We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

A puppy, the beach, and home

My dad emailed the other day and speculated that because I hadn’t blogged in a while, I must be busy. This is only partly true. I’m not especially busier than usual, but I do Twitter a lot, which apparently satisfies many of my communication needs.

I also get impatient uploading photos to both Facebook and Flickr (where I host photos for this blog), with my slow internet, so sometimes I stop after Facebook. And I always feel I owe you all some photos, from Ethiopia and now from our recent beach trip, which means sometimes I don’t blog rather than blog without photos (silly I know).

I also lost some steam last fall, when some important people in life got pretty angry with me over some stuff they had read on my blog (don’t bother looking for it; it won’t be obvious). Even though I plunged into NaBloPoMo, I felt a bit gun shy. I started a blog to keep folks up-to-date on our life in Egypt, but it also means that people don’t necessarily have to be in touch with me directly to know what’s going on. And this was bad last fall.

And, frankly, now that we’re pretty settled, both in Egypt and with our kids, there’s a lot less to say. Most of the time.

Explanations aside, here’s what’s going on.

Our puppy is growing and doing really well. We went back to visit his mother a few weeks ago, and I was surprised that he’s almost as big as she is. He now weighs in at a robust eight pounds (or so). Earlier this week, we met his father, and Mister Puppy looks just like his Jack Russell terrier dad except Mister Puppy’s coloring is a bit lighter. He’s sweet, healthy, fun, and pretty easy. Bug and Giggle adore him. Sometimes too much. For example, right now, Giggle is hugging Mister Puppy and “helping” him dance.

“Why does the puppy like you best, Mommy?” they ask. I wonder.

It’s beach weather in Egypt, and the boys and I spent Easter Sunday at Ain Soukhna with some good friends (Mr. Four had to work). Bug got stung by a jellyfish. He screamed for probably 20 minutes or more. He appears to have gained a lifelong hatred of jellyfish.

Over the long weekend of Coptic Easter (a week after the western Easter), we went with some other friends to a beach near Ras Sudr, Egypt. We brought Mister Puppy. Turns out that Mister Puppy loves playing in the sand as much as Bug and Giggle do.
puppy at the beach
sandy boy

In other news: we have now booked our plane tickets for our home leave to the US this summer. We’ll be visiting Mr. Four’s family in his hometown, plus dashing all over our home state, to College Town, the beach, and the mountains. Mister Puppy will be joining us.

Booking those tickets meant accepting we’ll be back in Egypt a third year. Which is good, mostly, but a bit disappointing given that this spring it looked like we might have the opportunity to move this summer either to southern Africa or the Caribbean–neither panned out. Which is all for the best, but, you know.

Coming up: Pigs! Swine flu! Windsurfing!


1 May 2009 Posted by | bug, family, fun, giggle, holidays, home, pets, this blog | 7 Comments

The intertubes are jammed

Last February, quite mysteriously, three different internet cables under the Mediterranean Sea, from Egypt to Europe, were damaged within a few days of each other. Apparently a huge percentage of Egypt’s internet services went through those cables (I’m remembering something like 90%). We had crawling internet for days and slow internet for three or four weeks. Ripples were felt throughout Africa and into other parts of the Middle East and Asia.

It seems the same thing has happened again: three internet cables have been damaged or cut. In the same place, apparently. I’d tell you more about it, but I can’t read the news!

But it’s mighty suspicious, don’t you think?

Anyway, it took quite a few hours on Friday before we figured out the problem wasn’t just our internet connection. I was able to get online early Saturday morning around 1-2am (Bug woke me up for some water and I couldn’t get back to sleep), and now I’m back online again, on Sunday at 3am (Bug woke me up because he was hungry, and I couldn’t get back to sleep).

This means I will probably not be batch-posting any photos Ethiopia. But I also know most folks are traveling or hanging out with family and not necessarily sitting around waiting for a trip report.

In the meantime, I have one more day of work (which may well be a waste without any internet) and then most of two weeks home with the boys.

They are very excited about Santa. Our little Charlie Brown tree is looking particularly fancy this year with all sorts of school-made decorations.

In any case, have a great holiday! And check back once in a while for some photos.

21 December 2008 Posted by | bug, ethiopia, holidays, this blog | 2 Comments

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.

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

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

A technical note

Folks reading this blog through a reader have probably gotten a few extra posts the past couple of days. Sorry about that. I’ve been drafting posts ahead of time and have accidentally published a few posts before I was ready.

12 November 2008 Posted by | this blog | 1 Comment

NaNoWriMo to NaBloPoMo (11/1)

Last year, on a whim, I attempted, and completed, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo again because I want to stay married, I like my kids knowing who I am, and I got it out of my system last year.

But today I was reminded of another Na…Mo event: National Blog Posting Month. The rules: post one entry a day for the month.

So, I’m game. And, readers, you will be the first to know if I blow it. See you… tomorrow! And the day after that. And the day after that. And the day after that…

1 November 2008 Posted by | this blog | 2 Comments

Yet another new look

I wasn’t crazy about that orange, so here’s another design update. I’m still working out a few kinks, so please be patient. If you care enough to comment, please do!

Edited: Also, I just updated my links, off to the right, and added some more blogs that I read regularly. Happy reading!

14 September 2008 Posted by | this blog | 4 Comments

One year in

Recently, the spouse of a new colleague said to me, “Ms. Four, I hope I know as much as you do when I’ve been here a year.”

I assured her that I had told her everything I knew, and it didn’t go much deeper. But, with the arrival of some new, green colleagues, I have realized how settled into our life we are here. Even with the move, we know where to get groceries, bring the boys to play, find good food, and who to call to enjoy all this with.

Last year around this time I asked for your questions. You all had some great questions, and I answered them in a few different posts.

So, now one year in, what questions do you have for me?

14 September 2008 Posted by | our life in egypt, this blog | 11 Comments

Great books about Africa, Part 1 of 8 million

First, a technical note: I keep promising, and then not delivering, blog posts with pictures. The truth is that my internet connection is s o o o o s l o w and inconsistent that it’s almost physically painful to deal with uploading and then blogging photos. I have a million pictures just waiting to be blogged. Maybe I’ll get to them eventually.

Meanwhile, my friend K in CO asked me a glorious question: what are my favorite books set in Africa? Given my commitment to the Africa Reading Challenge, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I have two categories in mind: books by Africans and books set in Africa. Of course there’s tremendous overlap, but I will also eventually highlight a few books written by non-Africans but set on the continent.

I should also note that despite my residence in Egypt, my reading has focused on sub-Saharan Africa and especially East Africa, an interest that began before my kids’ adoptions (and really was probably one of the reasons I became interested originally in Ethiopia).

So, here are a few great books set in Africa I read before I began the Africa Reading Challenge (and really these books are on my unofficial life list of best-stuff-I’ve-read):

What Is the What by Dave Eggers. A fictionalized autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng, a former “Lost Boy” of Sudan, now a college student in the US. This book will knock your socks off (right, K?). (And my copy is autographed by Deng! But that was actually after I read it.)

We Wish You to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch. Did I say the Eggers book would knock your socks off? Well, this one will knock your shirt off. This non-fiction book inspired the Don Cheadle film Hotel Rwanda (also highly recommended), both of which focus on the Rwandan genocide perpetrated against the minority but historically dominant Tutsi tribe by the Hutus. (And, no, I didn’t know the difference between Tutsis and Hutus before I read the book.) Based on the description, it might be hard to understand on how this book can be so good. But it is.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie. Set in Nigeria during the Biafran-Nigerian War (the Nigerian Civil War) of the late 1960s, this novel focuses on the lives of three people, an upper class Igbo/Biafran woman professor; a white British expat who longs to be a true Biafran; and a young Igbo/Biafran man who works as a household servant. The writing is gorgeous and the story engrossing.

And now, a familiar promise: there is more to come.

12 May 2008 Posted by | africa, books, this blog | 5 Comments