Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

The kids are all tucked into bed, the gifts are lined up nicely under the tree, and the Christmas cookies have all been eaten on this warm Christmas Eve in Cairo. Tomorrow the kids will open presents, we'll have a nice Christmas lunch, and then we'll start packing for Vienna. I really never knew how much I loved the hustle and bustle of Christmas until I moved to a nearly Christmas-less place. Next time we are in America I'm doing it up BIG for Christmas. Really, you don't know what you have until it's gone. :-)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I look forward to what 2011 has in store for us.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The school week is winding down and next week the winter holidays begin. Before the holiday, both girls are having Christmas parties in their classes and a visit from Santa Claus at their school! We have finally put up some Christmas decorations- our nativity scene, a lone nutcracker, a small but very festive Christmas tree, and some lights our housekeeper brought us. The weather has turned cold here and many of our friends in town have left or are preparing to leave for Christmas vacation. FINALLY it is beginning to feel like Christmas here in Cairo!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Minor Annoyances

Sinus headaces, runny noses, and lingering cough.
Smog, soot, and dirt filled air.
Mysterious itchy bug bites on my kids.
Howling cats in the middle of the night.
People who cut in line for no apparent reason.
Little to no Christmas decorations to get us into the holiday spirit.

That has been our week in a nutshell. Blah. Counting the days until we leave for holiday in Vienna!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Dog Days Are Over...

I watched the new episode of Glee last night and at the end they played one of my most favorite songs, Dog Days Are Over by Florence and The Machines. It's a pretty familiar song to those who have seen the previews/commercial to the Eat, Pray, Love movie. Anyway, Glee did a great version (I love Glee!) and now I can't get the song out of my head. I love the lyrics and the meaning- seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. My 'dog days' are not quite over yet but I have hope!

Dog Days Are Over

Happiness hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her stuck still no turning back
She hid around corners and she hid under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble she sank with her drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your loving, your loving behind
You cant carry it with you if you want to survive

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
'Cause here they come

And I never wanted anything from you
Except everything you had and what was left after that too, oh
Happiness hit her like a bullet in the back
Struck from a great height by someone who should know better than

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
'Cause here they come

Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your loving, your loving behind
You cant carry it with you if you want to survive

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can you hear the horses?
'Cause here they come

The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Recap

Since I haven't been blogging in a while I thought I'd give a quick recap of what we've been up to.

My Mom is visting us, she has been here two weeks and leaves in two weeks. So far she has adjusted fine. She does like some things about Cairo but she also has many dislikes. I think she'll be happy to be back in Texas again!

We visited the Khan al Khalili twice and saw the Al-tannoura dance troup with a coworker of Ariel's and some of their friends from Mexico.

We celebrated a mini-Thanksgiving here at home with my Mom. We were missing a few favorite dishes but overall very happy about the way it turned out.

The girls had long vacations but are now back in school. They have about three more weeks before Christmas break begins.

The five of us will be heading to Vienna right after Christmas for 5 days. I am very excited and looking forward to having a little break from Cairo. :-)

Pictures from the Playground

Warm days. Little hands. Infectious giggles. Pure innocence. Happy kids. The sweet smell of honey shampoo on my kids hair. These are the days I want to remember forever.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I have been a bad blogger lately. I've meaning to post at least 5 times in the past week but always something comes up. Right now the kids are on Eid holidays and next week they are off for Thanksgiving. Also, my Mom just arrived in Cairo two days ago for her month long stay. Add to that some colds and we have had a busy past few days.

We are trying to decide where we will go while my Mom is here (she offered to stay with the kids while we go on a mini holiday). We have narrowed our choices down to Barcelona or Vienna.

Next post: some cute pics!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Quickie...

I have a few things to blog about and some pictures to upload but it has been a crazy week and I'm usually too exhausted to write anything by the end of the day. A new blog post is coming soon though, I promise!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Terrible Two's

I think both my girls went through a rough stage at about 2 years old. They were so stubborn and willful and emotional at that age. I was glad when they grew out of it. Now, they are at a good age where they mostly listen and behave and reason. Jacob on the other hand is driving me CRAZY.

Here is a boy who barely started sleeping through the night maybe two or three months ago (he still wakes up from time to time), has horrible tantrums, and fights with his sisters as much as possible.

He is also a boy who is very cute, cuddly, and hilarious. He cracks me up with his extensive vocabulary (my faves are when he says bah-mazin' for amazing, paperade for parade, and marmanade for lemonade) and funny expressions.

You're cute kid, but man are you tough!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And The Things I Don't Like About Cairo...

-The air quality. The smog is stifling and there is so much pollution, dirt, and sand in the air. On top of that is the frequent burning tire smell we often wake up to. No fun.

-The garbage and lack of sidewalks. It's no fun walking with two small children and pushing a third in a stroller when there are no sidewalks and garbage littering the streets.

-The driving. One word: CRAZY. That is all.

-The food. While I do like some Egyptian staples (see post below), I feel like as a whole Egyptian cuisine isn't as diverse as I'd like it to be.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Little Things I Love About Cairo

-fresh squeezed lemonade, the produce here is wonderful! So cheap and good and the little lemons are to die for! And they taste so much like my beloved Valley lemons!

-cheap & yummy food like hummus, falafel, baba ghanoush, koshari

-the fact that housekeepers are affordable!

-the people- The majority of Egyptians I have met have been very friendly and kind even when my arabic sucks!! HA!

-new friends- many of the expats have been so nice and helpful and very, very friendly.

-A Tex-Mex restaurant in walking distance. I had to give a shout out to La Sombra because I love being able to eat some decent mexican food once in a while. The owner's menu may be limited but we've liked the food every time we've had it and he's from San Benito, a hop and a skip away from McAllen! Us Valley Mexicans are everywhere! :-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some Pictures...

I wanted to post a few pics of our new home and a few of Maadi. As you may know or not know, we live in Maadi, a kind of suburb of Cairo (I say kind of because I don't know if its actually considered a suburb or neighborhood or area- you get the gist!) that is popular with the expats and home to the American school and other international schools and embassies and westernized markets, etc etc.

A glimpse at our apartment in Cairo

The walk to the CAC, on the right corner is our neighborhood market

One of the many roundabout intersections here, Maadi is also known for being realtively green especially compared to the rest of Cairo

The sidewalk right outside of the CAC, which is surrounded by the brick wall you see in the picture

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We had a fun time celebrating Halloween Cairo-style. The school festival was a hit, with good food, games, and trick or treating to be had. Overall, it was a great day!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Costumes Found!

I just had to share my excitement and relief for actually going to a store in Cairo and finding what I needed in only a few minutes! WHEW. The girls would have never ever let me live it down if they didn't have costumes for Halloween...there is always the opiton of a white sheet with holes cut out for eyes though. ;-)

Jackie will be Snow White, Julia will be Batgirl, and Jacob is Mr. Skeleton. They aren't the best quality costumes and the price tag was HEFTY, but hey I don't even care at this point!

Speaking of Mr. Skeleton, he is standing in front of the TV with his plastic dagger that the housekeeper bought him. :-0 Only in Egypt! Like Ariel says, they are about 30 years behind here with the no seatbelts, dangerous toys, and 80's cartoons...LOL.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Looks, Costumes, and Tears

Yesterday, Jacob and I went on a Halloween costume hunt for the girls. Jacob has his coustume (skeleton pj's..haha) but stupid me decided it would be a good idea to ship the girls costumes. Surely we'll have our household goods shipment by the end of October, I thought. Wrong! So, now I am on a hunt for two costumes in a city that does not celebrate Halloween. FUN! Many of the other expats bring their costumes from home or have them made, but I have heard there a few places that sell costumes for a hefty price. At this point I don't care the price as long as I find costumes. The girls will FREAK if they don't have anything to wear. We didn't have any luck though, so today we'll venture out again.

While I was out we stopped at the Carrefour Express, which is just like a tiny version of the big Carrefour. I wasn't in a heavily expat area like I live in, so I was a bit surprised by all the looks Jacob and I got by the men and the veiled women. We usually don't get too many stares around the apartment or schools, but here I felt a big difference. I also felt a bit uncomfortable with all my arms showing, but it could have been worse I least I wasn't wearing a low-cut blouse! As you know, Cairo is heavily Muslim, so most people are veiled here and dress very conservatively. If they aren't wearing a niqab, they make sure to cover all skin, especially the neck, arms, and legs. In Maadi, there are many expats who wear short sleeves shirts, capris, and even shorts without too many strange looks from the locals, but there are parts of Cairo where dressing like that would be unwise. You will definitely get ugly looks, possible harrassment, etc. It's best to just dress very modestly.

The girls are doing ok. Julia is loving school and so is Jackie, but lately she has been crying when we drop her off in the mornings. She doesn't cry during the day and she always has great things to say about her day and her teacher, but in the mornings it is hard! She grabs on to us and tears up and follows us as we're leaving (the kinder kids hang out at the playground until 8:10 am when their whistle blows) so I end up staying until the whistle because I can't stand leaving her like that, which makes Julia late for preK. Sigh. Motherhood is HARD. Seriously hard.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our Weekend

We had a fun, eventful couple of days. First, on Friday night the family and I ordered a few pizzas and sodas and set out on a felucca ride with a Ariel's co-worker and his family. The felucca is a sail boat which cruises the Nile for about 60 LE an hour (about $12 US). The felucca is best taken at sunset and you can bring food and drinks for a nice, relaxing dinner. It was very nice, the breeze was fantastic, and the kids loved it. It was great to get away from the hustle and bustle of Cairo and sail peacefully on the Nile. We will definitely do it again!

Today we attended a birthday party of one of Julia's classmates at the Maadi House. They had a huge bouncy house, a popcorn and cotton candy machine, face painting, pizza and punch. I saw a lot of familiar faces from the girl's schools and the kids had a great time playing with their new friends.

This week promises to be a busy one...I will update soon!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday Already?

Wow, this week really did fly by. I can't believe we are already coming up on the weekend. It's funny how when the girls are in school and Jacob and I are at home, somedays go by so slowly, while other days time seems to be in fast forward.

So here we are, another week has gone by for us in Cairo. We are still adjusting, but definetely over any culture shock. Homesickness has set in a little bit (mostly for me and Jackie- but we are much more nostalgic than the rest of the family) and we are finally getting into a routine. Our apartment feels much more like a home, and any fears of Cairo (language barriers, finding our way, etc) have subsided. Jackie was emotional today, she shed a few tears at the playground before school started, but her classmates cheered her up and she was doing better by the time the bell rang. I think she is ready for the weekend.

Julia has a birthday party on Saturday and the CAC's Halloween carnival is next weekend as well as a planned trip on a felucca with some of Ariel's co-workers. I am slowly getting to know people and the girls have very successfully made many new friends.

Even after a bit of a rough week emotionally for me, we are happy to be here and trying to enjoy this new adventure. We have planned to see Barcelona in November and Venice in December, so I am getting really excited about that. Also, my Mom is visiting us in November, the kids are thrilled! I wonder how she'll do in Cairo!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Tidbits

Julia is feeling much better today. She was in a great mood on the walk to school and was even happier when we got to her class and put away her backpack and lunchbox.

Jacob sometimes cries when we leave Julia, not because he wants to stay, but because he wants Julia to come back home with us. Today, though, he left school without incident. Apparently, he saved all his tears for Miriam Market.

On our way home we stopped by Miriam Market for some juice and soda and granola bars. Jacob threw a huge fit inside the store and refused to walk and only wanted to be carried. So, I carried Jacob in the store while trying to balance all the other things in one arm. I bought him a lollipop and when I payed for it and gave it to him he had a big meltdown. "BUT I WANTED TO PAY IT! I WANTED TO PAY IT!!!!!" Then he began sobbing and sobbing. Hmmm, okay. Somedays Jacob is a real pest. He may be cute, but he is a pest.

Jackie was excited this morning because today is pottery class day at her school. She's been talking about it all week. She says she's making a flower vase. We'll just have to see what she comes home with.

Ariel and I are doing okay. Ariel has been busy with work and I've managed to meet a few of the other Moms at the girl's schools. They have all been extremely nice and friendly. I will admit that I've been feeling a bit homesick the last few days. I'm hoping that will turn around and we will have a good week here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Home Sick

Julia has been battling a bit of a cold this weekend, she is running a slight fever and has a stuffy nose. I kept her home from school today, while Ariel got Jackie ready and off to school with our driver. Jackie was in a good mood and excited for P.E. day. I'm glad she likes school so much at the CAC. It really is a great school, so far we really love it and her teacher is fantastic.

We had a low-key weekend. Yesterday, we ran a few errands and did some food shopping for the week. Overall, it was a good weekend excpet for Julia's sniffles. We all managed to get some rest and relaxation in.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lazy Friday

Today is the first day of our weekend. We woke up to smoggy skies and a smell in the air that I can only describe as tires burning. Rise and shine!

It's supposed to be 100 degrees here today so I don't think we'll be going out today. We had a busy week of school and it was a success, thank God.

Today, though, I have a headache and a blistery foot and I don't feel like dealing with the heat and grime. We gave the driver the day off. We had originally thought we'd walk to the CAC today (Jackie's school) to play, but we scrapped that idea. Instead, I'm going to send Ariel to the market for more things (another post on that later) and to the pharmacy for tylenol and nail polish remover- I doubt I'll be lucky enough to find it today though.

Tomorrow the housekeeper comes and Jackie has a Doctors appointment at noon. Then we plan to head back to Alfa Market and the Home Center for some linens and towels. We're still settling in!

Yes, I know I sound grumpy but I'm just feeling a little homesick for HEB and Mexican food and Target. I'll feel better soon. :-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lost In Translation

Yesterday we called our local market to have 2 five gallon water jugs for our cooler, a loaf of white bread, and ziploc bags delivered. Like I've said before, home delivery here is awesome. It would be even more awesome if our arabic wasn't non-existant.

Ariel: I need 2 waters for the machine (yes, we speak like cavemen here, but it works to get our point need for useless filler words), one bread white, and plastic ziploc bags.

Market guy: Bags? For rubbish?

Ariel: No, plastic bags for sandwiches.

Market guy: Cheese?

Ariel: No, bags to put sandwiches in.

Market guy: Cheese in bags?

Ariel: No, plastic to put things in. They close.

Market guy: Oh. Ok.

1 hour later we received 2 five gallon jugs of water and a loaf of bread. No ziploc bags.

We need to learn arabic.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Day In The Life

Yesterday Mohamed, our driver, picked Jacob and I up at 10 am and took us to the Alfa Market. The Alfa Market is located on the corniche, which runs along the Nile. It's sort of like a Wal Mart in a third world kind of way, but it has a decent amount of things so I guess it's pretty nice, although I'd be lying if I didn't say that the smells from the meat area don't gross me out (think carniceria).

Anyway, we needed a few things which ended up taking forever because I didn't know where anything was. Also, I haven't been able to find nail polish remover anywhere. I have no idea where I can find that, maybe the pharmacy? Hmmm.

When I was checking out I managed to slice my finger on the plastic mop bucket I just bought and soon I had thick red blood gushing down my hand. The cashier saw this and wasn't at all fazed and when I asked for paper he just shrugged. I ended up ripping open the package of paper towels I had purchased and wrapped it around my finger.

As soon as we exited the store we stood around for a few minutes awaiting our driver. In true typical Cairo fashion, there were all these men standing around, horns honking, cars trying to squeeze into the parking lot and the spaces and just a lot of chaos in general. Alfa Market has these older men who act like parking attendants, they try to find you a space or help you back out safely in exchange for some baksheesh, which means tips in Arabic. One of them was in the middle of the parking lot standing around and ended up getting hit by a car. The force threw him on smack on his back. The attendant jumped up as if nothing had happened, the driver sped off without even noticing, and all the men standing around didn't seem to care. Jacob and I were the only ones who were even the least bit alarmed. Only in Cairo!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Jackie started school yesterday. So far she loves it. Julia started preschool today. She was in a great mood when I dropped her off, so I'm hoping she has a good day. Jacob cried when we left, but I know he's not quite ready for preschool yet. He is way too clingy.

The driver dropped the kids and I off at Jackie's school in the morning, then he took Ariel to work. After I got Jackie to class I walked about 500 yards to Julia's preschool and dropped her off. Then Jacob and I walked to Miriam Market for a few snacks and juice and walked the rest of the way home. Considering the fact that there are NO sidewalks and crazy drivers, we only almost got hit by a car once...that's a good day in Cairo. Ha!

Our housekeeper started today. She will be coming 3 days a week and she babysits! I hope she works out and the kids get used to her quickly. Right now Jacob is following her around, so that's a good sign!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Little Things

It's funny the quirks you notice when you travel to another country. Things are just a little bit different, it doesn't mean it's bad, just different.

Case in point- to turn a wall light on in a room you must flip the switch down instead of up. Also, our toilets don't have handles just buttons on top you press when you want to flush. Our washer is also quite small, and it takes forever to do a load and we don't have a dryer. Most apartments here don't come with dryers or even a place to put a dryer since you need proper ventilation in the wall to do so. That has probably been our biggest challenge. That and the amount of sand and dirt that infiltrate the apartment daily. If you want to have a clean floor you have to sweep and mop That's why a lot of people have housekeepers here, because they're cheap and the amount of housecleaning to be done is probably double what I do in the States.

On a fun note, everything delivers, which I love. If you run out of bread and water you can call the closest market and they will deliver straight to your door. Or if you go to the market to buy groceries they will kindly deliver the groceries to your home as soon as you leave so you don't have to carry them. Then they will bring them all the way up to your apartment and put them right in your kitchen. It is very easy to get used to!

The First Few Days in Cairo

We moved from the hotel to our apartment 3 days ago, currently our internet is down so I haven’t been able to call my Mom yet (we have a Texas based Vonage number through the internet) or check my emails, pay bills, etc. I feel so disconnected. The kids are glued to the TV right now watching Playhouse Disney so I decided to write a post on Word to copy on my blog when the internet is working again.
Jackie had her Kindergarten assessment yesterday at the American school. We were told they would email us soon with their decision. Decision? Jeez. I would think the bar would be pretty low for acceptance into Kindergarten. So we shall see if Miss Jackie is accepted or not. If she isn’t I don’t know what Plan B is yet, since we were pretty much counting on her getting into this school.
Cairo has definitely been an eye opening experience thus far. It is a gritty, loud, old city. Oh, and the humanity! How can I not mention the sheer humanity of this place. Wow. There are a lot of people who live here. I think I read somewhere the city is home to 20 million people*. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it sure does feel like a city of 20 million.
The kids are adjusting ok. They do miss home and their friends, but I think mostly they miss the routine and conveniences of Texas. They are creatures of comfort and ask for things like popcorn from Target and hot dogs and Chick-Fil-A. There is a McDonald’s here and a Pizza Hut, so they like that and the food tastes virtually the same as back home. I think the biggest adjustment for them is going to be food-wise. They are picky to begin with so grocery shopping here has been a bit of challenge. So far they have found they like the yogurt, and fruit, and they seem fine with the bread and cheeses and juices. They haven’t tried any meat except the nuggets from McDonald’s.
We miss home a lot, but we are still adjusting and haven’t quite settled in yet. I think once our shipment arrives we will feel more ‘at home’. Until then we are staying upbeat and trying to enjoy this crazy ride!

*According to Wikipedia the current population of Cairo is about 17 million. I was kind of close!

Now that we have the internet up and running I will post pics soon, I promise!

Friday, October 1, 2010

We Are In Cairo!

We have finally made it to Cairo. Jetlag has been awful but we are glad to be in Cairo at the JW Marriot. So far the kids have done very well, but of course we are still adjusting to our new home. More posts (the long flight deserves its own post) and pictures to come soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

We are currently holed up in our hotel- two adults, three kids, 10 pieces of luggage, 1 set of golf clubs, two laptops, five carry on bags, and menagerie of small stuffed animals. The room is a bit crowded, the kids are restless, Ariel and I are stressing out, but finally, FINALLY, we will be on our way to Cairo soon.

Our flight leaves tomorrow at 4 pm. Please, send prayers, well wishes, good vibes our way. We are going to need it!

Goodbye Texas, we will miss you. See you in Egypt!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Things I'm Going to Miss

In the middle of the chaos of our lives right now (living out of suitcases, eating out every meal gets old fast!) I've been thinking about all the things I'm going to miss about the States, specifically Texas since I've lived here my whole life. Here's my list so far (friends and family are not included- they're a given!)

1. Thunder storms
2. Target, HEB, and Dillard's
3. BBQ, Mexican food
4. Driving through south Texas (especially from about Edinburg to Three Rivers- that drive reminds me so much of McAllen, and my family, and my childhood).
5. The hill country
6. Dallas Cowboys and UT football
7. Whataburger and Luby's
8. walks around the neighborhood
9. the library

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another Birthday!

Happy 4th birthday to my little Julia! You are a true middle child, Julia, always trying to find your place between your big (sometimes bossy!) sister and your little (sometimes spoiled!) brother. You are an interesting mix between overachiever and free-spirit. You are ultra competitive and very independent and one of the funniest kids I know! You crack us up with your jokes and witty one-liners on a daily basis. You are also SUPER smart and cute and can be so sweet and lovable. We all love you so much, Miss Julia!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Birthday and an Update

Happy 6th birthday to my Jacqueline! I can't believe how big you are! You are such a smart, silly, sweet, and gorgeous little girl. You are definitely a 'girly-girl'. Your idea of fun is dressing up, playing with dolls, dancing, and modeling. You have a terrific imagination- you dream about unicorns, ponies, and fairies. You think the world is magical and you have a heart of gold. Your Daddy and I always say how funny it is that you can be so fantastical but so logical as well. You amaze us with your problem solving and inquisitive mind. We love you!!!

In other news- we have a flight finally!!!! Yay! We leave for Cairo on September 28th from DFW.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Not to be Forgotten!

I realized yesterday that I forgot to mention something (someone!) very important in my last post.


Audie, our 8-year-old cat, went off to live with my Mom in McAllen. Oddly enough, the girls, who usually pay poor Audie no attention, were devastated! They both cried and sobbed and begged for Audie's return. I was very surprised since they have never been too close to him, and Audie usually spends most of his time outside. But, as Ariel said, he was a part of our family since before they were born. We promised we'd visit him in the summers and when we return from Cairo he can come back and live with us.

Bye for now, Audie. We'll miss you. :-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Quick Update

We still do not have a move date. I have no words for this.

My Mom took the majority of our furniture yesterday. This includes our washer and dryer. :-0

Both girls birthdays are next week (they are exactly two years, one day apart). Where does the time go???

We are pretty much living out of suitcases now as we wait for our flight. I know this will get old real fast. I hope we leave soon!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On the 'Koran Burning Day'

From the Vatican Press:

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue received with great concern the news of the proposed "Koran Burning Day" on the occasion of the Anniversary of the September 11

the tragic terrorist attacks in 2001 which resulted in the loss of many innocent lives and considerable material damage.

These deplorable acts of violence, in fact, cannot be counteracted by an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community. Each religion, with its respective sacred books, places of worship and symbols, has the right to respect and protection. We are speaking about the respect to be accorded the dignity of the person who is an adherent of that religion and his/her free choice in religious matters.

The reflection which necessarily should be fostered on the occasion of the remembrance of September 11th would be, first of all, to offer our deep sentiments of solidarity with those who were struck by these horrendous terrorist attacks. To this feeling of solidarity we join our prayers for them and their loved ones who lost their lives.

Each religious leader and believer is also called to renew the firm condemnation of all forms of violence, in particular those committed in the name of religion. Pope John Paul II affirmed: "Recourse to violence in the name of religious belief is a perversion of the very teachings of the major religions" (Address to the new Ambassador of Pakistan, 16 December 1999). His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, similarly expressed, "…violence as a response to offences can never be justified, for this type of response is incompatible with the sacred principles of religion..." (Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI, to the new Ambassador of Morocco, 6 February 2006).

It makes me sick to my stomach that anyone would even fathom doing this to ones holy book.

A List

-We are still here in Texas. Waiting and waiting. Things seemed to be finally progressing along and then we hit another roadblock. HR in the states is waiting for a very important 'move notice' from HR in Egypt in order to proceed with the movers and flight booking. But, since Ramadan is coming to an end, Egyptians will be on Eid holiday from September 9-12th. So that is 4 more days of delays. ARGH.

-The kids are getting antsy and bored from having such a long summer vacation. Jackie and Julia re ready to get back to school and I am counting the days too! Ha.

-Even though we have rid ourselves of so much stuff we still have so much stuff! How is it possible to collect so much stuff??? There is no end in sight.

-Jacob is talking a bunch now. It is really cute and very funny. He strings together lots of words to make sentences and is very good at making conversation that is actually in context. He is also super silly and very rough! I am not used to all this boy energy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Sorry for the lack of updates lately. We have been waiting patiently for our relocation to be completed. After weeks of unorginazation, delays, and a general attitude of apathy from Ariel's HR relocation people, we have run out of patience. Seriously, people, get you head out of your asses!!!


We are still hoping to be moved in the next 10 days or so if some stupid people (I'm talking to you HR) can get their crap together. Instead of enjoying my last few days here in the states I am stressed beyond belief, frustrated, exhausted, and just ready to get this show on the road.

Cross your fingers for us that the rest of this relocation progresses smoothly and quickly!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


My oldest, Jackie, should be starting Kindergarten tomorrow at the great elementary school down the street from us. Instead, she is staying home waiting two weeks before she starts Kindergarten in Cairo.

It's bittersweet for me.

The bitter- her best friend is starting Kindergarten tomorrow, along with her other friends, and all the familiar that Jackie is used to will no longer be.

The sweet- we are going on a once in a lifetime adventure and Jackie will experience things many kids will never experience and she'll make new friends and hopefully love her new school.

Such is the life of an expat kid.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Ariel returns from Cairo on Friday. The kids and I are so excited to see him after nearly 4 weeks but, I know from here on out it is go, go, go at breakneck speed. We have so many details to take care of and not enough time in the day. We also want to try and squeeze in some time to visit friends and family before we leave.

It is so surreal that in two weeks or so we will be living in another country (a whole other continent!)for the next three years. I just can't wrap my brain around the whole idea yet. We are trying to go into this whole experience with a positive outlook and hopefully we will learn a thing or two from our travels. I can't believe we are going on this journey!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Moving Across the World

Moving to another continent with three kids and a bunch of stuff is quite the undertaking. I am deep in the throes of packing and preparing for our big move. Moving is hard anywhere you do it but this whole moving-to-Egypt-in-a-month-thing really amplifies the whole process. The last few days my emotions have gone from stressed to excited to determined to tired to stressed again. I have to get rid of an entire house full of furniture, two cars, and a cat (who is going to live with my Mom in McAllen). We have had to get passports, travel vaccines, medical exams, and pre-departure health forms completed in the last few days. It has been a whirlwind and I know this is only the beginning of an exhausting few weeks. BREATHE, JOANA.

On a positive note, Ariel secured our apartment in CAIRO, EGYPT, PEOPLE!!! How crazy does that sound!???!! We ended up going with the smallest apartment but the landlord is fantastic and makes up for the size of the place. Also, Ariel will get a month of vacation off before the New Year and we have the option of flying home or somewhere else. Since Jackie will be in school most of December we are thinking of using the flights to go to Europe. How does Christmas in Italy sound??? :-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Who are we missing here?

Yes, you guessed it. That little stinker Jacob! He cried, screamed, and practically ran out of that Walgreens today. Apparently passport pictures = pure torture for my two year old. I guess we'll try again tomorrow when he's not so grumpy. :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The West Nile Life

And here's the link if you can't view the video:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pros and Cons

We have narrowed down our apartment search to a few contenders. Each has its pros and cons.

Apartment 1: 3200 sq ft, 4 bedroom/3 bath
This one is probably at the top of our list right now.
Pros: 3 minute walk to Cairo American College (CAC)- the American school we have applied to for Jackie.
Big, newish, clean, 4 bedrooms is a plus
Cons: Unfurnished- we would have to buy all new furniture. While it may be fun to decorate our own place, it may be a hassle and I'm not sure how long it takes to order furniture in Cairo.
Apartment 2: 2800 sq ft, 3 bed/3 bath
This apartment is owned by a half Egyptian/half Italian man. Ariel had a heck of a time understanding him since he spoke very little English, only Arabic and Italian. He said he got the gist of what he was saying when he spoke Italian but the realtors had to translate most of the conversation.
Pros: new, nicely furnished, wireless Internet in place, landlord is willing to pay for the Satellite TV. Few minutes walking distance to CAC.
Cons: The landlord kept emphasizing the fact that all the furniture had been imported from Italy and therefore may be very anal about kids living amongst all his fine leather. LOL. Only 3 bedrooms.
Apartment 3: 2000 sq ft, 3 bed/2 bath
This apartment is owned by a very nice British couple, it came in well under budget but since the owners seemed very nice we kept it on our list.
Pros: Very nice furnishings, very clean, no lost in translation moments with the landlords. Good building.
Cons: About a 15 minute walk from CAC, so I would have to depend on our driver every morning to take Jackie to school. Smaller than I'd like, especially since we have to take into consideration we will not have a yard for the kids to play in.

So, any opinions?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Apartment Hunting Part 2

Ariel set out today again in a quest to find us an apartment. Today he met with two realtors who took him to look at 6 different apartments. Out of the 6 he thought 2 were pretty good, but honestly he didn't seem thrilled with any. He said they were fine but both had a few cons. We are both resigned to the fact that we are going to have to most likely settle on something because we won't find a perfect apartment.

On another note, I am starting to sort our things and get rid of unwanted items. I also need to sell a few big pieces of furniture. I'm getting so antsy for the move and as of now I am not fully stressed out but am feeling more anxious. I can't wait to be finally moved and settled. The next few months are going to be quite eventful!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Apartment FAIL.

So, Ariel met with the owner of the aforementioned gorgeous apartment I found available in Maadi. Unfortunately, even though the apartment was great, the owner was not thrilled with the fact that we have three small children and was worried about his furniture and decor be broken or trashed by our little monsters. Hmph.

Anyway, I was bummed for about three seconds, but am moving on to our next choices. Whatever, right?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Apartment Hunting

As Ariel begins his job in Cairo I have sent him a few links to apartments I would like for him to look at. On the top of my list is a brand new, fantastically furnished apartment located in Maadi Degla (an expat friendly suburb of Cairo). He is to tour the apartment tomorrow morning with the owner. I am hopeful this apartment will work for us, but know that not everything is what it seems in pictures, especially when house hunting in Cairo.

If this apartment does not work out there are a few others I've found, but to be honest I have not been overwhelmed with the available selection. The budget we are working with provided by Ariel's employer is very good (in Texas it would be freakin' AWESOME to have that much to spend on housing), but in the expat bubble of Maadi it is the norm. I figured I'd have found a huge list of great apartments, but no, I've only found about 4 or 5 that fit my criteria and of course that is via the Internet, so I'm sure that list will be whittled down a bit.

So, I'm hoping Ariel will find a good apartment before we move so we can have that crossed of our huge, daunting to-do-list. I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Start Date

Ariel is on his way back to Cairo again for work and the kids and I are trying to keep ourselves occupied before the BIG move to Egypt. Ariel also finally received his official offer letter after much back and forth, negotiations, delays, and frustration. So our official start date is now September 1st. That's like a month away....AHHHHHHH!!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Trying this out

I've decided to start a blog as a way to capture some of the moments in my life right now with three small children. My days are often a blur and I find that when I look back I can't remember much (3 kids under 6 will do that to you), especially those great moments when the kids were so funny, or witty, or cute. Knowing how they won't be this small forever I want to record some of those memories so when the kids are big I can look back and truly appreciate this crazy, insane, stressful time in my life.

Also, just because our life isn't crazy enough, this family of 5 from Texas will soon be expats living in Cairo, Egypt- the city that pretty much invented chaotic living! Stay tuned for our adventures in Egypt....