September 27, 2009

Top Five Things I Hate In Movies

1. When there's a huge mess being made. I think of the poor person who will have to clean it up. We recently watched Alvin and the Chipmunks and they made the worst messes. On the other hand I love magical cleaning sequences like in Mary Poppins when they snap the room clean or in Enchanted when the animals clean up.

2. When people drive in movies and barely look at the road! Amelie stated she hated that too in that movie. Seriously, they need to at least make it look like they are really driving. They're always looking at the person next to them, talking to them, almost never glancing at the road. This has gotten better over the years but it still happens.

3. This one's more of a personal thing. When people stand on a ledge or cliff. Like at the end of Vanilla Sky when Tom Cruise's character is on the top of that building. I don't know why it makes me so nervous, I actually notice that I'm leaning back myself while watching.

4. When people are in a diner or restaurant and they don't even drink or eat what they just ordered. Or pay sometimes.

5. When someone is running away from the bad guy and where do they run? UP stairs. Why? To make it more dramatic, but it makes zero sense. Also the action stars always get shot in the upper arm. How conveniently non lethal yet sympathy grabbing.

What about you guys?

Memories

Why do we remember the things we remember? What makes certain memories stand out in our minds while others are gone forever?

I'm a pretty nostalgic person in general, but I have very little recollection of my early childhood. Do most people remember stuff from age 5 through say..9? I have bits and pieces. Vague images or little clips in my mind. My earliest memory is being three years old and going to see my brother when he was born. I remember wearing a red furry coat and standing on my tippy toes trying to see in the glass. I barely remember anything nearly that early. Sometimes I wonder how much of my memories I've made up. I wonder what my kids will remember.
Me, I guess I was about 4

A girl in one of my classes in college swore she had memories, in utero. Yea. I used to wish I could remember full days and re-live them in my mind but I think sometimes forgetting is a blessing. Do you think our subconscious blocks certain things out to protect us? What's your earliest memory?

This
is a good article about personal memories that can "help to guide your explorations of your earliest recollections".

September 25, 2009

Yummy Fudgy Cookies!


I just made these amazingly easy, delicious cookies. They're just a box of cake mix, 2 eggs and 1/2 a cup of vegetable oil. The recipe says the Betty Crocker mix is 18.25 oz but the one here is 500grams which is a little under 18 oz so I added a bit of flour. You roll them into balls and roll them in sugar and bake for 10 mins at 350. They are so chocolaty and yummy, you have to try this recipe.

September 24, 2009

The Meeting

So I met my internet friend, J and lived to tell the story. She's so easy to talk to and really down to earth. We clicked immediately. The kids were a little shy at first, (we both have 4, a boy and 3 girls, mashaAllah) but they were getting along great later on. It was so funny, the 2 boys were all standoffish at first and neither wanted to make the first move. By the time we parted they had a handshake down and they were asking when we'd meet again.

Alhamdulillah, we were talking about how Allah does everything for a reason. I was just thinking maybe the reason I had that whole snafu about Safiyah & school was so that I would do the Google search that led me to find J! It's really great to have a friend who's on the same page with you on a lot of things. She's Canadian born and raised with Arab parents and the US and Canada are kinda like the same so we get eachother. Alhamdulillah I'm really glad to have met her.

September 22, 2009

More Eid Fun!

So most people here in Egypt celebrate the Eid for 3 days. I pretty sure that's just a cultural thing though. Anyway the second day we took the kids to play at the mall's overpriced play place.
Here's Zayneb as one of the magician's volunteers.
Dawood beat salwas 7 -0 at Air Hockey.
Zayneb shooting hoops.
Safiyah ridin' the chopper
Hi Salwa!
This was the biggest rip off, 10LE and she fell off after 3 seconds. Ride over.
Trampoline fun.
Gee, Smile would ya?

Yesterday we went on a boat trip, it was pretty nice even if we didn't go swimming. The fresh air was good, and the water was beautiful.
Safiyah caught off guard.
Salwa and Zayneb
Dawood

In other news, I recently met a new friend online,sort of by coincidence, subhanAllah. She lives in hurghada, but we haven't actually met yet. We're meeting today inshaAllah so If I go missing you'll know I was kidnapped/killed by her. Kidding, really I was the one to contact her so if anyone should be worried, it would be her. We've kinda become friends already via emails, phone calls and msn. We have a lot in common, she's really cool and cracks me up. When calling about our meeting she goes "don't forget your axe" hahahahahah. Well played, J. Well played.

September 21, 2009

EID

EID was good, alhamdulillah. The prayer at the mosque in front of me had way less people than usual, people are scared of crowds cause of swine flu. Whatever, after breakfast we went to sleep for a bit cause we were up late and up early. E brought the kids a bunch of candy and we gave them money so they could choose their own gifts. I think next time we'll do one gift exchange and money cause it's fun to open gifts! We thought of having a party but a lot of people are out of town or busy so whatever. We went to dinner at our favorite restaurant, then had Ice cream at the promenade. We then stopped at a toy/gift shop so the kids could pick out some toys and I got a wannabe-fake kipling bag for free cause the shop has this card that you get stamped and then you get a free 50LE. Heh heh heh, (<---evil laugh)Using my kid's purchases for my own gain! The bag had this stupid ape keychain that I gave Dawood. I had the same bag in black but the zipper broke so that tells you how poorly made it is. Whatever, it was free.

Here are some pics from yesterday. I went with a coppery brown hijab cause the green one I had lined up was too small when I wore it, looked weird.





Zayneb also got a diary with lock (ooooh!) and Dawood got a Yugi Watch. S&S got a lame doll with the annoying noisy toys pictured here. You can't see it but they say "Benign Girl" hahahahahahaha.

September 19, 2009

HAPPY EID!

Eid is tomorrow inshaAllah! Have a great holiday, everyone!

September 16, 2009

September 15, 2009

Maids in Egypt

Tonight I was privy to or, I guess, I was part of a weird conversation about maids. (In Arabic of course)

I know that having a cleaning lady in this part of the world is way more common than it is in the west and it's a good thing sometimes. It gives jobs to women who need them and helps households keep up with all the dust here. I think a woman coming to help do the heavier jobs once or twice a week is a help to a lot of homes. One of these women currently has a woman come clean her apartment every other day. She brings her daughter and cleans everything but isn't allowed to make the bed. When I heard this I asked why not and she said she just doesn't want her touching and breathing on her bed/pillows. I was like um, lady, she's at your house every other day breathing all over the place. EYEROLL

I was kinda disturbed by the casual conversation where one woman was asking if the other knew where she could find a young one. "Around 12 years old?" She asked. I was like "why?", they both went on to talk about how a young girl would be great because then she could live with them!

I've gotta say I don't get live in maids, let alone, live in child maids at that! They talked about how she'd have to be younger than 15 or she could be a threat to the marriage. But not younger than 10, or they'd feel bad giving her too much work and it would be more like an extra kid than a servant. I wondered why an 11 or 12 year old was OK and guilt free!?

Wouldn't you feel odd having a stranger live in your homes,I asked. They insisted she'd be like one of the family. I argued that she would not, and asked if said maid would sit with them at dinner. One of them laughed and said, of course not! She'll eat in the kitchen. I'd just proved my point and shot her a look like "see"?

One recounted a great little girl she had in Cairo who was so wonderful, "She'd finish her work and sit quietly on the floor without my asking." She said. She'd go visit her family once a month and give them the money she'd earned. These maids also double as nannies and look after the children at home and when out, and more educated ones even help with homework. What's mom doing? I'm sorry, I'm all for getting some help but when some womanchild is raising your kid for you, that's a problem.

They went on to talk about the different nationalities of maids and which ones were better. "Filipino maids are the best" one says. The other told a story of the African maid in Cairo who'd eaten a baby. Yes, I just typed that, and yes, they were serious. I started to laugh and they quickly said, no, it's true! One said how black people scare her and how she just isn't comfortable around them. I told them they can't generalize and that what they heard is surely a rumor. I asked them how they felt about people painting all Muslims or Arabs with the same brush but they blew off the comparison. These are average, middle class, college educated women. It completely floors me how people can be this dense.

I really had to keep my cool because I wanted to yell "IT'S NOT OK TO HAVE A CHILD CLEAN UP AFTER YOU AND YOUR KIDS AND YOU'RE BOTH IGNORANT, RACISTS!" But I didn't.
I've seen some kids that have maids living in their home and they treat them like crap and pick it up from their parents. They get a sense of superiority over them. It's messed up.

If you have a live in maid, that's fine as long as she is an adult and is treated kindly and fairly. What's your take?

September 11, 2009

I Spoke Too Soon

I'd just posted that school is in 2 weeks, now it's been delayed till Oct.3 all over Egypt. New cases of Swine Flu. Pretty scary, I think, but better safe than sorry. I hope it doesn't get delayed more than that, inshaAllah because it will surely effect their curriculum.

September 10, 2009

LOOK...



at all the books/notebooks I have to cover! There's some they still didn't get in yet. like 8! It will take about 3 hours from past experiences. We still need to get other school supplies like pens/pencils, erasers and sharpeners etc. Salwa needs a new backpack and I have to get more white socks. Ramadan+Eid+School starting is expensive all one after the other.

We still have a couple more weeks of vacation but I'm trying to get them back in the sleeping earlier mode. Sigh. It will be good to have a routine again but I'm not looking forward to the HW nagging and exams and stuff. I'm not going to lie you guys. Some quiet time during the day is a definite plus. The kids (well the girls) are kinda excited to go back, for now. They've just about finished the assignments the school gave them over the summer. That was not cool, vacation should be vacation, I say.

Thankfully, Safiyah will be entering KG1 even though they had at first said she's 9 days from the cut off after she was in their pre-K class last year! We were about to change schools. What a headache, anyway back to school is soon approaching here, I bet people already started most other places. There's even been talk of delaying it more because of Swine flu, but I doubt it. I hope not.

September 9, 2009

Children & Play in Egypt

Look at the sod lawn!

Something I really miss about the States are parks. In the US, every neighborhood has a local free public park with a playground for kids to play and release all the energy they have. Here you have to go to one of the few cafes that have play sets and buy overpriced coffee or what have you to allow your children to play on a swing set or slide down a slide. How sad, right? What about people who can't afford that?


Tonight while having coffee with my besty B., we got on the topic of how a lot of children here get shortchanged, as far as childhood goes. Most people live in apartments so there's no yard to play so they end up climbing up the walls. Besides the fact that school here is too intense, there's no free parks or even a free public library. One woman I spoke to about libraries here was amazed at the fact that anyone can get a library card in the US and is trusted to bring it back and that most people do. There's a general feeling here that people can't be trusted. They can't be trusted not to park on the sidewalk so the curb is a foot high, for example. The library that opened here went to crap inside of a year. The books started to get stolen so we were no longer aloud to take any out even though we payed the yearly fee. The playground there had broken glass and all the swings/rides were rusty and broken so we stopped going. There's no free fun here folks. Kid's have to join paid activities, and those who can't, simply don't.

When some kids go play on the bouncy castle at the mall at 10LE for 15mins, while other kids are working construction or as a mechanic's apprentice, there's a huge problem.

September 4, 2009

Lanterns and Kettles



We saw a couple big Ramadan lanterns at the mall (we have a mall now!) last night and the kids took it as a photo op. As you can see the mall is still coming along but I got an electric kettle for tea at Spinneys.

A commenter, UmAsiya brought up it could be easier for the dinner party (no set date yet) and I thought, yea it would be easier for everyday too. It was on sale and it's nothing fancy. There were some that cost over 200LE! As long as it heats up the water, it's good. I noticed lots of people use these here, I've always just boiled water on the stove. Speaking of the stove, I gotta go clean it. It's bad. Really bad.

September 3, 2009

That's Fresh




Yes, it's completely normal to buy eggs in Egypt and find them covered in feathers, hay and chicken poop! Most of the time we get the clean ones but sometimes some supermarkets don't have them. I wash them all in bowl, careful not to break them but it's gross! Yesterday Salwa saw the feathers and thought there was a chick inside!

Warning: Don't Look If You're Fasting


I made this cake on a whim last night. We had some after suhoor and even though I frosted it too soon while it was still a bit warm, it was delicious! I used my foolproof yellow cake recipe, and made some chocolate frosting and decorated with pistachios. We still have half for after iftar!