15 hours of travel over three continents.
6,127 Delta miles per McFamily member.
Three days down.
Jetlag still rules all, but we are slowly morphing back into human form. Last night was the first night the kids went to bed at a normal time and they still slept until I dragged them out of bed at 9:15am.
The flights were long, but the kids behaved wonderfully and that is all you can hope for. I admit to having a covetous resentment for all of the lucky jerks in first class though. My restless legs were unbearable during the 8 hour red-eye, and all I could think of was how nice it would be to travel in a lie-flat seat with a down duvet. Maybe one day. A gal can dream. Should anyone who is in charge of military travel ever read this, please spring for business class or at least premium economy for your military families who are moving to hardship assignments overseas. :) Thank you.
So far, here are my funny observations about life in Cairo. Reminder... three days in and only two outings so far, so while I am looking with limited perspective, it is my own.
1. Holy dust and sand! It looks like talcum powder everywhere! The sand is super fine and even makes our floors slick. If you need me, I will be practicing figure-skating in my home. Our vacuum looks like I cleaned up a pile of powder. It's hilarious.
2. There are times when you feel like you are walking through a post-apocolyptic movie set. :) Packs of wild dogs are roaming around, there is trash everywhere, and the air is hazy in the mornings. It looks like the recent pictures of Chernobyl I saw a few weeks ago on Facebook. :)
3. There are lots of signs in English! Yay! So far, people have been extremely kind and welcoming and from what I hear, that is the norm. All the Egyptian people we have encountered have been enamored of the kids and the feeling is mutual.
4. I love my apartment. We have a lovely, quiet, apartment with trees outside most of the windows. Our kitchen is brand new and modern, and even has a dishwasher! Score! Our balcony looks right into Piper's school playground. It's a blissful sanctuary that is slowly becoming home. Pictures to come! (Waiting on our household goods shipment.)
5. Watch where you step. :) I was hopping over poop on the sidewalks yesterday and commenting on the downsides of packs of feral dogs when I realized that these were not dog piles. They were human. Story over.
6. We have been subsisting on peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese sandwiches because I have been too tired to cook and we are putting off introducing local food until our bodies adjust to the time change. I admit to being a little anxious about the inevitable and unavoidable "Cairo tummy". Can I just skip that part? It's bad enough to worry about your own stomach but having to monitor and gauge your kiddos tummy turmoils is what makes me nervous. Oh well, I guess we will work our way through that one too!
7. It smells the same as home here. I don't know what I expected, but I was surprised that you can't smell the foreign foods and spices here, or the diesel cars of the 18 million residents of Cairo. Every once in a while, I smell some burning trash but for the most part it smells normal.
8. I can't imagine a time when I will have the confidence to set out on my own and walk around. I know I will reach that point, and everyone says it takes about a month to set out on your own, but for now it's all a bit too overwhelming. All the streets look the same, there are no street signs, and I don't know quite how you can learn by landmarks when every building looks the same. Add in the harrowing traffic and trying to cross the streets without crosswalks, darting through cars, the packs of dogs, and not knowing the language and I am quite glad to have come with my own bodyguard/hubby.
9. I want to learn Arabic. I want to be able to talk to these lovely people and not look like an idiot. :)
10. Arabic is HARD. Did I mention that?
11. Take the wins. I successfully purchased a contact lens case yesterday, with help from a new embassy friend. It was out on the economy (read: local) and from a local lady who spoke English. I felt capable. It was nice. While standing on the side of the road longing for a crosswalk because the traffic wasn't letting up and I was walking with my kiddos, I got a slow-down and a pity wave to cross. Thank you Lord for pity waves. :)
**Right before posting this, I got locked out of my apartment. Shout out to Carla for saving the day! ;)
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