Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Goings on

Here is Emmett with his swim "coach" Khalil at Maadi House.  Emmett can swim underwater now! Without armbands!


Santa came to Maadi on a camel, and the boys were pretty ho hum about it.   Here Thomas is asking him for a flamethrower for christmas.  I'm not kidding.  Santa said no.   


But the main event, bigger than christmas in our family, was Thomas' 7th birthday!!!  Unlike the last two years, when he wanted gifts but no children at his party, this year he wanted to invite twenty children!  I was so happy about that, I just went for it.  Dave says it wasn't a party, it was an extravaganza.

 We kicked things off with a birthday sleepover with Max and Alex.  We watched a movie and ate cupcakes.  Here the boys are building a baroque Ottoman castle for our two new dwarf hamsters.  Their names are Fireball and Lightning Bolt.


Then, a party.  We had a bouncy castle, clowns, a magician, and a treasure hunt.  


Cool guys . . .



Thomas loved it.  If you enlarge that photo and look  carefully you can see his little grinning mouth-


Whoever is responsible for this picture should never be allowed near a camera again.


Emmett had a great time too, and is now planning his 4th birthday party in March.



We leave for the States in 9 days!  Also, there has been some news here in Egypt.  You may have read something about it.  I don't have much to add except that Dave's sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood is making life difficult for me at the country club.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

A poem by Thomas

The assignment was to write a poem about fireworks. They provided a list of helping words like "sparkle" and "whoosh" but Thomas refused to use any of them. (The first words of the first three lines were given . . . Fireworks . . . rocket . . . Bangers)

Fireworks are like the sun on gunpowder.
Rockets exploding in the night sky.
Bangers snapping like bombs.
Fireballs krashing
Curtains of fire smashing into 10000
Bells of explosion ringing.


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Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Dark Cave of Despair






Update: sorry, didn't mean to alarm anyone. The dark cave was a blanket fort Thomas and Emmett built in their room. The inspiration was the "Halloween" Party at MBIS on Nov. 6th. Specifically a very slightly haunted corridor. Also, scooby doo which they watch every day in return for thomas writing two sentences of plot summary in the middle and end. Here's Emmett at the party dressed as batman.




Thomas was a ghost. But Thomas went with a friend and by the time I saw him he was wearing his sheet as a kind of skirt tied around his waist.

Also in the dress-up category, these are from a birthday party last weekend. Generally Egyptians, and many expats, are pretty rigid about gender expectations here. For example, at the toy stores the girls section is almost entirely dolls, toy vacuum cleaners and ovens. Anyway, at the party, Emmett wanted to wear the fairy wings provided for the girls.




So I let him. One of the birthday girls saw it and started to cry. Emmett then urged his friend Johan, who is half-egyptian, also to try the wings and the fairy wand. Johan's dad kept pretending not to hear Johan asking for help opening the sparkly package.  So I stepped in and helped. They had a great time.








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Saturday, November 3, 2012

White Desert Camping

3 families, 7 kids, 2 deserts.



 First the black desert:





Emmett did everything this little girl, Sophie, told him to do.


Then we went to the white desert.  Which has whiter sand than the black desert.




And also some solid white rock formations.  One of the other fathers brought up the biblical story of Lot's wife looking back at Gomorrah and being turned into a pillar of salt.  These pillars weren't actually salt, but I could see where this legend might have come from-





The best part by far was just sitting around drinking wine while the kids ran around and did whatever they wanted. 

 


Some people don't need to drive eight hours to a remote desert in North Africa for this to happen, but that seems to be what it takes for us.



Here we see Alex and Thomas who got up before their parents were even awake to go sandboarding on the dunes.  



Here they return to camp in the dawn's early light for breakfast.



It was like having teenagers.


Then we got home to watery pictures of Hurricane Sandy in NYC.
I guess everyone reading this is by definition ok, but we're thinking of you.


Mohammed the driver earnestly suggested that my family should come to Cairo for a few weeks while New York recovers from the storm.  He doesn't know New York, but come anyway!      

Sunday, October 21, 2012

dress up

Today was "Victorian Day" at the British School.  All the kids in Thomas' class were invited to come dressed in typical Victorian clothing.



They have been learning about how children in Victorian times worked as chimney sweeps and in factories, and could be caned when they were bad.


I can't really imagine why the British system thinks its important for first graders to know this kind of thing.  Maybe it is just hearkening back to a time of Empire-- I think Great Britain pretty much ran the show during the Victorian era?

In that case, it would be like how Egyptian children spend all their time learning about the Prophet and the Arab conquest in the 6th, 7th, 8th century. 

Meanwhile, Emmett is celebrating American super-heroes, as he should.




Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tennis and the Pharaons Rally

Today was action-packed here in Cairo.  First, Emmett had his second "teddy tennis" lesson:


Here he's using bubbles to practice his "serve" manuver.



Here he is very excited to learn how to volley at net.


Then we went to meet a real race-car driver!!!! One of Mommy's students is competing in the Pharaons rally race through the desert.  His team is Al Rahallah, they are the biggest Egyptian team, but still very much underdogs.  Tarek and his team builds their cars themselves.  And we got to ride in them!

Here is the car Tarek will drive.  The engine is in the back for better weight distribution.


Emmett and Thomas got official team jerseys and hats.




Someone had a chameleon named Camelia, and it was somehow important that we pose for pictures with Camelia on our head.



 Here is our friend Sam K in Tarek's car.  Sam also has become a member of Team Rahalla.



The race starts tomorrow from the pyramids!  We will be checking in with them here.  Go Rahhala!



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Family Photos

Some rare family photos have surfaced showing all four of us at once.  I know some of you have wondered . . .


In fact, not only us, but the whole Kirkpatrick clan!


I am not sure why I was so under-dressed for these photos, but let me apologize now for that.  Maybe I can photoshop a nice blouse on me for the christmas card.  Luckily, everyone else looks super-sharp.

Yes, we did visit Buffalo this summer and it was grand.  Here the Kirkpatrick men look their very best to say an official goodbye to Grandma Ethel, who passed away last spring.



We also did some chalk drawing.  This was Thomas' contribution, no doubt inspired by the great cat battle stories with Uncle Arthur . . . 


We helped with the gardening . . .





One project we undertook was completing our entry for the British School library's summer reading photo contest.  They give prizes every year to the best photos from the summer showing students reading in usual places.  And the top winners get framed and hang in the library all year!!

We think we have some potential champions. (Though my idea to hoist T over Niagara falls in a windbreaker with a book was not acted on, sadly.  We did visit the falls though, and awesome Fort Niagara, a war of 1812 stronghold.)


boating on Lake Erie



plane cockpit


in a tree




ok, that last was mere point.  So we'll see.  fingers crossed for the blue ribbon!