Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thnking of Egypt

These days have been tough, hearing about the uprising in Egypt.

I was only there for a few years, but what a wonderful few years they were. My big J turned 2 and 3 there. He attended the most wonderful preschool where he learned Arabic (his most hated subject), was very popular (we were always late and the kids would line the cement block fence and chant his name - I'm finding that's the same for him these days, when at his 4.0 assembly for 8th grade, there was a disturbingly loud squeal from many girls as his name was called and he shuffled to the stage,..) The kids made beautiful, yummy powdered sugar crescent moon Rhamadan cookies as well as had Santa saunter in on camelback.

My little Z-man travelled to Egypt when he was just 3 weeks old. I will never forget hubby holding him against the door in the Olympia, Washington Kinkos' to get his passport photo taken. Having to hold his little head up, but hide his hand at the same time. The ignorant idiot yelling "why does he need a passport when he's so little?!?!" And us answering him: "So he can go home."

What is so mind-boggling to me is that I just recently read an article on how Egypt was on the top of the list of vacation spots. Then the next day, total chaos. We were there during another smaller uprising. The Isreali Ambassador, our neighbor in El Ma'adi where we lived, airlifted their family out at that time too. I told my work friend not to visit. We laid low for a while. Then, we were on the move to Luxor, K having just been born back in the states, me staying with my parents for a while, getting my bearings as a mother now with three small children, moving to a foreign country, a new city. My dad came home early from a meeting to let me know that the twin towers had toppled; I wouldn't know when or on what continent I'd see my husband again.
That prompted a move to the Philippines, to get out of what hubby's company at the time thought was too much of a liability - having the only American family in Luxor at the time.

I'm watching news, tweets and facebook closely. Reminicsing with old friends who have moved, checking in with others who are still there. Thinking about those who I have lost contact with over the years, hoping they know how much we are all rooting for them and praying they are safe.

A facebook post from a friend made me smile: "Al Jezeera reported gunfire in my old expat neighborhood in Cairo. They were trying to block the entrance to Ma'adi. Here's a repost about what's happening from a CNN reporter & former neighbor, Ben Wedemen: "My wonderful wife has handed out baseball bats, clubs, kitchen knives and tea to neighbourhood patrol."

I remember going through orientation with this woman, who at the time, who wasn't half the fierce warrior she sounds like she is now. I remember Wedemen getting shot while on field reporting duty in Israel; all of us ex pats coming to their aid - not that they needed it, they are strong people - and making sure they and their kids (very small at the time) were recovering okay. Saying hello at our neighborhood hangout - Cafe Greco -way better coffee than Starbucks (sorry!). I visited the real Cafe Greco in Italy and giving a picture of it to my hangout in Cairo.

Hearing that this is being thought of as a game changing event - the Berlin Wall, the Ayatollah in Iran loosing power,.. wow.

I hope this beautiful country pulls through. I know it will. Egypt has been around for a long time and they will continue to live strong, proud and beautiful.

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