We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

Good kids and green grass

My long-time readers may recall vague references to my flight from Cairo to JFK last summer, a flight so terrible I actually decided not to blog about so as not to think about it anymore.

Early on Friday morning (in the US; it was Friday afternoon in Cairo), after about 14 hours of traveling, I told the friendly, helpful flight attendant that I appreciated her friendliness and helpfulness (after last year, I always make a point of thanking good flight attendants). “It was my pleasure,” she said. “Your kids have been great. It’s always a pleasure to work with kids with good manners.”

That was nice, though I didn’t think much of it until we were leaving the plane (we were about the last out), when another filght attendant started gushing about Giggle. “He’s going to be famous someday,” he said. “He’s so smart and he is so well-mannered. American kids just don’t seem to have good manners, but he does.”

I looked around for Ashton Kutcher and the hidden cameras. Then I passed out from shock.

My kids were good on the plane, mostly because we left in the middle of the night and they slept much of the way, and because Mr. Four was with us this year, and because I prepared better plane activities for them.

Still, it’s nice to hear. I adore my kids, but they can be a little crazy at times. And after last year’s flight, which included perhaps the lowest moment of my life, when I cried while arguing with the flight attendant, while Bug cried and wept for me to read him a book, well, let me just say this: what a difference a year makes.

Mr. Puppy did surprisingly well too. He didn’t exactly enjoy the flight, but aside from a huge puddle of pee he left in JFK (which we cleaned up–and, really, where else was he supposed to go after flying for 13 hours?), he behaved perfectly. And he’s been his charming sweet since then as well.

We’re having a great visit with Mr. Four’s family. They are great with the kids, pretty low key but also interested in what they’re saying, and the kids have warmed up to them quickly. Because of a graduation party, we visited today with a bunch of Mr. Four’s old friends, and tomorrow we have a big family picnic at my brother-in-law’s house.

We also managed to squeeze in a visit to Old Navy and Target, to catch up on our big-box shopping.

Plus it’s been raining quite a bit lately, and we are surrounded by green: green grass, green hills, green trees. It’s gorgeous.

You might be able to tell from this post that my eyes are drooping. More later, when I can remember how to spell.


14 June 2009 Posted by | family, holidays, home, pets | 5 Comments

Leaving on a jet plane

Since last September, Bug has had a little play chant: “I’m going to the mountains, I’m going to the mountains.”

Tonight, we finally are. (Sorta.)

We leave in a few hours for the airport, and we’ll fly into Mr. Four’s hometown, where we’ll visit with his family. It will be Giggle’s first time meeting Grandpop, Uncle D, Aunt C, and some cousins. Bug has met them all but doesn’t remember everyone. They are excited for that, and also for the new sandals that are waiting at Grandpop’s house.

After a few days with Mr. Four’s family, we’ll head towards our most recent home state, which we’ll crisscross to visit my dad, College Town, and our house in the mountains.

Once again my internet access will be inconsistent, but I will have more time. Your guess is as good as mine as to how much I’ll be blogging.

In any case, tonight, think of us as we soar over the Mediterranean, Europe (hello R!), and the Atlantic Ocean.

11 June 2009 Posted by | bug, family, giggle, holidays, home, pets | 5 Comments

America’s gift to Egypt

So H1N1 has come to Egypt, not from pigs, but from plain ol’ Americans. It seems a few students at the American University in Cairo now have the dreaded swine flu (they have all recovered or are asymptomatic) and now their dorm, which houses over 200 students and faculty, is quarantined for a week. A week!

Can you imagine the parent who’s just sent off their kid to Cairo hearing that they’re in a building surrounded by armed police in masks? Fun times indeed. At least they’re allowing in pizza delivery.

Police quarantine the AUC dorm in Zamalek, Cairo

Police quarantine the AUC dorm in Zamalek, Cairo

You can follow all the (lack of) excitement as written by Jack and Kaddee, an AUC faculty couple who was supposed to be in Dahab this week before moving back to the US.

The best part is that, according to Jack, the Egyptian government doctors have been going into and out of the building and wearing no gloves, no masks, nothing. So much for a quarantine, eh?

We are scheduled to leave on a US carrier, direct to the US, early Friday morning. I just hope we can get out of here before mass hysteria ensues.

9 June 2009 Posted by | in the news, sicknesses | 2 Comments


Photo by Flickr user jmtimages

Photo by Flickr user jmtimages

President Obama will be speaking in Cairo on Thursday, and the whole city is aflutter. In the past few weeks, the city has seen major painting and cleaning projects, especially in the area around Cairo University, where Obama is scheduled to speak around 12:30 local time. T-shirt hawkers downtown are offering an array of options, including one which says “Obama is the new King Tutankhamun.” Much of the city will be shut down–roads will be closed, and some businesses won’t open. And plenty of people won’t go to work regardless of whether anything is officially closed.

When I first learned Obama was coming to Egypt, I was thrilled as I hoped this would be my chance to see him speak in person. But it’s not to be. Obama isn’t coming to Cairo to chat with expats but instead to address the so-called Muslim world (which is far more diverse than that phrase suggests).

Some Egyptians are frustrated at the inconveniences around town, but an awful lot are quite proud Obama chose Egypt.

I’ll be working tomorrow–that is, if I don’t get stuck in any major traffic snarls on the way to work–and Mr. Four will be working as well. But, I am quite eager to hear what my president has to say, and am delighted my employer is setting up some TVs at work so we can watch the speech live.

3 June 2009 Posted by | in the news | 2 Comments