Thursday, January 27, 2011

Unrest in Egypt

Just a few of the images I found on the internet of the demonstrations. The particular site I found these on is "". You can go here for more dramatic pictures.

Well, if any of you have been watching the news, you know what is going on here in Egypt, and in the Middle East. My husband has been predicting this would happen for a long time. Food prices are so outrageous, so many people can not find jobs, and wages are just unrealistically low. Can't say I blame the people here for the demonstrations. We cancelled school last Tuesday because it was known people were supposed to start protesting, but our principal had us come to school on Wednesday. We ended up sending everyone home early because the protests started again. Home again today (Thursday) because we just don't know what's going to happen. Friends of ours have said these demonstrations could go on for weeks. We'll see. For now, we are in a pretty quiet area. No demonstrations have taken place close to us. Just pray that everything will turn out for the best, and who really knows what that will be. Even if they topple the current government, things could get worse instead of better. So, for now, we are just trusting God for the outcome.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Learning Arabic Part 2

Two more examples of how the Arabic language can be used beautifully. I believe the top one says "I love Cairo", and the bottom one is the Lord's prayer again, and an example of how Arabic can be beautifully used.

Ok, so a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about learning Arabic. I talked about how hard it was to learn. Just thought I would write another one and show a few things that makes it different and harder than English.

First of all, not being exposed to a second language while growing up, you can imagine how surprised I was to find out that there are languages out there with words that have gender. In Arabic, words are either male or female. The way you can tell is there is an extra letter on the end of the feminine words. For example, the word for cat is "ota", with a long "o" sound. That "a" sound on the end is the clue that the word is feminine. The word for dog is "kelb", and since there is no "a" sound at the end, it is masculine. One thing that was so confusing to me at first, was I could not understand why there was not an Arabic word for the word "it". I started to understand later when I found out that things are referred to as either "he" or "she" instead of "it".

Another thing I found strange about Arabic is that words can be put together to make one long word. For example, if I were to say the sentence "I don't like her." (her referring to an object that is feminine), word by word the sentence would be "ana mish bahibha", but this can all be put into one word "mabahibhash". Learning how to say the negative form of past and present verbs is very difficult because this is the procedure used.

Now, even though there are strange things about the language, and even though it is so difficult to learn, it has been one of the greatest experiences and challenges of my life. Like I said in Part 1 of "Learning Arabic" I don't believe I will ever be totally fluent. I am happy to be able to communicate as well as I do, but given the chance, I would definately take more lessons.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sorry for the delay!

I am sorry it has been a while since my last post. I really want to get back in the groove of posting every few days, but as you might guess, school started again. I am probably going to be taking a break from teaching here in about a week and a half, so hopefully I will be able to blog more. So, please be patient with me while I finish working. Just thought though, that I would post a couple pictures of me and my class. The little Sudanese boy in the front is not with us anymore, so we are down to four. One of the girls is Egyptian, and one is Brazilian. One of the boys is half Egyptian, half American, and the other is half Egyptian, half Phillipino. It has been fun teaching this group, but I am so ready to be a full-time housewife again, and my family is ready for it too.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Learning Arabic: Part 1

The area across of North Africa and the Middle East where Arabic is spoken.
The Arabic Alphabet
The Arabic language in written form. This is "The Lord's Prayer".
I have always heard that the younger you are when you start learning a language, the easier it is to learn. When we arrived in Egypt, I was 36 years old. Now, that is a little old to start learning a new language. None the less, I was excited, and I jumped right in and started taking lessons. Over the years, we have taken lessons a couple of different ways. We started out at a language institute, which was a "school" like setting. Then, we found an Arabic teacher and took private lessons for a while.

The Arabic language is a very difficult language to learn, and the majority of Egyptians I talk to would agree that Arabic is more difficult than English. One of the reasons Arabic is so difficult is because there are 3 different types of Arabic to learn. There is the spoken Arabic, the Classical Arabic, referred to as "fusha" (pronounced: foos-ha), and then there is the Modern Standard Arabic which is based on the Classical Arabic. The majority of our lessons have been in the spoken Arabic, and very little in the Modern Standard. Classical Arabic is the language found in the Qur'an. Modern Standard Arabic, based on the Classical Arabic, is used in most current, printed Arabic publications, and is spoken by the Arabic Media across North Africa and the Middle East.

To me, it has been an enjoyable experience learning Arabic. One of the things that I have particularly enjoyed is learning to write in Arabic. When writing Arabic, it goes from the right to the left, instead of left to right as English does. In my opinion, written Arabic can be beautiful. I will share in a later post how Arabic writers use the Arabic language in some very beautiful ways.

I do fairly well in speaking Arabic, and can hold pretty good conversations with most Egyptian people, but I do not think I would be fluent in the language, even if I took lessons for 40 years.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Struggles with Cooking

Bread, bought very easily off of the streets of Cairo.
An Egyptian food called "Kushary". This dish is popular because it can be bought, already made, or make it in your home very cheaply.

Some of the beautifully displayed vegetables that can be bought very cheaply here in Egypt.
The McDonalds' motorcycles used to deliver food to homes.
Ok, I am not one to make New Years' resolutions, but this year, I am going to work on making cooking fun and creative. I love to crochet, paint, etc., and make things, but I have never absolutely LOVED to cook. Since moving to Cairo, that "Love" has dwindled even more. So, I am going to try to combine the love I have for creating with my cooking, and see what happens. There are several reasons why I don't enjoy cooking here in Cairo.

One of the biggest reasons I do not like to cook while living here is because of the weather. Most of the year it is so hot here that even the thought of stepping into the kitchen and cooking something makes me nautious. The apartments here do not have central heat and air. If you want air conditioning, you have to have wall units in each room, and even then, people do not usually put them in the kitchen.

Another reason I do not enjoy cooking in Cairo is because the kitchens are usually very small and closed off from the rest of the apartment. I love big, open kitchens. You know, the kind where you can be cooking and at the same time be visiting with others, or maybe even watching something on TV. I am a bit clausterphobic, and I just hate to be stuck in a small, hot place where there is not enough room for others to be there too.

Then, there's the whole "we don't have that here" problem, or the thing that is very cheap to buy in the States, but is outrageously expensive here. I do have to say, I've been here long enough I've pretty much worked through this one, but there are still things I miss. One thing that I just found the other day for the first time in two years is canned pumpkin. We didn't get to have pumpkin pie for the last two Thanksgivings and Christmases. But we are going to have pumpkin pie here really soon.

Speaking of expensive, meat is extremely expensive here. We just bought 2 lbs of ground beef the other day and it cost us 70 Egyptian pounds. That comes out to equal around $6.00 per lb. Chicken and other meats are expensive too.

A really nice thing about Egypt though is that fruits and vegetables are really, really cheap. At the vegetable market the other day I bought a head of lettuce, 1/2 lb. onions, 1/2 lb. cucumbers, and 1/2 lb. of carrots for around $2.00.

One last reason I don't like to cook here is that it is just too easy to order food by phone. ALL restaurants and fast-food places deliver to your home. How cool is that? Just pick up the phone and you can have your order from McDonals in your home in about 30 minutes. Like I said before, it is ALL restaurants, and fast-food places. If we ever move back to the States, this will be one thing I really miss.

So, wish me luck. You may just see a recipe or two on a post here in the near future.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Sad Beginning to 2011

I wanted to do a post on this a couple of days ago, but I didn't feel like it was a good way to "restart" my blog, or a good way to start off a new year. But I feel a "nagging" in my heart to go ahead and do this.

I know some of my readers already know about the awful event that took place here in Alexandria, Egypt on New Year's Eve, but there are probably some of you out there who don't. On New Year's Eve, a car bomb exploded outside of a church there. The last I heard there had been reported around 21 deaths, and many, many injuries. As I said in my title, this is such a sad way to begin 2011. My heart and my prayers go out to those who lost loved ones.

I do not know if the authorities know who was responsible for this horrible act, but I was encouraged when my husband showed me a video of Christians and Muslims alike protesting what had happened.

I'm not going to post any pictures. It is a sad enough event, and some of you may not want to see any, but if you would like to, I'm sure you can find the news articles on the internet.

I just wanted to post this in honor of all of those who lost their lives for the sake of their religion, and also to ask for everyone's prayers for their family members.

A friend on Facebook posted a picture of a young girl, only a couple of years older than my own daughter. Her last status on FB, before she went to that New Year's Eve Church service said something like "Jesus, I want to walk with you closer than ever in 2011", and I am sure she is.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year: A New Beginning

I have been waiting on the perfect time to start up my blog again, and what a more perfect time than the beginning of a new year. One of my resolutions for 2011 is to start blogging again. It has been difficult to find the time, due to my work schedule, but I am hoping here in a few weeks to be a full-time housewife again. More on that in later posts. I thought for my first blog of the year I would just post some beautiful pictures of Egypt and let you see the vast differences in this great and ancient land. Hope you enjoy them, and hope to see you around this next year.

One of the most famous tourist sites the "Citadel" with the city in the background.
A beautiful Nubian house in upper Egypt, which is actually Southern Egypt.
Though barren, the mountains of Sinai are beautiful during sunrise.
And, of course, the most famous and well-known destination of tourists here in Egypt, the Pyramids.