuously, for over 15 minutes. Without falling or throwing up or anything. He even smiled much of the time.

So that was a great way to spend a non-traveling Thanksgiving Eve.

The boys have been learning all about Thanksgiving at school. Bug cheerfully informed us there were people on a boat and they wanted to eat. Also, turkeys were involved. And Indians.

Giggle’s more sophisticated understanding extends to Pilgrims and Indians.

I told the boys, “Call them Native Americans.” Bug said, “No, the Indian didn’t have a name.”

I finally convinced the boys to use the term “First Americans.” For at least five minutes

We’re enjoying a quiet morning at home–watching not the Macy’s Parade but Kung Fu Panda–and will spend the afternoon and evening enjoying dinner with friends, as is the expat way.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

27 November 2008 Posted by | bug, giggle, holidays, our life in egypt | 6 Comments

One week to Addis

Our ever-changing travel plans to Ethiopia have changed again!

Earlier this fall, we had decided to take this trip as a family of four, over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. But, Giggle changed his mind. He decided he wasn’t quite ready to go to Ethiopia. And that’s fine with Mr. Four and me: we want Giggle to go when he’s excited, not reluctant.

So, we’re back to the second version of the trip, only now it’s actually happening rather than just a hypothetical.

Meaning: Next week, Bug and I leave for about ten days in Ethiopia!

I have the time off for the Muslim Eid el Adha, the Feast of Abraham. Bug has off because he’s three years old. Our plans including visiting rock hewn churches in Lalibela, trekking through the countryside (a trip done by, I kid you not, my second favorite adoptive father, Brad Pitt), and visiting our housekeeper’s family in Addis.

I’ve been to Ethiopia three times now, for a total of only about two and a half weeks in-country, but this will be my first real trip as a tourist. And this will be Bug’s first trip back since our adoption.

I told him tonight we’d be leaving in a week for Ethiopia. He shouted “yeah!” and ran over and gave me a big hug and kiss. He’ll get to use his new Amharic skills for real.

I’m as thrilled as he is, excited for our trip and so excited to have so much time with my sweet Bug. And Giggle is happy as can be with the plan, and he’s looking forward to a week with Mr. Four.

What a sight we’ll be: the ferenge mom and her habesha son. I can’t wait.

26 November 2008 Posted by | bug, ethiopia, holidays, nanny, tourism | 6 Comments

Your opinion is very important to us

We at We Four in Egypt are always interested in you, the reader. Also, we are interested in experimenting with polls in the blog. So, please vote now on two important issues.

First, more of a pool than a poll. Your predictions, please:

Next, your input on this very blog:

25 November 2008 Posted by | pets, this blog | 3 Comments

Bug in photos

bug
Bug at home in one of his favorite t-shirts

bug at play
Playing with his Leapster at a Bedouin-style restaurant in Dahab

dahab beach
Throwing rocks on the beach in Dahab

snorkel
Snorkel practice in the pool

napping at south beach
Napping at South Beach near Dahab

24 November 2008 Posted by | bug | 7 Comments

Happy Birthday Mr. Four!

Photo by brunkfordbraun at flickr.

Photo by brunkfordbraun at flicrk.

23 November 2008 Posted by | our life in egypt | 2 Comments

My how you’ve grown (11/22)

In late October, I made note of the day when something very unexpected happen:

Giggle, completely unprompted, gave me a mini shoulder massage. He said, as he rubbed my shoulders, “You can play on your computer.” He ran off after about a minute, but that was a very nice moment, and one I suspect won’t be replayed for years, if ever.

Giggle has been having a good fall. August and early September were a bit crazy after a busy and occasionally rough summer, especially with our new apartment and his new school. But now that we’re settling in, I have a moment to reflect on how much he’s grown.

When he first came home from Ethiopia, Giggle liked to practice writing his numbers and letters in old-fashioned composition books. He lost this habit for a while, but now, with kindergarten as his inspiration, he spends time every day creating long lists of words he’s copied from his favorite books. He’s reading, sorta, in that early reading pre-literate way. He recognizes many words and really likes to figure out sounds of words. It’s great watching him learn to read. And it’s great seeing how proud he is when he figures something out. Both my boys are big fans of books, and this makes me oh so happy.

Giggle is also growing physically. His pants from last winter are now comically short and have been put away for Bug to wear when he gets bigger himself. Giggle has gained a lot of strength, too, especially from playing on the monkey bars all the time. His school really focuses on getting kids outside and playing, and it’s obvious from Giggle’s additional coordination. He loves to run and race.

Giggle is also a really fun kid. This has always been true, but it’s so much more so now that the rest of his life is more settled. He’s funny, and he likes to joke around and make faces and get us to laugh. He’s an absolute joy, and I am so lucky to be his mom.

22 November 2008 Posted by | bug, ethiopia, family, giggle, our life in egypt | 3 Comments

Blog Type

So you know the Myers-Briggs personality tests? Now you can run your blog through the Typealyzer, a program that (allegedly) analyzes it according to the same criteria. (Thanks to Trey at Daddy, Papa, and Me for the scoop.)

In real life, when I’ve taken this test (in high school, so that’d be a shocking 20 years ago, and once again at work about ten years ago), I’ve come out as INFP bordering on ENFP.

But this blog? ESFP — Performers! Here’s what the Performers says about me via my blog:

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead – they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

The enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation – qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

So some of this is pretty darn wrong. Entertaining and friendly type? I’d like to be friendly, but in real life I can be a bit reserved (which can come off as aloof) when I first meet people (unless it’s in a professional situation and I’m presenting, in which case I can perform right from the start – go figure). This is in marked contrast to Mr. Four, aka Mr. Super Friendly Man.

Attuned to pleasure and beauty? Eh, maybe, but I’m not seeing it as I look at my very ugly couches. Of course, maybe the reason I find them so ugly is because I’m so attuned to pleasure and beauty. I do like to have NPR droning in the background via iTunes while I work, and I do appreciate dark chocolate. Ah, the pleasure.

Living in the present moment is probably me too, though it’s at conflict with my inner organizer. Mr. Four can attest to the fact that pretty much when I make a decision, I am ready to implement it NOW. And I do exhaust myself staying up too late online, organizing furniture, writing this blog, etc. Silly but apparently Who I Am.

Moving on: indeed I like to help people in real and concrete ways, which sorta manifests itself in the work that I do but is probably better reflected in other parts of my life.

And regarding conflict avoidance: heh, yeah, that too, but stuffed deep inside is the arguing-streak, at least in regards to non-personal issues. There’s a conflict, eh?

But of course the persona of “Ms Four,” ie who I am on this blog, is not The Real Me. Pretty close, of course, but I tend not to blog about the really deep and heartfelt stuff. It’s just too personal for public consumption.

But, really, is there anyone who blogs who isn’t A Performer in some ways? Ponder that, folks.

21 November 2008 Posted by | this blog | 2 Comments