Friday, February 19, 2010

A bit of every day life...

Some idiosyncrasies about Cairo:

Egyptians like my children. People are always trying to get Maya's attention so they can say hello. They touch her hair and one kid (like 20 years old) even gave her a kiss on the cheek. This was after he took her picture. Ethen draws the same crowd. Maybe it's the blue eyes. I mean, I know my children are gorgeous, but really??

I have to get on my hands and knees to light my oven. And it has no set temperature gauge, so I have to guess about how much gas to feed it.

My washer shocked me. They don't ground appliances here, so I need to cut power to them if my hands are wet.

A familiar smell of our "burnin' barrel" in my backyard growing up in Moore, Idaho, wafts in every morning from the neighbors burning their garbage. Yuck.

I can't find a crock pot anywhere.

Two weeks after living here I gave up brushing my teeth with bottled water. It's just too hard.

I wash my fruits and veggies (those that I dare buy) with vinegar and bottled water. They fertilize with human waste, so they have the potential to make us very sick. I am not a great cook anyway, and I've never been one to really load up on the good stuff, but I'm tired of PB&J every day for lunch. So is Maya. The other day I made her some gross pasta and she looked at me and said, "Mom, this food isn't good." No honey, it isn't. Even Ethen wouldn't eat it. If you are reading this, you are now obliged to leave me a comment. Tell me what to feed my children. Really. I'm out of ideas. We eat cheese quesadillas a lot. Forget about any type of lunch meat. Oh how I miss ham... that brings me to the next one.

They slaughtered all the pigs. When the swine flu came out, the ignorants who will remain unnamed used it as an excuse to kill all the unclean swine in the country. Come on. The flu is a virus, it's not in the meat, people. The expats are devastated. No ham, no pork, what am I to do?

Maya needs to go to school. She is driving me crazy, needing constant entertainment. She gets pretty bored during the day, and it's still a little cold to go in the pool. International schools here are proving way too expensive. Preschool from now until June is $10,000. Seriously, what are they teaching these kids? I'm looking for an alternative. Not too encouraging since it's $3000 to use the park/pool here at the country club. If I had a way to get there, I'd be more inclined to fork out that cash, 1 hour of complimentary babysitting each day is a little tempting. That and they have a great kiddie pool.

Some indulgences I am enjoying are imported cereal (even if they are $8/box.) That, and I will pay extra for Charmin, Bounty, and "American chocolate chip cookies." I didn't realize the rest of the world isn't in on that. Nestle is a Swiss company, and they don't have Toll House there? What gives? The British influence here is strong, with their treats called biscuits.

I haven't missed Taco Bell so much, because they have something here called "foul muddamas" (haha, ironic, I know, but it's pronounced fool) that are just like bean burritos (only they eat them for breakfast). They also have Pepsi products so I can find Mountain Dew. Ahh, the little things...

I'll write more as I discover and learn different things here. Below is a page for your viewing enjoyment :)

12 comments:

jessi said...

Oh, my dear, sweet Shirlee, whom I miss so much here in Geneva. I have kept up on your posts, but have been inexcusably lazy to write comments or email you. Thanks for all of the updates and insights into your life - day-to-day and all. Swiss expats don't have anything on what you are experiencing now - you are such a trooper - seriously, no grounding of their washer/dryers? And that is certainly not the only shocker for me and everyone else reading your posts. I guess you are in Egypt and all, but vent away - I will sympathize every time. Let me look over my recipes or ideas for you and send them via email your way. You can do a lot of vegetarian and not miss ham/pork so much - we have gone to that quite a bit. Okay, love and miss you for now. Keep the posts coming!

Sharla said...

First.. dang that washer. Scary little thing, isn't it? And the whole bottled water/tooth brushing thing is definitely a way bigger pain than imagined... so I sympathize with you there.

I, too, will dig beyond the grilled cheese and see what I can offer for lunch ideas beyond mac & cheese. Did I mention I LOVE Maya's insight.. I miss that girl. Really. And I miss you too.

Take care and know that you guys are ALWAYS in our prayers.

p.s. A couple of moms have come up from school and admitted that they thought the kids weren't telling the truth when they said, "my mom is in Egypt." Thank goodness for cameras or my kids would be shunned...

Love you!

Valina said...

Your posts always amaze me, always full of new experiences.
We actually eat a lot of PB& jelly, syrup, or marshmallow fluff(My kids get tired of the jelly). Cheese sandwiches or quasadillas too! Sorry I can't be of any help.

MariLouise said...

With all those expats, I can't believe no one has started a joy school or something. You up to the task? ;)

Jodi and Skott said...

I can't imagine... I really would die without ham.
I don't know what types of things you have available but have you tried allrecipes.com? A twist on the quesadillas is to use the tortilla like a pizza crust, and make individual pizzas. Wish I had more food ideas for you...
I am thinking of switching my major to preschool education and starting a business in Egypt... :) Wow! That is an insane amount of money!
On a much different note, I saw your computer at Best Buy today. I AM IN LOVE! It has moved to the top of my wish list :)

Cath said...

Shir! I can't believe the assassination of the swine (flu)! Funny. But Geesh! And your washer/dryer, bottled water. I think you get a gold medal for adapting to foreign experiences. You're amazing. I heard how expensive preschools were from my Mom! I'm with Marilouise - can you get a Joy School going? As for food, I'm no good for suggestions - we live on quickie meals right now too! You're doing awesome! We love your posts.

Heather said...

I told my husband I would be willing to follow him anywhere- except Cairo! I'm not sure I have your patience. As for food- Baked Ziti is an all-time favorite here. Use any kind of pasta (penne, ziti, rigota are my favs). After boiling the pasta mix it with most a bottle of spaghetti sauce and 16 oz of ricotta cheese (I used cottage in Scotland). Put in a cake pan and cover with remaining spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake until heated through. You can add hamburger/sausage to it if you want, but it's not necessary.

The McIntire Family said...

Shirlee---you amaze and inspire me every single post I read. I honestly would be in a mental home somewhere if I had 1 of your daily trials. I recommend staying away from pasta and pizza---- I seem to recall many pasta failures and the infamous pizza that made the wrestlers/our dates sick that one year we cooked. I don't have a lot of suggestions other than move to the states and eat a HUGE ham. Love you and thanks for being such a strong person!

Nancy said...

We have to light our oven that way, too! It took us a little while to find a lighter wand so we were using matches at first...yikes! :) Also, they have gauges you can buy for your oven...we haven't ever purchased one and will probably be content to guess on temperatures until we leave, but I know people who have bought them.

My friend had a washing machine that shocked her--she still (after like 5 years later) worries about getting shocked when she uses the washing machine.

We do a lot of vegetarian meals since, not only do they not have ham, the rest of the meat they sell is grisly and gross (in my opinion, anyway). We eat a lot of soup for lunch...soup of the instant variety. I have no creative meal ideas.

Also, you should try charging baksheesh when people try to kiss your kids. ;)

Mary said...

You are pretty much my hero.

Lauren said...

Those pictures are amazing! I thought Germany was an adjustment just for a summer:) Good luck.

xo

Deb said...

Oh Shir...WOW! I can't believe the kind of adjustments you guys must all be going through. What a trooper. I laughed out loud at Maya's comment about the food. I can just hear her cute little voice :) Thanks for the posts. I love to hear about your experiences!! Love you and send our love to Dave, Maya, and Ethen!