March 31, 2009

School Uniforms


What does everyone think about school uniforms? Zayneb recently asked my what my school uniform looked like when I was a kid. I told her we didn't have them, that we wore whatever we wanted. She thought that was just the greatest thing. I personally like that the kids have uniforms for school. It takes out the guess work about what to wear for school. Also when all the kids are dressed the same there is a lot less comparison and competition about kids' clothes. I think they look nice in them and it's conducive to learning in a way.

On the other hand, we have to make sure every hair elastic is white only and have plenty of clean white socks. The school sells the uniforms for a lot but you can buy say the navy pants anywhere as long as the are plain and no cargo pockets or anything. Also I learned that some people just buy blue shirts anywhere and get the school logo embroidered on somewhere and it's a lot cheaper that way. We'll definitely do that next year. I do wish their uniform was something easier and more casual like a navy polo and khaki pants though.

March 30, 2009

It's Awesome


So self proclaimed geography nerd Naseem said I should download Google Earth, I never really got what the big deal was. Looking at rooftops? But I was wrong. It's so damn cool! I'm looking at my old addresses and went to the Eifel Tower. I found my building first which was not easy since the street names aren't on it but I found us! Egypt is indeed very beige. Looking at NJ there's so much green! I want to zoom in all the way inside the houses, people!

March 28, 2009

If Loving Beshamel is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Right


Thanks Ange. MY RECIPE but Ange adds mozzarella which is a very good idea, so add that.

March 25, 2009

Propaganda

Once again the Egyptian government imposes it's brainwashing on my children. Note the top and bottom lines.



This was in my first grader's math book. See the here for previous examples of the same crap.

March 24, 2009

Latey McLatersons

Not cute.
I am a punctual person. I hate when people are late. HATE.

When I have somewhere to go I figure out how long it will take me to get ready and get there and plan accordingly. It's not a big deal when it's just one time or occasionally but when people are chronically late, they are showing a lack of respect for my time. Why should I sit around waiting on you? My time is just as valuable as yours.

Arabs, in general are late. You'll invite someone over at 5 and they won't show up or call or anything for at least an hour. No apologies or anything. We call it AST. Arab Standard Time. I'll never understand it. Why can't people just say, "I'll be there at 6 or 7" ? It's maddening because I'll have food ready to eat at 5 o'clock and the place is clean and ready by that time cause you know, they just might show up. Of course food gets cold and you end up sitting around waiting for their highness to arrive.

Why can't they think of others and realize that I have a life too? It's irresponsible and kind of arrogant. Also, if you're running late, call! It makes a big difference to know what's up and when to expect someone instead of just waiting around like an idiot.

March 23, 2009

I Can Beat That!

You know those people who only talk about themselves? They just go on and on and on about their lives and anything you say they try to one up you. You know, Self Obsessed?

Example:

Me-Once, at a reptile museum, I held a baby alligator (true!)

Self Obsessed Suzy- Oh, that's nothing. I wrestled a 9 foot Croc in the Nile!

Me-Wow...ummm...that's amazing.

Self Obsessed Suzy-Yea and then I surfed on a great white shark.

And so on.


Are we in a contest here? I think people like that are A. Usually lying, and B. Really insecure.

I mean why get into a pissing match about every little thing? To build them self up, actually to themselves. Relax, if I want to be your friend it wont matter if you climbed Everest or you can speak 5 languages. Just be yourself and stop trying to impress everyone.

March 22, 2009

Mom's Day



Yesterday was Mother's Day here, and early in the morning my kids were whispering stuff to E and shhing each other about something and by early evening I figured everyone forgot. Then E came in and surprised me with a yummy cake and a card. The kids made me cute "I love you Mom" cards and sang me a song! It was precious. Alhamdulillah the whole thing was really sweet and the cake was too. It was chocolate cake with coffee flavored cream. I should have taken a photo before we attacked it!

March 20, 2009

What's --------- In Arabic?


These three's smiles are so silly here. That's when you know you take a lot of pictures. They start to go crazy...Safiyah's got that crazy look in her eye.

Last night we went out to our usual cafe with some friends. The weather was really nice and the kids had fun and ran around and played with friends from school who were also there coincidentally . Safiyah kept bringing over school mates to introduce, sometimes with their moms. It was nice. There was a book shop there and I picked up this book. It was kind of on the pricy side but I never find books in English here and this one is perfect for the younger 2.


It's your basic First Picture Dictionary with English and Arabic. Salwa and Safiyah looked through a lot of it today. I like how they've included lots of animals and concepts in the 1000 words. In the back there are a few word and alphabet games. All in all a good purchase, I say.


It reminds me of MY first "My First Picture Dictionary" and I even learned some Arabic words I didn't know. The kids slept like logs alhamdulillah after playing all evening. All the moms were talking about what to get the teachers for Mother's Day (it's tomorrow here). This kind of annoys me. Why are the teachers encroaching on Mother's Day? Can't they have Teacher Appreciation like we did and leave the Mom's holiday to the Moms? It's weird, right? Another random cultural trivia tidbit.

March 18, 2009

Aspirin Mask

Have you heard of the aspirin mask? Google it and you'll find tonnes of beauty sites raving about this simple do it yourself scrub/mask.

Because aspirin is a beta-hydroxy acid or BHA, a very effective type of salicylic acid known to be an amazing pore cleanser. It cleanses your skin deeply and keeps it clear. It's an amazing exfoliator that leaves your skin bright, smooth and amazingly soft. It also heals existing blemishes quickly. It's cheap. It's easy. I love it.

I break out maybe once a month but I find that this helps keeps pores clear and skin soft.

All you need is regular UN-COATED aspirin. We have these sheets of them that are really inexpensive.

I like to use it as a scrub most days. For an exfoliating scrub, place 2 aspirins in the palm of your hand and make a small pool of water over it. It will start to dissolve in a few seconds.

Open your hand a bit and let the excess water fall through your fingers and add a drop of your favorite cleanser.

Mix it up and use as you would any face wash or scrub. I like to scrub for about a minute. Then rinse with several splashes of water like your in a face wash commercial and pat dry.

To use it as a mask you should wash your face with your regular cleanser then make a mask using 5-6 aspirins. Some people add honey or yogurt instead of cleanser to moisturize. Leave it on till it dries. If you don't add something besides water to the asprin for a mask it will flake off your skin and send you into a sneezing fit.

If you try it, let me know how you like it!

March 16, 2009

Random Ramblings


So things around here are pretty much at a stand still. Monotonous. Not complaining that's just how it is at the moment. I'm thinking I need to get a start on spring cleaning, inshaAllah. Time seems to be flying by...it's already mid March! School will get out some time in May and I'm looking forward to summer. My family comes inshaAllah and I miss them so much.

Safiyah smiling big for the camera.


Dawood doing hurdles.

I heard that Thursday might be off school because they made some "memory of Taba" day or something but I'm not sure. The stupid school will probably inform us the day before. Growing up, we had a sheet on the first day of school listing every half day and day off for the entire year. I know that here they have to account for the lunar calendar regarding Eid's but they could write either X or X day. They are just too disorganized to do it.

It's 10 pm and I forgot to hang the laundry out and there are school uniform stuff in there so I gotta do it now!

March 15, 2009

I GOT MAIL!!

I can't believe it. I'm shocked. SHOCKED! I've posted before that I've never received mail here in Egypt before today, and always thought it very unreliable. Today that has changed. Today a postman, dressed in regular clothes, came to our door and brought the package Mistika sent.

She sent some very cute, hand made dolls for needy children here in Egypt.

Aren't they adorable?

I'm so happy to know that mail can actually arrive here. She sent them 11 days ago too!

March 13, 2009

Can You Use The American Flag As A Hijab?


So I was once talking to this Egyptian woman here, just casual, and some how or another the topic came to living in Egypt verses America or anywhere else. She was saying that it must have been hard for me in America. She said that it must have been hard because it's not your country or it's "ghorba" meaning a strange place. I told her it wasn't strange for me. America is as multicultural as it gets, and that actually I don't feel like Egypt is "my country". I still feel like I am in "ghorba".

She was shocked. I mean, she was floored that the Egyptian blood running through my veins doesn't automatically make me feel right at home here. It's not that simple, and it's not a black and white issue. I was raised by Egyptian parents, lived among Egyptian relatives and came here a month in the summers between age 10 and 18. That has it's effect, but it does not make me like any Egyptian girl born and raised here. I moved here at 26. I do have some Egyptian/Arab pride, but I still would if I still lived in the US, regardless.

It seems to me that it's normal for me to identify with the US a hundred times more than I do with life here. I just don't see eye to eye with a lot of views here. This woman was like, mortally offended by my casual mention of not feeling like Egypt is "my country" and that America was. I don't know if she thought it disloyal in someway. When I saw her reaction, I asked her don't you think that's only natural? She went on about my heritage and family which as I said, has it's part, but it doesn't change where you lived your entire life for a quarter century or everything you've ever known.

March 11, 2009

Beauty

It can be really pretty here sometimes. Actually today I was really thankful that I live in a place with so much sunshine. It might be depressing to live somewhere that there's not a lot, so Alhamdulillah.



Old Pics

So looking through some old photo albums, before we took digital photos, we had actual paper photographs! Amazing right? I miss them though but film and developing costs money plus you mess up a picture, it's messed up, that's it. Here are some old pics of pics.

This is Dawood and Zayneb when they were little-er. Salwa was still in the carrier, Safy was just a thought then.


This is from when Zayneb was born, That's my husband, Dawood is not impressed. Zayneb is the little skinny baby in the b&w photos.


This is after we came to Egypt, in Alex, the kids with E. I love this pic w/ the 3 of them!


The first one is of the dogs at the house in Alex, the second one is from Seaside in NJ.


This is D & Z and the last one is Dawood at Safari from last year.

March 10, 2009

March 8, 2009

Cash

I thought it might be interesting to post what Egyptian money looks like. I tried to find ones in good condition, most of the smaller notes are in bad shape but there are some decent ones to be found. Largest to smallest, click to enlarge:

200 pound note


100 pound note


50 pound note

20 pound note

10 pound note


5 pound note

1 pound note

1 pound/LE coin

50 piasters (1/2 LE) note

50 piasters coin



25 piasters note

25 piasters coin (quarter LE)



I love seeing money from different countries so this can be a tag if anyone feels like posting their local currency.