Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Smak is Legal

Druggies the world round can now come to Cairo and legally buy smak for the amazing price of 23.95 LE per kilogram!!!

Anafora Pictures

Anafora Pictures

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Last night was our school performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. For the most part it was a complete success. The kids did great, the props looked great, the only real problem was the microphones and the audience not being able to hear some kids. Anyhow, it's done!!!!!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Barnaby Bear Goes to Anafora

I teach a KG/Grade 1 Social Studies class. Last week we began a unit focusing on geography and traveling. The unit features a bear named Barnaby who travels all over the world. As part of the unit each child gets a turn to take Barnaby home with them so that he can see their home and perhaps take trips with them to different places. Barnaby even has his own camera so that the children can take up to five pictures of Barnaby enjoying his time with them and different activities he participated in.
This past weekend Barnaby came with me to Anafora. Anafora is a very spiritual place. Barnaby and I spent lots of time in prayer and meditation. Some of my pictures include Barnaby reading the Bible and being baptized. I wish the pictures were on a digital camera so I could share them with you. Sigh. Three of my colleagues went on the retreat with me. Throughout the weekend we made up stories to go with the pictures (Barnaby accepts Jesus Christ as His Personal Lord and Savior, the Lord Speaks to Barnaby in Dreams and Visions, Barnaby Becomes a Coptic Monk, Barnaby is Called to the Mission Field, Barnaby Elopes, etc.). One of my fellow teachers brought in to school a mini-Bible for Barnaby. It is now sitting on Barnaby's table in his little house we have in the classroom, waiting for Barnaby to share the Word of God with all his friends (the puppets from the KG classroom).
The kids are really enjoying this unit and their new friend. I was suprised at how into to it they are. But I must say that I am even more suprised at how much I am enjoying it. I feel that I am reverting to childhood (and bringing my colleagues down with me).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


If you don't hear from me for a couple of days (and you won't), it is because I am on a retreat. I'll be going to Anafora tomorrow after work. Anafora is a retreat center that is about an hour and a half outside of Cairo. I am excited about this time to just be still. It is good to just put life on pause for a day or two and feel a bit separate from it all. It helps you to think clearly and objectively about things and people. Anyhow, I'll talk to you all soon. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

For Our Mutual Entertainment

Here is a quiz for you about me.

Marble Jar Madness

Tonight is the End of the Year Marble Jar Party. What's that you say? Well it is the much looked forward to party for every primary student at MCS. It is the final "good work" party for the students, which includes a swimming pool, games, pizza, sweets, a movie (Daddy Daycare), sleeping over with all their classmates at the school, pancakes in the morning, and an all around good time.
So far, so good. Heather (the Grade 2 teacher) and I have sucessfully completed all the evening activities and now the kids are seemingly sound asleep on the library floor. I had crashed by 10:00/10:30ish too. But after the necessary 5 hours of sleep I require to function, my body suddenly realized how uncomfortable sleeping on the library floor really is. After that, I tried to fall asleep for what seemed like ages, but was probably only 30 minutes. Then I hit the computer lab to check email, blog, check flight prices, etc. So just the morning left to go. Yay! And I have to say, the group of kids we have for this party is so good that the party has been fun for the teachers too (well mostly fun, sleeping on the floor could scarcely ever be considered fun).

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Little Bit of Stress

I have been feeling a bit stressed lately. The school play is coming up. End of the year "Sleepover Marble Jar Party" (a reward to the kids for good behaviour) this weekend. End of the year reports in process. The teaching certification. Church commitments. Engagement party. Farewell parties. Birthday parties. It is all coming down on me and making me feel stressed. These are all things I don't mind doing. These are mostly all things I enjoy doing. But when it is all together all at once, sometimes it seems a bit too much. So all this to say that if you come up and talk to me and I can't manage to stay focused on our conversation. . . please forgive me. If I snap at you for no good reason. . . please be patient with me. If you are thinking of asking me to help you do something, organize something, etc. . . please don't.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Compulsive Need to Blog

Sometimes I feel that I just need to blog or I will implode. Is that a bad sign?

I can go for about 3 days without blogging and feel fine, but on day four I get real antsy. On day five I actually get cranky. By day six, even if I have nothing worthwhile to say, I blog.

I do have some things I can say, I suppose. Last night was a fun night. Esther and I sat in her room and played Settlers of Catan and drank a bottle of wine. My friend Chelsie stopped by and my other roommate Fiona joined us in Esther's room as well. It was nice. It felt a bit like college or like we were in some movie. Real people don't normally have such a fun, funny, care free life, as I felt I had last night.

On a completely unrelated note, of all the things I miss about the States, I think that breathing is the thing I miss the most.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Somebody Visit Me. . . Pretty Please

Well, I tried my best to get my parents to come and visit me here in Egypt before I return to Georgia at the end of the summer. They thought about it. I even tempted them with the idea of stopping somewhere in Europe for a few days on the way home. They sounded interested. But the answer came yesterday in an email that they are a no go for any trips this summer. I am trying to handle my disappointment in a mature, adult-like manner. But in the back of my head, the immature, selfish me keeps nagging saying,'how come mom has the money to travel here, there and everywhere for Mary Kay and to visit this friend or that friend or to see her sister, but she cannot possibly save up the money to come and see me?' I will grant you that her other trips are all within the Fifty Nifty United States and, therefore, much less expensive(at most, probably half the price). But she takes these trips quite a bit. They add up. But I know I am being unreasonable. Really I am. My parents are constantly bad with money (a trait which was passed on to yours truly). So I should applaud their sensible decision to look at their finances and be wiser with their money. Sigh. That is the mature, adult-like thing to do.
But parents or no parents, I AM GOING TO EUROPE THIS SUMMER! After I tempted them with the idea, I got hooked. I'll either be in Germany, Italy, or France. We shall see. Tickets should be bought at the end of this month. I am excited!
I really wanted a visitor though. So if any of you Augustans are interested in visiting Egypt. . . COME!!!!! This is a great opportunity! You could have a free place to stay, someone to show you around, someone to pick you up from the airport, someone who would be so happy to have a visitor that you would automatically be bumped up to at least my top ten favorite people list! Not that that would have any bearing in the real world, but humor me.
So there it is, I have begged and pleaded with you all. Now when I come back to Augusta with all these great stories of how much I love Egypt and how wonderful it is, you will have no one to kick but yourself if you don't come and visit.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

After Eight

After Eight is a restaurant/bar/live music venue in downtown Cairo. Last night I went there with Chelsie and Esther to listen to a wonderful, wonderful group of musicians called the Riff Band. They play jazz and have a great, Frank Sinatraesque singer. I was so happy. I sat there and sang along with the music and watched people dance. It was a beautiful evening. I needed that.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Single Girl's Survival Tools in Cairo

Item #1- Walkman, Discman, or ipod
(Really anything to drown out the rude comments thrown at you from all sorts of people.)

Item #2- Small bag of rocks, a durable stick (at least 2 foot long), a belt, or a can of soup in a bag
(Really any object that may be used as a weapon and in small enough to carry as you walk around Cairo.)

Item #3- Internet Access
(So you can touch base with people from home and vent on your blog.)

Item #4- At least 4 good friends who are basically fluent in Arabic.
(You should live with one, go to church with one, work with one, and go out partying with one. You can get away with less if one friend will fill more than one slot.)

Item #5- At least two friends who have a car.
(This way you can escape Cairo for a weekend and not even have to worry with taxis, travel agencies, or buses.)

Item #6- A map of Cairo.
(The city is endlessly huge with back roads and about 1 million different routes to get wherever you are going. You must have a map and even then it is difficult to find new places in unfamiliar territory.)

Item #7- A Loose Sense of Time Keeping.
(Egyptians are notoriously late for everything. You must let go of Western uptightness on punctuality.)

Item #8- A cell phone.
(I don't have one and people hate me for it.)

Item #9- A Sense of Independence.
(Forget the dating scene once you move here. Egyptian and most other African guys are out completely. Most guys from a Western origin are here with their wife or they already have a girlfriend here or at home.)

Item #10- A Sense of Adventure.
(Everyday is an adventure in the wonderful city of Cairo whether you are in a taxi cab, crossing a bridge, on the metro, bargaining with shopkeepers, or trying to get your toilet fixed .)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It Was Bound To Happen

I knew that sooner or later it was bound to happen. Last night on the creep bridge near my flat, I got grabbed. I was on my way home from the gym and in a perfectly wonderful mood (endorphins high from my workout) despite my less than wonderful day at work (kids were absolutely driving me insane). This Egyptian guy was walking the opposite direction as me, but after he passed me he turned around and started following me. I turned around and told him forcefully to quit following me. He tried talking to me "Oh but I just wanted to say hello." I told him I certainly did not want to talk to him and he had better turn around and walk the other way. "Oh, you want me to go," he said.
"Yes!" I said emphatically.
"Ok," he replied. Then he grabbed my left boob and ran away. I did what came natural. I ran after him yelling profanities and daring him to come back because I would kick his sorry @$$.

I suppose this reaction was slightly more fruitful and satisfying than when I first arrived in Egypt and had a similar occurance. At that time I was so shocked that I froze on the spot and did absolutley nothing at all. Sara had to chase the guy on my behalf. But still, this reaction was not enough. On looking back, I should have chased him all the way down the bridge and made a huge scene at the bottom where there were lots of other people. Now I am really pondering a weapon of some sort to carry with me at all times. When you think that your only defence is yelling at someone. . . it somehow just does not seem to be enough. Rocks, a knife, a can of soup, something. It would be really good if I could start carrying around a horse whip. If people just look at you and think "That is one crazy b#*@%&," then I really think that they won't even want to mess with you. They will want to run away.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Snorkeling in the Veil

This is another Dahab story. A week ago, I was snorkeling in the Red Sea at a site just outside of Dahab called the Islands. It is my favourite spot to go snorkeling/diving in the Dahab area, but that is beside the point. Lesley, Freddie, and I walked down to this spot together. It is normally a semi deserted area, with maybe one or two groups of divers and a few snorkelers. But that day was a national Egyptian holiday and so Dahab and everywhere around it was particularly busy. As we were putting on our sunscreen, a lady walked up. She was an entirely covered woman. I don't remember if she was wearing gloves, but she had on the full length, black, ghost-of-Christmas-yet-to-come gown. Her clothes left only two slits open for her eyes, but she was wearing sunglasses so I couldn't even see them. I was quite startled when she spoke to her children in a heavy Southern accent. I would have spoken to her, but she was upset with her children and sounded hot and tired and not in the mood for a chat. I wanted to know how she came to be here, how long had she been muslim, where was she from exactly, did she miss home, etc. But I left it and went snorkeling with my friends. The coral was beautiful (of course) and I could have stayed out there forever were it not for the loss of body heat and the herd of jellyfish I had stumbled upon. So we all came back to shore. We set our towels up on the beach to lay out, dry off and warm up. As we were getting settled on shore, the Southern covered lady and her covered friend were getting in the water in full costume (veils, gown, shoes and all). Not only were these ladies going in for a swim and a much needed cool down, they were going snorkeling. It took them at least 20 minutes to get their snorkels situated on the heads without removing the veil and revealing their faces. I was happy for them, that they didn't let their modesty codes keep them from having a good time. But I must admit that I stared in wonder at the whole process, fought of snickering about them and thanked God that I was not a veiled woman.