As I sit down to write lesson plans, I can only think of other things I would rather do: catch up on blogging, knit, blow bubbles for the cats, sort my clothes that have tiny little holes from the cats’ claws, eat lunch, bake some bread, catch up on laundry, yoga for the day, possibly even wash the dishes. I imagine I will end up doing all these things before I get to the lesson plan writing.
One of my aunts chose this year to write a description of their daily lives rather than a year overview which I find to be an interesting alternative. I have decided to copy her because the whole year has already been recorded throughout the other blog posts. I hope you’re ready for a lot of reading.
It’s morning. Ronnie has gone off to the gym. He attempted to persuade me to come but, as my head was pounding from the Nth head cold I’ve had this (school) year, I decided not to join him today. I’ll do yoga instead. I’ve been trying to do yoga daily. From May to September, I was attending an air yoga class at a fitness center a few blocks away. I decided to stop going but continued regular yoga at home. I had been working on headstands until school started and, like teachers all over the world, I got sick. Now I try to keep myself upright as much as possible.
The kitchen is a mess because, after returning from vacation, one must prove that we can still survive here without gourmet wines and cheeses that we indulged on daily in Holland (also we took some ingredients home with us). I’ve made smoked salmon, Krab quiche in a signature crust made with Crisco and some cheese pie with substandard Egyptian cream cheese. We also found some real lemons (they call little green limes lemons here) and made Avgolemono, and oregano chicken. There are a lot of dishes to wash.
Winter time, whether truly cold or not, always gets me into a crocheting mood. I made hats for us to use in Amsterdam (very glad I did), and in the process remembered that my fingers don’t like to crochet, and get all warty and painful when I do. So I bought knitting needles in Amsterdam and I thought I would start on a project. If I was thinking, I would remember that all cool projects either require 20 balls of yarn or double point/circular needles…which I don’t have. So I’m trying an experiment. If what I’m doing turns out, I’ll write about it. Otherwise my failure will be my secret.
The water is hot, I’ll go wash a few dishes. That’s right, there’s no hot water in the kitchen so we have to heat up water on the stove. Quite primitive and it makes my least favorite chore even less enjoyable. At least we have hot water in the bathroom…Oh and make sure that you unplug the washing machine before taking the clothes out to dry on the line. Otherwise you will get a nasty shock.
I’m back! …after kicking the cat out of the kitchen. Leo still acts like a street cat, foraging through the kitchen (and garbage) for scraps of food. He’s quite fat and if we let him eat as much as he wanted, I am certain he would physically explode. I think he’s been a bit jealous of Zoe lately, who is growing and becoming more assertive by the second. They still have occasional cuddle time together, though.
I am currently writing this in a Word document because the internet is out. It could be simply that we need to go pay for the internet, or it could be that the network is down in the country, or the third option is that the government decided that no one is allowed on the internet anymore (that’s a bit dramatic I suppose, but it has happened here in recent history). We’ll go pay some money and see what happens.
This afternoon, we went to a cafe in our neighborhood for coffee, almost across the street from the grocery store were we just paid our internet bill. He had a vanilla latte and I had a vanilla chai, since I don’t like coffee. We took it for granted at the time, but now we’ve discovered how spoiled we were by Barracuda! Good drinks? Friendly baristas? Definitely not things we’ve been able to find in Egypt! However, this place is the closest we’ve been able to come to passable drinks and passable food, and the employees aren’t unfriendly.
With our drinks, we walked to the park. Ronnie insisted that even though I’m not feeling well, I still needed to go outside for a bit. We feel fortunate that we have a park in our neighborhood, since parks are fairly uncommon around here. Not only that, but it’s a dog park, so there are usually puppies to pet!
Our instruments have sadly been neglected this year due to various (money-related) issues with the groups we play for. If we were real musicians, it wouldn’t matter if people were paying us to play, and our day-to-day routine would also include practicing. Turns out we’re not real musicians! Ronnie got some new reed-making supplies when his mom met us in Amsterdam, so he’ll probably make a few oboe reeds in the next few days. He supposedly has a concert coming up on Jan. 25 (a Mozart concert to celebrate his birthday), if they don’t cancel that one, too. I’ll probably find out that they want me to play a few days before rehearsal. Organization isn’t their strong suit, something that regularly pisses Ronnie off, given his past as a manager-type-person for a symphony.
(As an aside, Ronnie finally got paid by his orchestra after waiting nearly TWENTY MONTHS! They decided to start paying him as a substitute (that’s how I’m paid when I play) in March, but from Feb. 2016 to Feb. 2017, he just had to wait patiently while they figured something out. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as we were able to use some of that money in Amsterdam!)
It’s evening now, and we’ve finally got the internet up and working, so we’re going to watch some Netflix. We never got cable when we moved into this apartment, so Netflix (and less-legally downloaded movies) are our only option for entertainment.
This country has given us a lot of perspective and especially just coming back from the Netherlands, we are reminded once again how the tiniest little things can make such a difference. Like having hot water in the kitchen. Like having any type of food at your disposal. Like knowing that people will understand you when you speak English. Like having a peaceful neighborhood. Like clean streets. Like having toilet paper in public bathrooms. Like HAVING public bathrooms. Like not being stared at wherever you go. That being said, I hope we never forget what it was like here. Perspective is a good thing.
I wrote that last part in past tense, like we don’t live here anymore. If you didn’t already know, we are moving to Lithuania next August (God willing, insha’allah, whatever), so this will be my last New Year’s post from Egypt!!! So we do still live here, but only for 8 more months. We are incredibly excited about what the future school and country have to offer. We’ve been doing a ton of research already, and we’ve both started learning the language, which is incredibly difficult (but in different ways than Arabic.) It is our hope to stick around in Lithuania for a few years, but at the moment we’re just excited to move out of Egypt.
Here’s to 2018! A whole new year of exciting adventures (still no lesson plans completed).