Sunday, December 4, 2011

Together Again

This is part of the family on my husband's side.

I know, I know. I have really neglected my blog since being back in America. There just isn't as many exciting things to post about here in the States as there are in Egypt, but, I just thought I'd post to let you know how life is going here.

We just made it through Christmas and New Years. Hard to believe it is 2012, isn't it? Well, it was our first Christmas in the States in 7 years, and it was the first Christmas in 6 years that all 5 members of our immediate family were all together. It was great! We have kids who have returned to the States from Egypt to finish their schooling, so over the years usually one or two of them have been in the States while we were in Egypt for Christmas. This year, our oldest would have been in Egypt had my husband not flown her back (as a surprise) for me and the whole family for Christmas. My husband, youngest son and I had not seen her for 6 months, but other family members, such as our middle son and extended family had not seen her for a year-and-a-half. I was the first one surprised on the night before Christmas Eve, and it was great to see the faces of all of the family as we showed up to their homes for all of the Christmas celebrations. Needless to say, there were more than a few tears shed.

Our daughter will be in Egypt until sometime in June because she is teaching 6th grade there in the school she attended while there. She will return and finish her University studies where she is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. The sad thing is, we will be going back in July, and this time, we may return as "empty nesters". Our youngest will be a senior in high-school and will probably stay and graduate from the school his two older siblings graduated from. Please pray for our family, as this will probably be a very hard thing for us.

But for now, I am still relishing in the memories of a wonderful Christmas and New Years spent with the whole family and in the fact that I am so wonderfully blessed.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Life in the States (So far)

Attending a special wedding when we first got back to the States. The bride and groom are friends who met in Egypt, and all of the people here are people we know from Egypt who are from the States and actually made the trip to Houston, Texas for the wedding.

Our son (on the far left) with some of his friends from Egypt at the wedding.

It has been a long time since I last updated my blog. I guess the excuse I could use is that we have been really busy just getting settled. It has taken a while to feel like we are finally settled, and sometimes, I still get that "unsettled" feeling.

We have spent the majority of the last 10 years in Egypt, so really, Egypt is where we feel like "home" is. We returned to the States around the 1st of July, and stayed with my in-laws till the 1st of September, when the house we were moving into opened up. We had most of our furniture, but we did have to start searching for bedroom furniture for our bedroom, as well as our son's bedroom. That did not take too long thanks to Craigslist. We found 2 beautiful sets in no time. There were some other small purchases we had to make, but we are mostly settled now.

Our youngest son, who is a junior this year, is doing well and enjoying his new school experience here in the States. He has gone to a small private school in Egypt since the 1st grade. The school he is attending here in the States is small according to people here, but it is quite large to Levi. He is getting to experience lots of new things, such as playing on a school soccer team, being in the school chess club, choir, and worship band. What is kind of funny though, is that one of the things our son is most excited about is that he has a study hall. In all his years in his school in Egypt he has never had a study hall, and he is thoroughly enjoying having that extra time to work on his homework.

Our son participating in Spirit Week at his new school. The picture above is from "Mime Day", and the picture below is from "Nerd Day."

There are other things going on in our lives here and many things we are adjusting to, but more about those things later. I hope to keep my blog updated more as we are getting more settled and adjusting to life while back in the States.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Trip to the Salon

Since being back in the States, I have made a couple of trips to the salon. Once for a slight trim and low-lights, and once for a manicure and pedicure. The prices for things here are much higher than they are in Egypt. I get a cut for about $5.00 there, compared to $18.00 here, and the manicure and pedicure there would cost me around $3.50 (total) compared to $20.00 here. Now, I have to admit I go to a Cosmetology school and have the manicure and pedicure done because I refuse to pay what you would normally pay in a normal salon.

I have gone to the same guy in Egypt for about 8 years. His name is Osama. He is a really nice guy and speaks excellent English. That is one of the reasons I go to him. I speak Arabic pretty well, but my hair is not something I want to be misunderstood on.

This is Osama.

Also, I have become very good friends with some of the women who work there doing manicures, pedicures, etc. It was really nice because a couple of months before we came back to the States, we moved to an apartment that was within walking distance from my salon. This made it nice for me to just be able to pop in on them and visit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Very Dangerous Discovery

In my last post, I mentioned that I miss our favorite coffee place called Costa, in Egypt. I also mentioned that, in Egypt, there is a coffee shop on almost every corner. Well, here in the States, it is that way with ice cream, frozen yogurt and frozen custard places. This can be much more dangerous due to the amount of fat and calories in these items.

Inside "The Orange Leaf"

Well, recently, some good friends took my husband and I out to eat. After dinner, they took us to a place called "The Orange Leaf". This place is AMAZING! It is a frozen yogurt shop, and it works like this:

1st, you get your bowl. They come in two sizes: large and extra-large.

2nd, you walk around the room and get as much and as many flavors of frozen yogurt as you want. The choices of flavors are:

Tart, Vanilla, Chocolate, Honeydew, Green Tea, Kiwi, Strawberry, Mango, Pomegranate, Mint Chocolate, Coffee Lover, Raspberry, Lemon, Orange, Peach, Green Apple, Passion Fruit, Watermelon, Cherry, Dole Pineapple, Blueberry, Peanut Butter, Cheese Cake, Cookies & Cream, White Chocolate, Banana, Coconut, Cake Batter, Red Velvet, Pistachio and Chocolate Raspberry

This picture shows a lady getting ready to choose which kinds of frozen yogurt she wants from the many flavors available.

3rd, you put toppings on top. Again, you can choose as many toppings as you want. The toppings to choose from are:

Kiwi, Pear, Mochi, Pecan, Peach, Honey, Mango, Banana, Granola, Coconut, Nuts, Pineapple, Blueberry, Strawberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Honey Dew, Jelly Bellies, Cranberries, Watermelon, Oreos, Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, Brownie, Gummy Bears, Dark Chocolate, Captain Crunch, Sunflower Seed, Dried Fruits, Graham Cracker, M&M's, Sprinkles, Marshmallows, Butterfinger, Reeses Cups.

A small section of the selection of toppings.

4th, you weigh and pay. Your yogurt is weighed and you pay for the amount you have taken.

And last but not least, enjoy your one-of-a-kind masterpiece you made yourself.

A sample picture of what your "masterpiece" could look like.

Like my title says, this is a very dangerous discovery for me. I love frozen yogurt, but I hope I can resist the temptation to stop at "The Orange Leaf" when I am passing by.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Things I Miss

We have been back in the States for 2 weeks now. Even though it has been such a short time, there are things I miss.

One thing I miss is the wonderful coffee shops in Cairo. When we arrived in Cairo back in 2002, there was really only one place that we found that offered a good variety of coffee choices. Now, there are lots of different places to choose from. The place that has our favorite coffee is a place called "Costa", but there are other places such as Starbucks, Cilantro, Harris Cafe, Beanos, Gloria Jeans, and probably several others I am forgetting.

My favorite choice of coffee from Egypt: Cafe Mocha from Costa.

Another thing I miss is being to get almost anything you need delivered to your home. We especially took advantage of the restaurants that delivered. I think I have mentioned this in a post before, but almost all food places in Egypt deliver. You can order by phone, or there is a wonderful website you can go to and order almost anything there, and it is usually delivered to your home in 30 minutes to an hour.

These are the motorcycles McDonalds uses to deliver with. All restaurants, pharmacies and other places deliver with these types of motorcycles.

A third thing I miss is all the wonderful friends we have made while living in Cairo. Not only has God blessed us with many Egyptian friends, but we have made friends from many countries. We have been blessed beyond measure to have been given the opportunity and pleasure of meeting so many interesting and wonderful people.

This is Samea. Samea works at the hair salon I have been going to for around 8 to 8 1/2 years now. I have known her for most of that. The day I went in to say good-bye, she cried.

And last, but definitely not least, the thing I miss the most is my daughter. Our daughter came back to Cairo to live with us last year. She taught some classes at the school our son attends, and when we decided to come back to the States (this time for a year), she decided to stay and teach for another year. It was such a blessing to have her back with us after being away from her for 4 years. Now the tables have turned though, and we are in the States and she is on the other side of the world. It feels different knowing she is there without us, but we do not worry about her much. Remember those friends I talked about earlier? Well, there are enough of them there that I know she will be well taken care of, and besides that, I know God is there with her and watching over her.

Our daughter with some of her students. She is such a good teacher, and she loves her students so much. I'm so proud of her.

I'm sure in the months to come there will be many more things I will start missing about Cairo: this place that has been our home for the past 9 1/2 years, but for now, I'm going to try to enjoy the things I have missed from the States. I'll be posting on those things in the days to come.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Settling In

Well, we have been back to the States for a week-and-a-half. We literally hit the ground running and have not slowed down. There are so many things to do to try to settle in for a whole year. Usually when we are here, we are only here for a couple of months so we stay with my in-laws, but I really doubt they want us hanging around and living with them for a whole year.

We have kept very busy during the time we have been here. That is why I have not been able to post much lately. We have been to a family reunion, bought a car, bought cell phones and gotten service, celebrated Independence Day with family, went to Silver Dollar City (an old-fashioned theme park in Branson, Mo.), and, as I mentioned in my last post, been looking for a home to either rent or buy. We actually decided on renting, and today found a house to rent. We are both happy with the house we found. It is very close to the school our son will be attending, plus, it is only a stone's throw away from Wal-Mart: LITERALLY! When we look out our back door we can see Wal-Mart. Of course, this is the part that made me happy. The house will not be ready to move into for 2 more weeks, but that is ok. I think my in-laws may be able to put up with us for that long.

Sorry there have been no pictures for the last two posts. Hope to get some soon though.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Greetings from The Other Side

Just wanted to pop in and say hello. I have not been able to post in several days. The reason is that we have recently returned to the States. The flight, even though it was long, was pretty uneventful. We had an 11 hour layover in Jordan, but we were given a hotel room to spend most of the night in. I think that helped us stay more rested up than spending the night in the airport.

This is our 4th day in the States, and it seems like we hit the ground running, and have not slowed down since. We are staying with my in-laws, but we are trying to decide what to do about a place to live, since we are back for a year this time. We looked at a lovely apartment which is within walking distance from the school Levi might be attending. We have also been looking for a house (it has to be fairly cheap) to buy. Please keep us in your prayers on this matter.

It has been great to be able to see family, especially our son, who lives here in the States with his grandparents.

Hopefully when things settle down a bit I will be able to get back into blogging mode and keep you all up to date about what we miss from Egypt and about our re integrating back to this culture.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

McArabias and Mango Sundaes

We all know that different cultures of the world have different foods, but I think one fast food place is becoming very common among most cultures, and that is McDonalds. When we first moved here, I know there were McDonalds restaurants here, but I was really surprised to see how many there were. They are everywhere. Just in the suburb we now live in, I can think of 5.

One of the nice things about living in Egypt is that we can order McDonalds. We can call on the phone, or we can even order on-line. We have just started using the on-line site lately, and it is something I am going to miss. Actually, you can order from any restaurant by phone, and the on-line site has a large variety of restaurants to order from.

Another thing that is neat about McDonalds here is that sometimes they have choices of food that are culturally adapted. By that, I mean that they have items on the menu that you might not see in other parts of the world. Above are some pictures of some of the different foods that are offered here in Egypt. I have tried the McArabia (grilled Kofta) and I have recently discovered the Mango Sundae. The McArabia was very good, but it is a huge sandwich; almost too much for me to eat. And the Mango Sundae: I think I am addicted. I love them. It is too bad we are getting ready to leave Egypt for a while. I will really miss them.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Parking Frustrations

Two different views of the tight parking space we found in front of our apartment. Some of you may say you have parked in tighter places, but for me, this was an accomplishment.

I have posted this picture before, but this is a picture of our very narrow street.

One thing that can be very frustrating here in Cairo is finding a parking spot for your car. When we lived in El Rehab this wasn't as much of a problem because we actually had wide, open parking areas in front of the building, and the area was not as populated. But in most places in Cairo, you only have the streets in front of your apartment. Most areas are very populated and as time goes by,there are more and more cars on the streets.

If you are lucky, you can find a parking spot fairly close to your apartment, but more than half the time, we have to park a fair walking distance from ours. Then, when you do find one, sometimes it is very hard to get into. Either the space is very small, or the streets are so narrow it is almost impossible to parallel park.

I believe I have gotten better at parallel parking. In the States, it is not a skill you have to use that often, at least not where I am from. Almost every where we go has wide open parking lots, and all you have to do is pull straight into a space.

Yesterday my skills were put to the test as we rounded the corner to our apartment and there was a small space directly in front. Now to make things worse, it was on the right side of the road. (You can parallel park on either side of the road here.) I am much better at parking on the left side because I can see the curb and judge it better. Also, my husband was in the car with me, which makes me even more nervous when parking. (Don't really know why.) But anyway, I was surprised when I didn't have too much trouble getting our car into the small space that we found.

Later in the day we weren't as lucky. We left and came back, and to our frustration had to park a fairly good walking distance from our apartment. But a little walking never hurts anyone I guess.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cleaning Up Egypt

My son Levi out helping to clean the streets.

A picture of Levi and some of his friends that spent the day cleaning the streets. Does it look like Levi is cleaning to you?

A picture I posted before of some youth, cleaning up the streets of Cairo.

A man, that is employed by the government to clean the streets of Egypt. This particular man was cleaning the street I live on.

Ever since the revolution, there have been people who have been trying to "clean up" Egypt. There is not a "no littering" law here, and people are used to just throwing their trash on the ground. The youth of Egypt have especially taken an interest in trying to change this. It was not uncommon, right after the revolution, to see large groups of teens and children out cleaning and painting. (The "painting" is a topic for a future blog.)

But, before the revolution and now, it has always been the job of men, like the one above, to "clean up". It isn't easy to keep the streets here clean, especially in Cairo, where there are so many people. While I still have a hard time dealing with seeing people litter, I have to admit, at least it gives some people here the opportunity to work.

I just happened to be walking down our street the other day and saw the man above cleaning up our street. I asked if I could take a picture, and he was happy to oblige.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another View of Egypt

It was such a blessing to be able to look out our window and see "The Nile River of Egypt" any time we wanted to.

This is a park, and the view of the street below.

This was the view out of our boys' room. The city just seems to go on forever.

The beautiful window. We had these curtains custom made.

When I changed my header photo, it brought back lots of good memories, and I thought I would share.

This was actually a picture taken from one of the apartments we have lived in here in Egypt. After being here for a year and a half, we decided to move to an area called Shubra. We have many friends in this area, and the Baptist church we attend here is also in this area. When we decided to move there, we had friends that did not want us to because this is an area where there are not very many foreigners, but a good friend found us an apartment that was on the Nile, and it just happened to be in the same building as his parents (so he and they could keep an eye on us).

This apartment was on the 18th floor. Now, I have to admit, I was not crazy about that. Egypt is known to have earthquakes, and I was a little nervous about that. But, we rented the flat anyway, and it ended up being a very good experience.

I loved the view out of our beautiful, huge living room window. It was wonderful to be able to look out our window and see the Nile River of Egypt. I have to admit it blew my mind more than once. And some of the sunsets God allowed us to enjoy are still imprinted in my mind.

We only stayed in this apartment for a year because after a while we decided it would probably be better for our kids to move back to an area of Cairo where the people were used to seeing foreigners. Our kids were getting to an age where they could get out a little more on their own, and this was not a good idea in this area.

I am very thankful for the year we spent so close to the Nile though, but better yet was the year spent so close to the wonderful friends God has given us in that area.

Hope you enjoy the pics.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Praying for a Very Dear Friend

I don't know all of the specifics, but I have a very dear friend here in Egypt who needs a lot of prayers right now. All of us here know her as Miss Mary. Miss Mary has been with our school since it began 17 years ago.

Miss Mary is from Sudan. She is one of the nicest and sweetest ladies you could ever know. She is kind of an assistant to the teachers, helping us out in various ways, and she also helps to run the library at our school. Not too long ago, it looked like things were settling down in Sudan, and it looked like South Sudan was going to be able to separate from the North and become independent. Because of this, Miss Mary was thinking about returning to Sudan to be with her family.

Miss Mary accompanied the Arabic teacher and me on a field trip to the vegetable and fruit market with the Kindergarteners.

Not a lot has been in the news about the situation there lately, but the violence has once again escalated, and it seems this times things are even worse than before. This is the exact message I got from a colleague from our school last night.

"Mrs. Mary's home area in Nuba Mountains, the border of Abyei, has erupted in extreme fighting and violence. The news from home is very bad. Her cousin, who is in the army, fighting against Northern Sudan died today. Her family and friends are no longer living in their homes. They are in the mountains, hiding in caves. People are very afraid that the North will use their air-force to destroy their area. She is on Skype with people giving her the latest news. Please pray for Mary and her family."

If you have been reading my blog long enough, you may remember that my husband used to be the head of a Sudanese school board here. The people on this school board help to keep this school running for the kids that otherwise would not be able to receive an education. I know that there are many of these Sudanese kids and families that probably have family in the area where the violence is taking place. In fact, the man who started this particular Sudanese school went back to Sudan a couple of years ago to start a school in his village, which just happens to be in the Nuba Mountains. His wife and kids have been here in Cairo, and had been planning on joining him this summer, but now, due to the violence, their plans have changed.

This is my husband with the man that started the Sudanese school here 11 years ago.

Another teacher at our school told me today that she had been upset and angry about some things that had been going on in her life lately. Then, she received the email about Miss Mary's situation. She said it really put things in perspective for her. She said it was very hard to imagine what it would be like, thinking that your family was having to hide out in caves for fear of their lives.

So, tonight, before you go to bed. Please say a prayer for Miss Mary and the other Sudanese people who are suffering and going through so much. Then take time to thank God, for the many blessings in your own life. I know I will.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Blooms of a Different Color

Just happened to be driving around today and saw this tree with some blooms of a different color. I don't quite know what you would call this color, but it is one of the colors that is more prominent in early spring. During that time, this tree was probably filled with blooms of this color. Just thought you might enjoy imagining what that might have looked like.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Colors of Egypt

Normally, there is not a lot of color here in Egypt. Because of all of the sand, and the buildings, most everything here is different variations of the color beige. I have been surprised though at how much "green" there is. Egyptians take pride in their park areas, and they are always watering, tending, and sculpting them.

In the States, my favorite season is Fall. I love the way the weather starts to cool, after a hot, humid summer. I love the smells associated with Fall, such as cinnamon, apple cider, and warm pumpkin pies. But my favorite thing about the Fall is the lovely colors the trees turn this time of the year. Well, in Egypt, we don't have much of any of these things in the Fall. It does not cool down much from the summer, if we have the smells, it is only because I, or other foreigners are baking (around Thanksgiving), and the trees do not turn different colors, at least in the fall.

When in Egypt, my favorite season is spring. There are many beautiful colors that come out in the spring, and believe it or not, many of these colors are in the trees. Now, the leaves do not turn colors, or anything like that, but the trees have many different colors of flowers that bloom in them. Now I have to admit, at this point, that I am a little late on catching some of the colors. We have some trees that bloom with lavender and a deep reddish maroon color that I missed getting a picture of, but I did happen to catch a couple of trees with blooms of a bright orange, and one with yellow.

Hope you like the pictures above. I will try to get some more pictures of the colorful trees and bushes and post them soon.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Saying Good-Bye is Never Easy

This is a Brazilian couple whom we have gotten to be very close to. They are leaving today, to go back to Brazil for the summer.

This is an Iraqi family who came here 4-5 years ago. I have gotten very close to the ladies of this family. (In particular the little one I am holding.) They are relocating and will not be returning to Egypt.

This young man has been a friend of both of my sons and my husband's student for the last 6 years. He is graduating and going on to University in the States.

This is one of my very special KG-2 students. She is Brazilian (the daughter of the Brazilian couple above).

This time of the year is always a time of many emotions. The end of the school year is quickly approaching, so there is excitement, joy, and happiness. Also, though, there is sadness, because the end of the school year, and the approach of summer, means having to say good-bye.

As a person living on a foreign field, there are always people coming in and out of your life. This is something that can be particularly hard on your kids. I know my kids have personally experienced this way more than they would have liked. Every end of the school year means there are probably friends who are leaving for the summer, for a year, or maybe even forever.

Our kids are not the only ones who have experienced this though. We have been very fortunate to have our kids in a wonderful American school. Through this experience, we have met some wonderful people from all over the world, and as I said before, each year we have to say good-bye to some.

Yesterday, we saw some of our friends that are leaving Egypt: some for just a short time, but some forever. Yes, this can be a very hard thing to do, year after year, but then again, I thank God for bringing all of these people into my life, even if it is for just a short time. I have been so richly blessed with friendships that will last forever.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Change of Scenery

The previous view from our balcony.

The narrow street on which we now live.

This is the view of our new apartment from the outside.

Sorry it has been a while since I last posted. There are so many things going on here and it is hard to get the time to post. We just recently moved, and we are still living out of boxes, and it is the end of the school year. So many things go on at this time, and it is very easy to get a little overwhelmed. Also, I like to supply my readers with pictures, and it has been hard to find the time to just get out and take pictures.

In about a month, we will be heading to the States to stay for a year. We have some issues going on that we feel would be better taken care of by doing that at this time. Some of my immediate family is experiencing health problems, our youngest son will be going back to complete his final two years of high-school, etc. So, I want to do a few blogs before we leave. It should be easy to get in several. The area we live in now is much more accessible to different aspects of daily life in Egypt.

This is the first blog pertaining to those things. I wanted to post some pictures just to give you an idea of the difference in scenery. In our last apartment, we were in an area where there were a lot of wide, open spaces. The view out of our window was of large, grassy places where kids gathered to play, but the area we now live in is nothing like that. As you can see from the pictures above, the street we now live on is very narrow, and the apartment buildings are very close to one another. Because of this, there is more noise. It is very usual here to hear people in building next door to you, just having a normal conversation. It gets very interesting though, when the neighbors have an argument. I have heard one or two since moving to the new place, but last night we heard a good one. People were yelling, screaming, slamming doors, etc. For the most part, we just go on with our lives and stay out of their business. In the States, we would have been calling the police because of a domestic disturbance. The people here are a very passionate and expressive people, and we know there is nothing we can do anyway.

Another noise that is heard here more than at our old apartment is the cats that live on the streets. This is even made louder by the fact that we now live on the ground floor. We have one cat that pretty much "lives" on our balcony. I think she has been tamed by someone before because she is always trying to come in the house, and one day while I was out on the balcony, she was rubbing up against my legs. Now this can be a problem in several ways. First of all, we do not want her to come in because that might draw more cats into the house who are not so tamed. And, second of all, our daughter Kaily is allergic to cats. (I'll try to post some pictures of some of the cats at a later date.)

One more noise I'll mention in this post, is the sound of the street vendors who walk up and down the street trying to sell things. The most common one we hear is the man who sells the local bread. He walks down the street yelling "aieeeeesh" (pronounced with a long "i" sound at the beginning). We have many other types of vendors that do this, and one day, I will post a blog about them too.

It is very different, after being in Elrehab for 3 years, but it is like being with a long lost friend who you haven't seen in a while. I did not realize how much I had missed being away from the things I had gotten used to in our first few years here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are The Streets Safe Yet?

When in the States, we are always asked if we feel safe when we are in Egypt. We have always answered "yes". In fact, there are certain aspects of life that we have felt safer with here in Egypt than we did in the States. One of those is that we felt that our children were safer on the streets here. In the States, there is always the thought in your mind that your child might be taken, or snatched away if they are out by themselves. But here in Egypt, the streets are always full of people, and those people always seem to watch out for each other. If someone is hurt, people come running to help.

Before the revolution, Egypt was seen as a country with a pretty low crime rate. People were fairly scared of being caught by the police because being in custody or in prison here is not quite the "pleasant" experience it can be in the States. During the revolution though, the police just disappeared off of the streets, and things became quite chaotic. If you saw any scenes from the revolution, you would know why. But lately, the police are once again making their presence known. I believe they are still a little gun-shy (as we say in the States) because the happenings of the revolution are still fresh in their minds. But I also believe the police are trying harder. I have seen places they are posted, and they are trying to help traffic maintain order, and they are trying to stop people from doing things that are supposed to be illegal or could endanger others.

The depressing part of this situation though, is the fact that there are still people out there who want to do things "their way", regardless of the fact that it is illegal and dangerous. I have been sitting at traffic lights, where the police will stop traffic so the traffic crossing in front of them can go, and there will be people either totally ignore the police or stop and sit there, blaring their horn or yelling at the police officer until they are able to go.

My husband found the following short article on-line. It is from a magazine here called "almasry alyoum", which I believe means "The Egypt Daily". (Any of my Egyptian friends can correct me on this if I am wrong.) After the article is a comment left by an Egyptian woman which sums up how I feel.

Police Officers Attacked in Three Governates

Police officers on Thursday were attacked in three Egyptian governates.

In Cairo, people stormed the Muski police station downtown, beat an officer, and broke his arm for having confiscated an expired driver’s license that belonged to one of them.

In Giza, a taxi driver tried to stab a police officer who tried to stop him from driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street. Another taxi driver assaulted an officer who was inspecting his license.

In Arish, two police officers were shot at while chasing thieves who were trying to steal cars.

Please people use common sense. Let the police do their honest work. Break his arm because he took a license from someone who was not supposed to be on the road endangering other people's lives?? You've got to be kidding me! I only hope the creeps who did this are punished. You want a honest police department? Then be honest yourselves. They have a lot to prove to themselves and to you but things will never change with things like this going on. Let them prove themselves. To read things like this and the other treatments of the police doing their honest work makes me sick to my stomach to think that people can act this way. I guess those same people want the police to protect them if someone is beating or robbing them?

It kind of reminds me of what the Bible says in Judges 17:6

In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

I'd like to put this challenge out there for all of my friends here in Egypt. Take this woman's advice. Start showing the police here respect, and start encouraging others around you to do the same. I know I have some great friends here in Egypt who want their country to become something better, and I challenge you to do what you know is right, "in your own heart".

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sectarian Clashes Again in Egypt

More violence in the streets of Egypt: this time over religious issues.

The church burning and firefighters trying to put out the fire.

The Egyptian military standing guard in front of the burned out church. Tim and I actually attended a wedding in this church.

Coptic Christians inside of the burned church.

The following article is from "The New York Times". It is about the current clashes going on between Muslims and Coptic Christians. It is a little long, but worth the read.


I like this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.

CAIRO — Muslims and Coptic Christians clashed with bullets, rocks and Molotov cocktails here for the second time in seven days on Saturday night, sending at least 55 people to the hospital, officials with Egypt’s Interior Ministry said.

The officials said that at least 33 of the wounded were Muslims, 22 were Christians and that 28 were arrested for playing a role in the strife.

Fears of such sectarian violence have kept Cairo on edge since a nightlong battle between mobs of Muslims and Coptic Christians in the working-class neighborhood of Imbaba a week ago left at least a dozen dead and two churches in flames. (Egyptian state news media said Sunday that the death toll had risen to 15.)

On Sunday, hundreds of Copts angry at the failure of the Egyptian police and armed forces to protect their churches more effectively held a sit-in outside the state television building, known as Maspero.

The clashes on Saturday began about 10 p.m., officials of the Interior Ministry said. Witnesses and officials said a small group of Muslims had fired shots at the sit-in. Soon groups of young men from each faith were battling each other for hours with rocks, sticks and Molotov cocktails.

In the aftermath of the bloodshed, Pope Shenouda III, the leader of Egypt’s Coptic Christian church, urged an end to the sit-in on Sunday, Egyptian state news media reported. “To our children who are protesting in front of Maspero, the protest is now no longer about expressing your opinion and has been infiltrated by those who use different means than the ones you use,” the pope said in a statement, according to the Web site of the state newspaper Al Ahram. “Now there is fighting and hitting, and that negatively affects Egypt’s reputation as well as your reputation. Therefore, you have to immediately end the protest.”

The paper’s Web site said that he added: “The patience of the rulers is starting to end, and you will be the losers if you continue in the protest.”

But thousands of Copts ignored their patriarch’s admonition and continued to rally into Sunday night. “With our blood, with our soul, we sacrifice for the cross,” they chanted.

Tensions between Muslims and Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of the population here, have risen steadily since the sweeping vows of unity during the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak three months ago. Copts say they have felt increasingly embattled since clashes just south of Cairo left a church burning last month.

The battle on the night of May 7 in the neighborhood of Imbaba began with a dispute over a woman. Neighborhood Muslims were convinced that Christians were holding her in a church against her will to talk her out of converting to Islam and leaving her Christian husband for a Muslim man — a recurring theme in sectarian disputes here, where a combination of custom and law make it easier for Muslims than Christians to divorce.

With memories of last month’s church fire still fresh, about 500 Copts rallied to defend their church — some with firearms — even before more than two dozen Muslims had approached it. Casualties were roughly even on both sides.

The anger among the Copts had run so high that many continued to protest at their sit-in on Friday, even as thousands of other Egyptians held a rally for Muslim and Christian unity in Tahrir Square.

In addition to sectarian violence, general crime has jumped in Cairo since the revolution as the military council running the country has struggled to rebuild the police force. Many police officers, who were a primary target of the revolution because of their past abusive practices, deserted the force or have returned timidly. Some leaders of the protests that brought down the old government suspect a counterrevolutionary conspiracy to stir up lawlessness.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Third Culture Kids

Levi helping steer a falukah (Egyptian sailboat) on the Nile.

One of the magnificent touristic sites we saw while on the Nile Cruise. If you look carefully, you can see Tim standing at the bottom. This shows how big these statues are.

Dillon and Levi at the Great Pyramid of Egypt.

Levi's school playing soccer or "football" against a Sudanese school here in Egypt.

Anyone who has lived abroad, or knows someone who lives abroad and has kids has probably heard the term "third culture kids." I like the definition found in Wikipedia: A third culture kid (TCK) is "someone who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture."

It is very interesting to raise kids in a culture other than the one you were raised in. I often find myself "feeling sorry" for my kids because I think they are not getting to experience the "normal" things I experienced growing up. But, when I think about it, they are the lucky ones.

My kids, and other "third culture kids" here have gotten to experience things others only dream of experiencing. My kids have seen the PYRAMIDS of Egypt! They have gotten to see the King Tut Exhibition in the Cairo Museum, along with many other artifacts. They have ridden in a falukah (Egyptian sailboat) on the Nile, and have even taken a cruise on the Nile, where we visited many Egyptian historical sites, including the "Valley of the Kings."

We are getting ready to pack up and go back to the U.S. for a year. There are several reasons for this year-long visit, but that is not the focus of this post. Our youngest son Levi has lived 9 of his 16 years of life here in Egypt. He is probably more "Egyptian" than any of us. I know he is a little worried about making the transition to a "new" culture. I am praying that things will be easy for him, and that he will transition well. He will be a junior in high-school next year; not an easy age to change schools, make new friends, etc. But Levi is a very outgoing, special young man. I know he will be okay. Please pray for him, and pray for us as parents to have wisdom over this next year. Only God knows the plans He has for Levi, and knowing Levi, they will be something special.