Monday, November 23, 2009

Family Night

Sometimes, you just have to get creative for Family Home Evening. Tonight we took a jaunt to the thread/yarn store and then to a wonderful Thai restaurant for dinner. On the way home, we just had to stop for some gelato on Road 9, but we realized that it was getting very late. So we held a very impromptu lesson while eating our ice cream/gelato outside the store. Nancy said we should go around the table and tell what we are thankful for since it's Thanksgiving this week. She said she was thankful for Grandma being here to help (aw, shucks). Andrew said, "No, you stole mine!" and then quickly said he was thankful for Miriam. Rachel said she was thankful for Miriam because she's in our family now. Then Andrew asked what Grandma was thankful for, and Rachel shouted out, "Her rabbits!" We have no idea how she came up with that one, especially since I don't have any rabbits and have never mentioned rabbits to Rachel; we all had a great laugh! As for my answer, I'm thankful to be in Egypt with this wonderful family and for the chance to get to know them better. I feel useful, needed, and loved -- thanks Andrew, Nancy, Rachel, and Miriam!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Girls' Night Up

Rough night. Miriam decided to keep Nancy up most of the night. Rachel woke up screaming at about 3:30 a.m., so I got up to help her. She was soaking wet, as were her sheets and most everything around her. I changed her into dry pajamas and didn't know where to put her, so I figured she could just sleep in my bed, not really taking into account Rachel's aversion to sleep. She just wiggled around for the next three hours, sometimes pushing me off our shared pillow or moving the covers all over the place; I think she fell asleep at 6:30 or so. Even after that, she would cry out occasionally and I'd have to calm her down. Once she even said, "I want to sleep in Grandma's bed!" Andrew was the only one lucky enough to have a good night's sleep. So even though we didn't officially get up until 9, all four of us girls were extremely tired. Nap time!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Grandpa's Coming!

This afternoon I decided it was about time we started counting the days until Grandpa and Jacob arrive. I cut strips of paper, and Rachel colored each one. Then we made a lovely chain with 29 links for the 29 days until they get here - such a long time! We're all excited!

The chain is now hanging in a place of honor in Grandma's room, and Rachel and I will remove a link each day. Oh, boy!

Maadi House - Finally

After four weeks of playing pretend with Rachel, much of it pretending to go to Maadi House, I finally got to go there. It's like a country club where only members are allowed. However, guests are free on Wednesdays, so we had someone from the branch who is a member of Maadi House come and sign us in. This is one of Rachel's favorite places to go because of the nice playground and swimming pool. We had a great time being outside in the sunshine and open space of the playground.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I really haven't done any tourist things here yet, but this is one of my favorite sights to see:


Such a Deal

I brought some string art projects with me, mostly to keep me busy but also to entertain Rachel. However, I was in need of a needle large enough to use with crochet thread. So off I went to Moudy's on Road 9. What a deal I came away with! This package cost a whopping 1 Egyptian pound--the equivalent of about 20 cents US. I knew it wasn't going to be great, but all I really needed from it was a needle. The tiny scissors didn't work at all and broke apart basically when I touched them. The needle threader didn't fare any better. Most of the needles' eyes are so bad that there is no way any thread at all is going to work. But the one needle I needed works just fine, so my 1 pound was well spent, don't you think?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Exotic "Vacation" in Egypt

Last week or so, Reid asked about my days and what I do. Basically, I try to get up before everyone else (yes, it is possible) and shower. Then I work for Harman until Rachel gets up. She has breakfast and sometimes a bath before getting dressed. Then we just play and play. Sometimes she asks to see a movie and we'll watch all or part of one. My whole purpose is just to let Nancy get as much sleep as possible.

As soon as Nancy and Miriam are up, Rachel's attention is focused on them. It's hard to keep her from squishing the baby, and she has tantrums whenever she doesn't get to hold the baby all the time. Nancy is very patient and tries to explain why it's impossible for Miriam to play, but Rachel doesn't like the explanations.

If the weather is nice, I'll try to take Rachel for a walk. It's hard to do, though, because the sidewalks are awful so we have to walk mostly in the roads. I don't want to have to carry Rachel because she's so big and hurts my shoulder, but we are able to walk in mostly quiet roads to get to any stores. McDonald's isn't too far away, so we've done that as a treat.

We have lunch at about 1:30 or 2:00 and try to get Rachel down for a nap. She's usually pretty good about it. Doesn't sleep all the time, but she is great about just staying on her bed and playing quietly. While she's down, I try to work for Harman some more. It depends on how much I have to do. Lately I've taken to going grocery shopping while she's down for her nap (if Andrew is home). The grocery store I usually go to is farther away than I'm comfortable walking to with Rachel because of the busy streets. When Rachel gets up, we play some more. We read books, play with toys, play pretend, and whatever else I can think of. Rachel's favorite phrase is, "Play with me, Grandma!" (and she's demanding, not asking). She has enjoyed doing the little crafty things I brought, especially the dinosaur diorama. Andrew was pretty jealous.

In between playing, I do the dishes, hang wet laundry, fold dry laundry, do my own laundry, fix lunch, clean a little, and do whatever else needs to be done. It was nice having meals brought in the first week after Miriam was born, because I didn't have to worry about that. But now I plan and cook dinner, too. I'm more comfortable using the stove and oven now, so it's working out fine. And Papa John's is a most excellent option (as I discovered tonight).

Rachel goes to bed at about 8:30 or 9:00. Andrew usually has to do homework every evening, so I just work for Harman some more or try to catch up on episodes of CSI or Survivor if the internet is working fast enough (my guilty pleasures).

So that's my schedule. Exhausting! I wish I could sleep better, but it's dusty and noisy and not quite as comfortable as my own bed. But I am getting more used to it. I'm going to need a vacation when I get home!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Egyptian Phone Stalkers

It has happened. I've been stalked. Nancy has been through this, and now it's my turn. My phone rang this morning; thinking it was my alarm, I reached over and hit the button that turns off the alarm, but it kept ringing. Since I can't see well without my glasses, all I could think was maybe it was Reid calling me, so I said "Hello." A man started speaking to me in Arabic, so I quickly hung up. He called three more times in rapid succession, so I just turned off my phone.

Later in the day I turned my phone back on, and there were missed calls - from the original number and two different unknown numbers. I did like Nancy and put all the numbers on my screened calls list so they don't actually ring, but you can see on the phone when those numbers are calling. One of the ladies in the branch had mentioned that she always answers the phone in a low, man-like voice to avoid this problem, so when the guy called this afternoon, that's what I did. I thought my problems were over, but he started called again this evening. One of the calls came late enough that Andrew was home, so he answered it and was pretty angry with the guy. He hasn't called back yet.

Andrew says these dumb Egyptian men with nothing better to do just start calling random numbers until they hear a female voice. Then they just keep calling until they finally get tired of it or something. It's such a pain!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Renovation News From Home

Jacob was kind enough to send me some pictures of the beautiful new stairs leading to our basement. I can hardly wait to see them in person!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Making Do

Cooking here in Andrew & Nancy's Egyptian apartment is a challenge, to say the least. It took me a couple of days just to get over the fear of even walking into their small kitchen with its barely-hanging-onto-the-walls cabinets and old, scary appliances. However, I can now light the stove and oven with the greatest of ease. I even wash the dishes after almost every meal (because there aren't enough dishes for the next meal if I don't). I do miss my small appliances--my Bosch mixer, a hand mixer, toaster oven, blender, crockpot, electric frying pan, electric griddle, etc. Here I am, a 51-year-old grandmother, trying to make a batch of cookies without a mixer! Let me tell you, it ain't easy.

So for lunch today, I was craving toast. Yes, just a piece of toast. Can't just pop a piece of fresh bread in the toaster and then lather it with my favorite margarine and jam! Here's what I had to do: break off a couple of small slices of bread from the loaf in the freezer, light the stove, melt some lovely Lurpak unsalted butter in a small frying pan, place bread in melted butter and smash it down in the pan so it could thaw and then cook in the butter, turn bread over and repeat with the other side, put on plate and smear a little peanut butter and some strawberry jam on the toast, carry the plate out to the dining area so I could share with Rachel. It turned out pretty well, I thought. Andrew turned his head to see what I was eating and exclaimed, "How'd you get toast?" I said, "From the toaster." He looked at me with his endearing incredulous face and said, "But we don't have a toaster!" I just smiled back while he kept asking me how I did it. He even went to the kitchen to try and figure it out. What a sweet, gullible child I raised!