Monday, March 30, 2009

The First Visitor

Well, being a tour guide sure is exhausting! My first visitor just left yesterday. Laurie is one of my oldest friends and her trip was kind of last minute which made it fun. I've known for about a month that she was coming. She arrived last monday late at night. We spent the week, shopping, eating, pyramiding, felluca riding, antiquities exploring, mummy gazing, traffic dodging, Opera and Ballet watching, sunbathing (intentional and unintentional), birthday bashing, knitting, lounging, and movie making. I'm sure I'm forgetting things but you check out her blog, maybe she'll fill in the gaps...
In other news Ira has been away all week in Germany giving a paper at a conference. He gets home tonight and I'm very excited to see him. We leave for Greece next week!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Indiana Jones and Lost

We went on an AUC trip to some archeological sites on Saturday. They were pretty great, the best part was one of the statues was on Lost this week!! I had heard that this season was going to have lots of Ancient Egypt references, but this is great! Also we heard a story about a man named Horace in ancient Egypt. If you don't watch Lost, sorry, but if you do how cool is that?! AND remember Hurley was doing a watercolor of the Sphinx and the pyramids last week?? I've got all the ins and outs! Oh, and the place where we were was the place where Indiana Jones discovered the Lost Ark in the movie. Not as exciting to me, sorry. Enjoy the slideshow! It's probably best viewed at a larger size, there are lots of great details that are missed in the small version.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I did it

I have established the dreaded Mommy Blog. For my fun single friends who think I have gone over the deep end, DON'T JUST STAND THERE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, COME HELP ME! And for the parents and future grandparents, I know this is the stuff that you guys live for. Enjoy!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Drama, Drama, Drama

It's been quite a scene around here the past couple of days. WARNING: This is a "Dear Egypt, I may love you but I don't have to like you right now" kind of entry. So if you're already down on Egypt, or you would rather think of me over here dancing around the pyramids all day, this might not be the entry for you. However, if you are interested in "The way things really are" come on down!
I know that America is not perfect. There are dozens, probably hundreds of things I dislike about America. But when things happen here in Egypt that are out of my control and seem to be highly unnecessary, my first instinct is to say "This would never happen in America" and most of the time, I'm right. Sorry Ira, but you know it's true! For example, last weekend our neighbors Villy and Baher were getting married. Our other neighbors Yasir and Sufia wisely booked an AUC van for the four of us and two additional couples, all AUC faculty. The van was supposed to pick us up at 1:30. Sufia had sent several emails confirming the time. All was in order. So last Friday we met Yasir and Sufia upstairs at their flat. Sufia called to make sure the van was coming on time. The woman in charge, said yes, the van will be there at 3:30. Um, no. Since the wedding started at 2:30 that was not going to be OK. So we called the driver (who sounded like he just woke up) and he said he would come in 20 minutes. 20 minutes, no driver. At this point the BRIDE is calling asking where we are. This calling the driver and having him say he'll be there in 20 minutes went on and on until we gave up, went downstairs and got a black and white cab (they can be very run down and unreliable, not something you want to ride in for 40 minutes in wedding clothes) We arrived at the wedding almost a hour late. It was very disappointing and we were embarrassed and felt terrible. Yasir sent the person in charge of transportation at AUC a scathing but awesome email where he insisted that they email the bride and groom and apologize. I've yet to hear if he's received a reply. So could this happen in the states? Of course. However, the U.S. has become such a quality control machine that if something like this happened, there would have been not only consequences for the person who screwed up, but there would have been some ass kissing for the people who didn't receive the service they had reserved and for which they were willing to pay good money. That's all I'm saying. Which brings me to my next story...
I woke up Wednesday with morning sickness so bad I couldn't get out of bed. I stayed in bed most of the day and Ira was so sweet bringing me food or whatever I needed. Around 11am I noticed a funny smell coming from the stairwell. It smelled like glue or varnish. It was starting to take over the whole flat. We put something under the front door and opened all the windows. I stayed in the bedroom because I was afraid to breathe the fumes, especially being pregnant. It was like this all day and didn't go away until overnight at some point. Ira went down to talk to our sweet, well-meaning (but not always the best at understanding us) doorman. He assured Ira that the workers were done and would not be back tomorrow. This is the same guy who, when Ira told him it was my birthday, spread a rumor through the whole building that I was pregnant. Sigh, anyway, I didn't sleep at all that night (not because of the fumes for some other dumb, unidentified reason) I woke up Thursday morning feeling sick again and I had to teach. After feeling like I was going to barf on them I eventually had to stop giving adjustments and sit on my mat drinking ginger tea and cuing the class from there. I got home and I was so excited to just relax and take a nap. And then, I smelled it. Again. Only this time it took minutes for it to spread back the hallway. Once again, I holed up in the bedroom and put a towel under the door to keep the nastiness from coming in. I tried to take a nap but about an hour after I laid down, I woke up to the smell. I knew I had to do something. I tried to go out to the living room to call Ira. I opened the door to the bedroom, took about 2 steps and then felt so lightheaded that I had to go back in the room and shut the door. Luckily, I had my computer in there. I started messaging Amanda and she called Ira for me. He called the Housing Office (AKA a joke, keep reading) Then she told me that I had to get out and that she would call Gordana to see if I could go over there. So I had to get dressed, and then I got a hand towel to cover my mouth and ran down the stairs. I went over to their place and we hung out for a little while with the boys, took them to Tae Kwon Do, etc. Ira called a little before 5:00 and said they were finishing soon and they have been instructed to open all the doors and put fans out to ventilate. Around 6:30 Gordana suggested we go over to the flat and see if it was still bad and if it was I could get my stuff to stay over. So, we could smell it before we even got in the building. Nothing was open and there were no fans. It was so bad in the stairwell again, then it was better in the apartment but you could still smell it. I was like "Oh it's not that bad, I'm just going to stay". Gordana was like "um, no". She's very sweet and polite but she totally put her foot down and brought up the point that just because I couldn't smell it as much didn't mean that it wasn't still toxic and in the air supply in the flat. Point well taken. So, I packed a bag and went back to her place and Ira and I stayed there last night. He left early this morning to see if it was OK over here, and then gave me the go ahead to come back. What a freaking nightmare. I felt like I was evacuated! And once again, what was the consequence? No one is going to get in trouble and no one is going to apologize to the pregnant woman and her husband who were forced to leave their home. Could this happen in the states? Of course. But typically if there are going to be toxic fumes/paint, etc. the landlord will at least send a letter letting you know that the work is going to take place. I get this "oh well" vibe from people here. Like this is the price I'm paying for living here. Chaos and inefficiency. And danger, quite frankly. Well, it makes me really mad. And unless these offices and or people in "charge" want to see the wrath of an angry pregnant woman, they better clean up their act and get it together.