November 26, 2009

Bye



We are going on a vacation! I'm so exited. We'll be gone about a week, inshaAllah. We're going to Luxor and Siwa and I can't wait to tell you all about it when we get back, inshaAllah. Have a wonderful, blessed Eid and Happy Thanksgiving:)

November 25, 2009

Victory


You see this? Do you know what that is? It's the bottom of my hamper. It's been quite some time since I've seen it. I declare VICTORY over the laundry! For about an hour. There's always more laundry. But for now? I win!

November 22, 2009

J Day

So today I went out with my friend J, you know, the one I met on the internet? Anyway, it was really nice, we hadn't seen each other in a while and the kids were also excited to see each other.

Right off the bat, we had a flat tire, but thankfully fixed it quicky and cheaply, I might add. We decided to go to the mall, It was hectic at times with 8 kids between us but it was fun. We went and ate at the food court, then we went to her house. We spotted a fox right near their house! It was really quick but so cool to see. I played a bit of hula hoop on the wii fit, it was so funny! J kept laughing at me. She'd gone a little trip back to Canada and brought us some loot! Check it out...



You can never go wrong with candy and magazines! The kids took turns playing wii and we (<--lol) talked and talked. Thanks J! We had a great day :)

November 19, 2009

This, That And The Other Thing

So yea Egypt lost. Oh well. I felt bad for all the people they looked so sad. The Egyptian channels had hours of coverage about Algerian fans attacking Egyptian fans after the match. A lot of eyewitnesses and injured people. It was weird. We lost!

Today my son told me about how his science teacher says Homo-Genius instead of Homogeneous. I got a good chuckle out of that.

I heard the Eid break is until December 6, so that's good. I'm so sick of studies. We'll probably go to my husband's home town. Maybe a little shopping in Alex, inshaAllah and visit my Dad.

I watched Julie & Julia recently. I really wanted to see it but it was just OK, not great. I thought Meryl Streep did a great job playing Julia Child but her voice was annoying at times. I know that's how she sounded. I kept thinking I'd hate to be at the table next to her in a restaurant being disturbed by her loud high pitched OH's an AH's. Speaking of not wanting to sit near someone in a restaurant, the guy that played Amy Adam's husband ate like a pig and grossed me out with his eating habits. Ugh. I like Amy Adams but didn't like her character, Julie very much. Stanley Tucci was good though. I usually don't like his characters. All in all it was cute. I'd watch Meryl Streep read the phone book,though.

I was going to buy a new stuff for Eid but I think I'll just buy from Alex. Stuff is less expensive and there's more selection. I did buy a new green hijab. I love it it's really soft.

The kids have "Children's Day" on Saturday. It's only up to 4th grade so Dawood's left out. How sucky right? They're not children? The girls are exited cause they get to go with regular, non uniform clothes and no books and there's a party. Everyone had to bring 2 things. snacks, balloons, party hats etc. It's all they can talk about.

Safiyah keeps saying what letter everything start with, it's cute. She's like look, B. Bird. Mommy, I found T. Tape under the couch. She does it with Arabic letters/words too, but sometimes confuses the two.

I'm gonna go wash the dishes. Fun huh? Later.

November 16, 2009

Me, Myself And I

Do enjoy quality time with your self?

I grew up with a brother and sister, so I was almost never alone. In the beginning of my marriage, when E was at work, I hated being alone. I never enjoyed alone time much until I had kids. Now, I definitely know the value of peace and quiet.I learned to revel in being with myself. I can appreciate having an uninterrupted phone conversation or an uninterrupted thought, at that.

Now that all the kids go to school, I have time to do some things I need or want to do without distractions. House work, blogging, reading and my favorite, going out for coffee with a friend. Going out without kids was a fantasy not too long ago. My best friend and I have even been to a couple of matinees while the kids were in school!

Mostly what I'm talking about here though, is time alone, by yourself and yourself only. Do you like it? I recently had time to kill and went into a coffee shop and sat by myself in an establishment for the first time. When I was younger I would feel too awkward to sit alone, but it was fine. Enjoyable even.

I can only do so much during school hours though because most shops and businesses here don't open until noon or later and Safiyah comes home at 1:30. So I make sure I'm home in plenty of time. The day continues, everyone else comes home. It's a bit chaotic with studies, dinner and everything else that needs to be done. I find myself, on particularly crazy days, counting the minutes before bedtime. If that sounds bad, I'm sorry, but it's true. And if you're a mom, you know.

After the kids go to bed and alone time is restored, a sense of calm washes over the apartment and all is right with the world. This doesn't mean I don't like spending time with my family. Not at all, I love hanging out with my kids. It's just the everyday monotony that gets tiring.

I think everyone needs time to themselves to be able to think, focus, and reflect. Our lives today are so filled with distractions, and commitments, so we need to savor those times we have to ourselves. Whether it's spent cleaning, doing a soduku, taking a walk or just being, enjoy it.

November 15, 2009

Yay for Egypt

The kids were so happy to make noise

So Egypt won the big game verses Algeria 2-0, in a World Cup qualifier, The two teams will play again Wednesday in Sudan. The winner will go to the World Cup in South Africa next year.

I'm not a big sports fan and to be honest most soccer games put me to sleep, but the big games like this one are fun to watch and participate in the celebration. After the win we went driving through the main street in Hurghada. There was such a wonderful feeling of joy in the streets. Everyone was out and happy. People were standing on top of everything, hanging out of cars, honking in rhythm and cheering "Masr" (Egypt). Tourists got in on the fun too! I loved seeing all the red/black/white hijabi outfits! It was a blast. We went and got ice cream and came home.



It really makes people happy, winning soccer games, and I think that's great, but to watch all the songs and tributes on TV you'd think this meant Egypt is just so wonderful in every way, when really all it means is that the Egyptian soccer team plays well. I don't say this to be a downer, really, in the end, patriotism is a good thing, whatever the reason, I suppose.



More photos here.

GO EGYPT!

November 12, 2009

Randomosity

Hey people, no real topic comes to mind so I'm just rambling.

My apartment can't seem to stay clean, it's frustrating. I'm in the midst of switching out the summer for winter clothes and I can't put the summer stuff away till I finish the laundry. So there are bags of clothes all over the place that need to go into the under bed storage soon.

The big Egypt Algeria game on Saturday is all the buzz. If we win by 3, I think? We go to the world cup for the first time in 20 years. If we win people will go CRAZY in the streets. I hope Egypt wins, people are so happy when we do!

I was going to post about Potatoes Au Gratin but I forgot to take a pic and I don't really have a recipe I just layer sliced thin potatoes with cheddar or different cheeses, and salt, pepper, dill, a little bit of butter and milk and bake.

I got a new shibshib. Shibshib is Egyptian for flip flops. No one walks around the house without slippers or flip flops in Egypt, so we go through them pretty often.

Eid's coming up in a couple of weeks, anyone have plans yet? I'm hoping we might go away for a few days, inshaAllah. We'll see.

We got some new winter clothes for the kids recently. There's this outlet type store that sells brand names made in Egypt stuff and they're prices are pretty good. We got 4 pjs, 10 shirts, a pair of jeans, pants and a top for me all for under 500LE. My oldest daughter, Zayneb is 9 and she's starting to really care about clothes and stuff, but thankfully we found stuff they all liked.

I love eating apple slices with cheese! Dubliner cheese is best. I heard of that snack once and thought, huh? But it's really good. Try it.

I don't know what to make for dinner today. The eternal question.

Safiyah (5) is starting to become a bit of a teller of tales. Recently she told us how she went swimming at school and the teacher gave her a bathing suit etc. She adds details. I think she's been trying see how far she can go, kinda testing to see what we'll believe. I'm gonna go ahead and not worry about it. I think it might be normal.

Perfect Housewives is on. Have you seen this show? It's British. This woman Anthea Turner has 2 messy housewives/husbands clean and declutter their homes completely. It's really motivational to watch. Some of their homes are scary. They win a tiara. And a clean home. I like that they do it themselves and not have someone come in and do it for them like on "Clean House". Anthea is a trip. She can't be that perfect all the time. Her house is ridiculous. And she keeps nice nails. I'll bet she has help.

November 9, 2009

The Beautiful People vs Mr/Mrs. Personality

Do you think that people who are not that good looking have better personalities? Remember that old song "They call you Mr. Personality because you're so ugly!" Well that was an extreme but you know the how people think when someone describes a person as having a "great personality" that automatically means they're not a looker? Of course beauty is in the eyes of the beholder but I'm talking about just general societal standards, so play along. I don't mean any offense to anyone so take this with a grain of salt.

You see, I have this theory: People who are of below average looks are forced to rely on other aspects of their self. They develop a good sense of humor, they're funny. They focus on studies/reading and therefore become better students/smarter. They are more unique. These traits are developed in childhood, more towards the tween/teen years. I also think people who are beautiful get ahead in life more easily. They get special treatment, more opportunities, and attention. When someone who is, let's say plain, doesn't have these advantages, it builds character. Less attractive people learn there is more to them than the outside and build that, while a lot of the time beautiful people depend on their looks to get by because it works. I'm referring to physical beauty here only. A sense of humor and intelligence is more important and more beautiful, I think.

I suppose beautiful people get preferential treatment because humans are visual. We're subconsciously drawn to good looking people. Also, people go by first impressions and think if something looks good, it must be good. It's like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. People hated him on his looks alone and it happens all the time in this world. While hotties get to skip lines, free stuff and better service. It's not fair but it's true.

The best is when you don't care what anyone thinks. I'll admit, I get intimidated around really beautiful women. Just nervous and self conscious. I'm working on it though.

What do you think? Do pretty people have it easier in life? Do less attractive people have better personalities?

November 6, 2009

Cairo

So yesterday E had a meeting in Cairo and asked if we wanted to come for the day. I love a little spontaneity, so the kids took the day off school and we headed for Cairo. The drive was a long 5 hours but we're used tot he 8 hour drive to where my husband is from so it wasn't too bad. Most of the way is boring desert but there are some pretty sights driving through Ein el Sokhna.


We passed 2 stretch limo and trucks with sound equipment going the other way in the Red Sea direction and decided maybe it was Beyonce on her way to the concert she was giving in Porto Ghalib tonight.

Finally when we reached Cairo, and not 15 minutes into the city, I already was thankful I lived in Hurghada and not Cairo. Seriously? The city looks like there is a coat of black dust over everything. This is just going into Giza and passing through Tahrir. In Hurghada we have dust and litter but not like this. The air is cleaner of course. The traffic was bad and the fumes were gross. Here's my drive by shot of the Nile.



We thought the zoo would be a good place to spend some time. It's one pound to get in but it's really a sad place. I don't think it was this bad last time we were here a couple of years ago. We love animals but the conditions there were unspeakable. Most of the animals were not out because it was near closing time and some zoo guys kept wanting to show us some animals for tips. There were people trying to sell stuff and one woman came toward us and said to me "come here I want to tell you a secret!" I was like "Come on kids!" There are weirdos at every turn! I don't know what she wanted.

It's pretty big and there aren't any clear signs or directions. Lots of empty cages. They have cats and dogs in cages there, you guys. Long haired cats are a rarity here I suppose but not a zoo animal in my mind. There are more stray cats than anything. The cages were small and filthy. It's depressing. The only animals that We felt looked ok and actually got to see were these below.

Baboons...open the pic in a new window cause they are the same color as their habitat.


These little dessert foxes.


This elephant passed us on his way somewhere all I could say was "there's an elephant right in front of me"


There are some cool looking old trees there though.


So we got shooed out of the zoo half an hour before closing time and got some snacks from a street vendor and walked a bit while the kids finished eating them. Unfortunately the urine soaked floor of the zoo wasn't were this animal behavior ended. We saw a guy pee on the street. It was disgusting. The street is lined with trash and I refuse to throw trash on the ground. Dawood was like "what's the difference?" It's the principle! We kept walking. No trash can in sight. We finally came to the "Faculty of Engineering" I guess it's part of the Uni, and threw our snack wrappers/drink bottles in the dumpster inside.

We decided to spend the rest of the time at the Mall. A nice clean, non smelly place. Thankfully the first cab I hailed stopped. The new white checkered cabs are cleaner and have a working meter so we were so glad to sit for a while till we got to Nasr City. There was traffic but Tahrir has lots of sights to look at from the street vendors to the billboards so it was ok. I even got a pic of the Cairo tower on the way.



So from the dirtiest place in Cairo, to the cleanest, we got to City Stars Mall. I think it's the biggest one in Egypt. It's nice but most stuff is expensive. We had lunch in the food court and walked around looking at shops, people watched. I've never seen so many skinny jeans/ballet flats/carina top hijabi's in in one place.


We saw these tiny turtles for sale at a kiosk and I thought they were so cute. 75LE each. Too rich for my blood but so cute.



The kids thought the fountain was a good photo op.

There are no benches in the mall. The only way you are sitting down is by buying something. We even got scolded for sitting on this little bench-like ledge by the stairs. You're not allowed to lean on the glass railings that goes all around the center of the malls floors either. Later we stopped to get milk shakes at Mcd's just to sit for a while.

We played around in Toys R Us for a bit.


BIG Piglet!


Cute Lemur!


Finally we had dinner at Papa Johns. We were all tired.

I didn't even realize Dawood was making that face till I uploaded the pics!


All in all, a long day but a change of pace. It was really striking to see the big difference between the people at the zoo and the people at the mall. Makes you think about the haves and have nots.

November 4, 2009

To Tell or Not to Tell

I'm always faced with the decision of if I should tell people here my background of growing up in the US or not.

When shopping or at, for example the hairdressers, I avoid it. People tend to think if you came from America you must be rich like on "Za bold and Za beautiful". They'll charge me more, it's not right but it happens. I also have to make sure the kids don't speak English in a cab or a shop for the same reason.

In social settings, when meeting someone new, I'd rather they know. My looks and Arabic can get me by as a born and bred Egyptian for a short convo, but when talking longer people start to notice. I feel like to someone who doesn't know, I'd sound pretty stupid messing up conjugations and tenses. So I'd rather they know than think me a simpleton who can't speak correctly.

Also, I guess I have a slight accent or say words differently even when speaking correct Egyptian dialect, because I always get the "Where are you from? You don't sound Egyptian.". Either way, people here, especially in Hurghada always ask each other where they are from because a lot of people move here from Cairo or other cities. They usually want to know what kind of area you came from, so I usually just give my standard answer: My parent's are from Cairo, but I was born and raised the US and moved here 7 years ago.

It's always a sort of awkward exchange and most of the time people ask if I wore hijab in the US and are surprised to learn that many women do. I always tell them how Muslims in the US don't take Islam for granted as is often the case here. They ask if I met and married my husband there and which of my kids were born there, etc. Some people go on to ask lots of questions about life in America and the people there. A lot of people assume all Americans hate us though but I tell them that there are so many intelligent, open minded people and the bad one's give American's a bad rap, just like bad Arabs give us a bad rap. On the other hand, some don't have any interest and treat me like everyone else, which is fine with me.

The odd thing is that most people still think of me as "coming back" to Egypt. Even though I was born in the United States. They assume America was a strange place for me or that Egypt is my real home. I guess they don't think it through. If they were to move to America after 25 years in Egypt would they feel the same? No, so I use that comparison and it usually makes things clear for most. But there's always some who don't get it.

Meme

I was tagged by the lovely SabiWabi From OyHabibti for this Meme called 5 (Random) Things That I Love.

Well, of course I love my family and friends and above all, Allah. This tag is more like little pleasures, or at least that's how I'll take it.

Easy Peasy. In no particular order:

#1 LOST

There is no television show that I have ever followed with such fervor and dedication. It's that good. The writing is phenomenal. They always have you at the edge of your seat going WHAT THE?!?! The last season is a mere 77 days away and I only know this because I have a countdown on my LOST BLOG!

#2 Magazines

I love 'em. The glossy paper. The smell of the perfume ads. I just love magazines. Even more so now that I can't get them easily. My mom brings some fromt he US when she comes so that's great. Oh, and online magazines will never be the same as the real thing, in your hands/bag.

#3 Hello Kitty

I love this cat! Not this much, but a lot. I'll buy stickers and notebooks with her image cause they make me happy. Can't find real Sanrio here but if it looks real, I'll buy it.

#4 Chocolate

I adore chocolate. Does anyone not? My favorite is dark chocolate with mint. MMmmmm. Lindt makes a good one. I'm an equal opportunity chocolate eater though. I like white Toblerone with the toffee bits and Cadbury dairy milk too!

#5 THE INTERNET!!!

The internet is the best, coolest most wonderful thing invented. It's amazing, really all it provides to us, information, entertainment, socializing. I keep in touch with my family mostly by way of the web. I met all of you fabulous people here too. It's fantastic! Any thought or question that crosses my mind, from...hmm I wonder why people hang shoes from telephone wires to what's my kid got? I can find out within seconds. I Love the internet!