Okay, so it's been this weird combination of not much happening and lots of stuff happening, so this is a random miscellaneous kind of post, to let you know about all the small stuff that's been going on in our lives lately.
Our UAB is here!! The UAB (unaccompanied air baggage) is a small portion of our stuff from the States that gets shipped here by air; we were limited to . . . I think 450 lb. But it's here! It got here last week. So now I have almost half of our dishes (I wanted all of them, but there was that weight restriction thing), two of our bath towels, one of our hand towels, one of our washcloths, all of our kitchen knives, our pots and pans, one piece of bakeware, our very own sheets (oh so soft and luxurious compared to the adequate-but-nothing-special ones in our welcome kit!) . . . oh, yeah, and a Roomba! I'm so excited about the Roomba. For those who may not know, it's a robotic vacuum. I hate to vacuum, but Roomba does it for me while I do whatever else I want. I've missed my Roomba. (The kittens are terrified of Roomba when he's vacuuming, but they make themselves feel better by pouncing him and walking on him when he's on his base/charger.) Oh, and Jeff's XBox 360 is here. I'll have to let him be all excited about that one. We also were able to fit in some DVDs and decorative items . . . although I forgot to add in a bath mat, silverware, or any trash cans. So we've done a little shopping to replace some of the welcome kit items that we gave back. Overall, though, it's been a great trade.
Our Ford Explorer arrived yesterday! This is a mixed blessing. Theoretically, I now have more freedom and the opportunity to do something that I kind of enjoyed back in the States--driving. On the other hand, I now have no excuse not to brave the Cairo--or at least the Maadi--traffic. But I'm going to do it. I'm driving to the commissary tomorrow. Depending on how stressful the drive is for both me and Jeff, he may be driving back. We'll see. It shouldn't be too bad tomorrow; the streets are usually deserted on Fridays, but if we pick the wrong time, we'll be dealing with all the mosque-goers' cars blocking the road. I'm going to be optimistic. I'll do fine.
We've started taking classes in Egyptian Colloquial Arabic. This basically is a dialect of formal, or Modern Standard, Arabic, just like the particular version of English that we speak in the South is a dialect of the Queen's English. So I've been up to my eyeballs in the difference between "minfadlik" and "minfadlak," the fact that "enta" means "you" and "emta" means . . . "when," I think. Not to mention the decision as to whether or not I'll follow the Egyptian custom of adding "al ham du lee la" whenever I say that I'm fine. It means "Praise/thanks be to God/Allah." The decision part comes in because if it's a general "thanks be to God," I'm okay with that; I am not, however, okay with thanking the specific Muslim god Allah for anything. I don't think Muslims see any difference between God and Allah, though, so even getting an answer to the question of precisely what the phrase means may be difficult. One of my friends from church says "Al ham du Jesus." That certainly avoids any confusion.
The kittens have started their vaccinations. They did NOT enjoy their first visit to the vet, nor are they likely to enjoy their second. Poor little Isis meowed pitifully the whole way (thankfully it was a short drive), so apparently her reaction on the drive home from the shelter wasn't totally due to the water bowl on her head--I made sure there was no water in the bowl this time, although I had bottled water I could use if they needed it. Even the vet looked a little chagrined while he was examining her because he and his assistant couldn't calm her down either. Just for the record, Isis does not like being examined, she does not like having her claws trimmed, and she *absolutely* does not like getting a shot. Cleo was more stoic. During her examination and claw-trimming, she stood quietly in the grip of the assistant, looking daggers at Jeff and me for putting her through this indignity. But she totally rebelled when the needle came out. You would have thought the vet was sticking that needle through her heart instead of through a fold of her skin. Isis, whom I was holding and comforting at the time, couldn't decide between trying to bolt for the window (it was closed), trying to get to Cleo (I had her turned so she couldn't see what was happening), or just huddling in a little shaking ball of terror (my preferred reaction, as it made her easier to hold). Cleo refused to be held and comforted by us (I think she was mad), so we put them both back in their travel case, where they cuddled up with each other and eventually calmed each other down. The meowing started up again as soon as we picked up the case; there's something about a moving "room" that the kittens don't seem to like. The vet prescribed some deworming medicine for them (they don't have worms; it's a precaution), but we haven't been able to get them to take it. We traumatize them when we try. I think we're going to let the vet give it to them when we take them back for their second round of shots next weekend. We also need to talk to the vet about having them microchipped and spayed. They may never forgive us for those.
If you want to see some pictures of the kittens with Jeff, click here.
So that's about it for us . . . I'll let you know as stuff happens :-)