Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Photos from our trip to Alexandria

Driving to Alexandria

It was so hot even this truck had to wear a sombrero to keep the sun off its body.

A different kind of camel ride. . .

along with a different kind of horseback ride.

Mira at the sea getting her feet wet.

Mira is ready to take the plunge!

The view from Aunt Fawzayya's chalet.

The a view of the Mediterranean in Alexandria.

The ultimate view of the Mediterranean overlooking the Corniche. Yes, for only 400,000 LE this brand new flat -- it's huge, can be all yours. (We think the view is worth it alone.)

Hassan and me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Our Trip to Alexandria and the North Coast

We recently got back from a week in Alexandria and the North Coast of Egypt. To say that this part of Egypt is beautiful is an understatement. I love this part of Egypt, partly because of the air which is fresh, but mostly because of the Mediterranean. I have never seen such beautiful colors of blue in all my life -- the Mediterranean takes my breath away each and everytime I visit Alexandria. It is very tempting to live there but I keep telling Hassan how much he would miss his friends in Cairo. He agrees.

We stayed with Hassan's Aunt Fawzayya who is elderly and who owns a chalet on the beach. It is lovely and yes I keep kicking myself that we didn't buy that chalet because I PASSED IT UP. It's my fault but I believe there is something better out there for us (I have to believe this because my butt is red from kicking it).

Although we were only at the beach one day, we were in the sun all the time and made several trips to Alexandria; driving along the Corniche or visiting with Hassan's mother's side of the family, who by the way are very down to earth and fun to be with -- Mira just loves them to death.

Our food contained a lot of salt and I cannot remember being this bloated except for Mira's birth where I was walking around on balloon feet; yes, we were bloated in Alexandria and it got to a point where we had to leave because we were feeling too uncomfortable. We had the best fish several times, lots of batik (watermelon) and fruit that tasted sweeter than candy. You would swear the tomatoes we ate were picked out of our own garden and at 50 piasters a kilo we ate a lot of them.

The teen (figs) were just coming into season so we didn't buy any; so we will wait and perhaps I will make a special trip back to Alex just to pick up the fresh teen which I can eat til I get sick and then eat them again.

In visiting Hassan's aunt (his mother's sister) Mira had a chance to play with her cousins, Mostafa and Keemo (they are paternal twins) who are 13. They took special care of Mira and all children, as do most Egyptians. I didn't know that Mira remembered any Arabic because she hasn't been speaking it without Hassan being here, but she certainly knows when to whip it out and use it. Alhamdulillah.



Friday, June 15, 2007

Mira's small success

What seems like a small success usually isn't one at all. Mira would not sleep over at Jasmine's for whatever reason, no matter how hard I tried. Even Sara - for some reason she wouldn't sleep over. I didn't push it, just made her feel comfortable knowing that if she wanted to come home at any time, she was to call me and I'd be there to pick her up - no matter what time of the night.

Mira has a friend at school named Gretelin. Gretelin is from Estonia and is a wonderful, smart, bright, girl in Mira's class. Gretelin invited Mira over to her house after school yesterday. Mira went and said "Mom, I might spend the night." She said it with such energy, it was as though she was just charged.

I said fine because I know Gretelin's mother, she was a teacher in our school. Mira calls last night and said "I want to sleep over. OK?" I told her that she could but needed to be sure to let me know if she wanted to come home.

Well -- IT HAPPENED!! Mira actually spent the night away without me for the first time in her life. I'm so happy for her and quite relieved.

In the meantime Hassan drove to Alexandria last night with Aunt Fawzayya and is waiting for us to arrive today. What I was hoping for was some quiet time with Hassan, but what I got instead was some quiet time alone. That's ok - I'll take it - the small successes are often the most gratifying.



Saturday, June 09, 2007

Hassan & Mira are in Alexandria

Hassan took Mira to Alexandria to visit his sister and her family. He's not close with her, but she and her husband have a daughter, Passant, who is about 1 1/2 years older than Mira. They left Thursday and are expected home today.

Because Hassan's parents divorced when he was very young, his mother raised his sister, and his father raised him. This is where the relationship ended. Over the years Hassan was not close with his mother or his sister, and you can tell if you were to see them together.

Hassan had everything -- a very good education, which launched him (no pun intended) into his successful career as a satellite engineer. His sister on the other hand did not get a good education and has not had the life Hassan has had. It is very sad, but quite obvious. It is now time for Hassan to give back to his sister what she did not receive growing up; if not for her, for her daughter who will repeat her parents' steps unless someone -- that being Hassan, steps in to show her life's possibilities are endless.

Insha'Allah Hassan will return with Passant and Mira and she will stay with us for about a week. I don't know what the future holds for her because her parents are both chronically ill and cannot afford to give her what Hassan and I can give Mira, but we are here for them to give them what money cannot give -- a loving family and an environment which every child deserves.