Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Trip to see a Train!!!!

Matthew Ray got to go see the train station this week. Our friend, Ms. Hannah, is going on a trip and taking a train this week. She needed to buy a ticket in advance so Matthew Ray wanted to go see the train with her. He was so excited he even picked out his own outfit to wear!!! Here he is with Mr. Siede (now the taxi driver for Hannah, too).

What a cutie!

Matthew Ray posing by the train.

Matthew Ray and Hannah-what a team!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Singing Trio!

Meredith, Madison and Matthew Ray got new drums one night while shopping on the street. Here they are in their first performance.

Daddy's Boy!!

Matthew Ray is becoming quite the daddy's boy! He has been able to spend a lot more quality time with him since we have lived here. They don't get to throw a ball outside (now, inside is a different story) but they do think of creative ways to spend father/son time together!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kiss the Camera!

Madison and Matthew Ray are missing their backyard back in the states. So, as all kids do-they adjust! Here's a video of them playing on one of our balconies. Matthew Ray ends the video with a big kiss to all of you!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dr. Mohammed...Iraq Street...Gall Bladder in a Jar???

Not long after we moved here Stacey began having a little stomach trouble. This is common for people who move to a new place so we just kept thinking she would get better. About 3 weeks ago she went to see a doctor and he said that she just needed to live here for 1 year and eat the food and then she would be fine. WRONG!!!

This past week Stacey had another stomach attack that was unbearable so we knew we had to do something. We contacted another doctor by the name of Mohammed and he told us to have an ultrasound and then come see him. The results showed gall stones, and Stacey was admitted into the hospital the next morning. We were given directions to the hospital so we could tell the taxi driver where to go. The final destination was on Iraq Street!!!!

We arrived at the hospital the next morning by taxi after we dropped off all of the children at school. We had several visitors keep us company while Stacey waited for surgery. THANKS, GUYS! Finally after a few hours of waiting it was time for surgery.

The nurses wheeled me (Stacey) into the surgery room where I was greeted by MANY Arabic speaking people. I said, “Hi, how are you?” in Arabic and they all crowded around my gurney to see what other words I knew. The nurses were so sweet saying things like, “You are so sweet! You are so beautiful! You are a sweetie!” Then the anesthesiologist told me to count backwards from 10 to 1, so I thought it would entertain them even more to count in Arabic. All I remember after that was the sound of laughter.

The next thing I remember was rolling back into my room and the nurses showing Matt my Gall Bladder in a Jar!!!! He was then presented with a DVD of my insides!! The rest of the stay was great in the hospital and I was released the next afternoon.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would have surgery by a doctor named Mohammed, on a street called Iraq, have my gall bladder delivered to me in a jar and ride home in a non-air-conditioned, bumpy riding taxi in Africa! You just never know what a day will bring in this N. African life!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Like Father Like Son

Matthew Ray did a little dancing at the engagement party, too! Just click on the arrow to watch this little cutie. If you are just logging in, scroll down to the next YouTube block to see Matt dancing! You don't want to miss it!

Friday, May 11, 2007

New Culture, New Language, BIG SURPRISE!!!!

Well, we have now discovered that our understanding of the Egyptian culture and language is not where we thought it was. Mr. Siede, our taxi driver, has a very limited English vocabulary and our Arabic vocabulary is even less. We thought he had been telling us for weeks that his daughter was getting married and had invited us to her wedding. Stacey had surgery this week and Mr. Siede came to visit her in the hospital. While he was there our language teacher was also there. We started talking about the "wedding" and then came the BIG SURPRISE!! We didn't attend the wedding-we attended the engagement party!!! We thought it was a little strange that her dress was red but we just thought dresses could be any color here. We also thought it was strange that the only thing that happened that evening was dancing. So, now we have been invited to the real wedding that will be held sometime in the next few months when the couple's apartment is ready.

Below is the rest of the story of the eventful evening! Scroll to the bottom to see Matt do the unthinkable!!!

After the couple arrived the mother came out with a tray full of chocolates covered in colorful foil with the "wedding jewelry" snuggled in the middle. She paraded around the room to show off the jewelry. All of the children in the room wanted a piece of candy but all were refused except for our three children-another priveledge of being an honored guest. The jewelry was then presented to the couple to make the engagement final.

Then the party really started with dancing, dancing and more dancing. Meredith even joined in the fun with the bride. Many of the women even did belly dancing motions without their bellies showing!

Matt doing the unthinkable!!!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

All Dressed Up With Somewhere to Go! Part II

Finally, many people began arriving. The room soon filled and then the bride and groom entered. They stood at the door just like this for about 10 minutes while we listened to some Arabic song. (nothing like the wedding march)

Matt and I then waited for the "CEREMONY" to begin........

Saturday, May 05, 2007

All Dressed Up With Somewhere to Go! Part I

We attended our first Egyptian wedding this week. What an experience!!!! We really don't have time to tell you everything in one blog so we will spread out the interesting details over the next several days. Let's just say, YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THE END OF THE STORY! YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT MATT DID AT THIS WEDDING!!!

The wedding was for the daughter of our taxi driver, Mr. Siede. He insisted that he pick us up for the wedding. The plans were to be picked up at our apartment at 6:30 on Thursday evening. We were told the wedding would begin AROUND 8 pm. Mr. Siede knocked on our door at 7:30 and said in Arabic, "Come, we must hurry!!" So, we all hurried out the door, down the hallway, down the elevator and into the taxi. He drove very fast and didn't talk very much at all but what he did say was that the day had been crazy. We could tell he was a very nervous "Father of the Bride." We arrived, expecting to be late to the big celebration only to find we were the first ones there. We then helped Mr. Siede turn on the air conditioning and lights in the apartment where the wedding was to take place.

At 9 pm some family members began to trickle in as we took on the role as the welcoming party! All of them were so excited that we had come. We were then asked to take pictures with all of the family!!! You have to know that we didn't know anyone at this wedding except for our taxi driver. We took pictures with the family just like we took pictures with our family before our own wedding!

So, that's how the adventure began - Stay tuned as we unfold the events of the evening-Don't forget - YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT MATT DID AT THIS WEDDING!!!

****Below are just a few pictures of how the evening began*******

Matt with the Father of the Bride, Mr. Siede (our taxi driver)

Stacey and kids with the mother and aunt of the groom. (Stacey just met these women one minute before this picture was made!)

Stacey with the Mother and sister of the Bride.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

No Sleeping in Carseats Here!!!!

Back in America our children always fell asleep in their carseats when they had had a long day. Well, we don't have a car here and we don't have carseats! We either walk or take a taxi everywhere we go. Last night Matt took Matthew Ray out with him to find a barber shop. They walked many miles and did not find an open barber shop that looked clean. While walking back home Matthew Ray's little legs were DONE. So, Matt carried him on his shoulders. When they arrived home this is how they looked! Matthew Ray was sound asleep on his daddy's head. So, neither got a hair-cut and both were exhausted but it was a sweet daddy and son moment!