Friday, November 5, 2010

Bees and kittens and things

Here's some pictures of things we've been up to:

For those of you who felt you didn't get a full impression of emmett's bee costume, he helpfully decided to wear it again a few mornings later.

Thomas and old CAC pal Juan at the Halloween carnival.


Egypt the cat had kittens! We've named them Violet, Mouse and Charlotte.

On weekends we let Thomas ride his bike around the neighborhood. One of us has to run beside him at all times because traffic laws are not enforced in Egypt. It's just a giant game of chicken at every intersection. Bikers and pedestrians have no right of way- if you want to cross a busy street you have to step in front of traffic and hope the next car will stop. Expectations of personal space are different too so drivers will come within inches of you or your children at full speed. I have noticed that arab women drivers are often the worst offenders about this. Unfortunately in a stressful moment i noted this out loud, so now thomas will often repeat "The ones with the head scarves are the worst," when we get to a bad intersection.

The first few weeks I startled at every horn blast, and would come home exhausted and knotted with stress. I realized the other day that I'm much better at tuning it all out now, which probably means I'll be hit by a bus sometime soon.

how is thomas' new school going? he's much happier. I'm not sure his behavior has improved any. Can you find him in this picture?

Here's a hint.

Thats his friend giacomo's legs there next to him. Here's a picture of a tree house project the kids are working on:

So cool!

We've been following the US election results with interest. We also read about Jon stewart's rally in Washington. His closing statement- using the image of cars merging into the Jersey tunnel as an example of how real Americans work together to solve problems everyday-- has been criticized as kind of wimpy in the blogs I read. I would just like to day that from the vantage point of Egypt, Americans should not underestimate the value of orderly traffic merging. The amount of time and stress required for driving in Egypt- it's like a massive tax on the whole society except there's no revenue produced. Don't take it for granted USA!

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pyramids and Halloween

We did finally get to the pyramids a week or so ago. Now that it's cooled down we had a great time spending an afternoon in the desert in Giza.

the older boys are Theo, 12, and Julian, 8, who belong to my French friend Chloee. They are very sweet with Thomas.

Sometimes I really wish Granny were alive so that I could make her really happy by living in Egypt and having French friends.

Our shipment of stuff from the US finally arrived. There were some missing items, among them our beloved Candyland game. I dropped by a department store where I'd seen a wall of board games to see about a replacement. Upon closer inspection I realized that the whole wall of American games consisted entirely of editions of three games: Monopoly, Risk, and Clue. That selection pretty much would confirm the middle eastern impression of American culture: materialism, empire, and crime. But actually, when you think about it Clue is a weird kids game-- why would Colonel Mustard want to do that with the candlestick in that nice billiard room?

Here are some shots of us at Halloween. As Egypt does not recognize this holiday there are limited options in terms of costumes. Thomas really wanted to be a dragon. He had some specific ideas about how his costume should look. I had pretty much resigned myself to making it when I saw signs up at the Irish nursery, where Emmett goes three mornings a week, for a seamstress who would make costumes to order. Labor is really cheap in Egypt- part of the reason for the afore-noted "house staff" - so this isn't really that ridiculous a thing to do. But when we went to Madame Aliaa's "shop," which was some kind of converted elevator shaft in the basement of a building, we found she had pretty much ripped out pages from disney-type american costume catalogues to use as models. The upshot being that I paid slightly less than I would have paid in the states to get the same crappy costume but this time made to measure by an old egyptian woman.

Thomas really liked it though, so there you are. For Emmett I found a bumble bee suit. I only have one picture here- but he was pretty cute. In fact, his nursery teacher gave him the prize for best costume. He didn't really have the best or most original costume, but I think it was his *interpretation* of a pudgy bee that won her over. Here he has a little blinking light in his mouth that I got for Thomas to use as "fire," but Thomas hated it.

Here is T having his fortune told by a high school kid at the Halloween carnival at his old school. The swami said that Thomas would be a good friend to all animals and would rescue them from perils. I thought this was awesome, but Thomas found it to be merely a statement of the obvious.

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