2014 July – September

Thursday July 3rd 2014

G’day Phi. Another quarterly chapter to you… I wonder where you are, how old you are, and what you’re thinking as you read this journal…

It’s not much, I know, and it’s pretty light on wisdom. It’s just me, and my thoughts, and you. Someone smart once wrote, write down your wishes to help them come true; I guess, that’s what I’ve been doing these past 5 years. Imagining. Hoping. Reliving our moments together. Each time I write to you, I hope, I guess I even pray that you will read these letters one day… It’s never too late for us… If we both believe, we can make this work.

Flick us an email at: moriceg@hotmail.com, or gedmorice@gmail.com, or I’m on FB; actually we both are, because my profile picture is the two of us in yukatas banging out a karaoke tune… I think we were singing Jingle Bells! We were down at Shimoda with Brenda, Allen, Nicola, Tim & David Hamer… good times, Phi, great times, and memories that will be with me forever.

So, you live in Iruma City, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. That is, I think you live in Iruma; you may have moved, but I would be none the wiser.

I too lived in Japan. We both did. I lived in Saitama, in Numazu, in Yokohama, in Tokyo. I lived through seasons, one after another, just as you do without your Dad. I remember the heat & humidity of summer. I recall the brisk, clear mornings of winter when one could see Mount Fuji. I felt the passion and birth of a million cherry blossoms welcoming spring, and that first evening of the year in late September when one pulls a sheet over themselves as sleep beckons, ringing in autumn… at last! I’ve lived side by side with my Japanese neighbors, I’ve been welcomed into their homes, and they into mine. I’ve sat and watched the Tama River flow beneath its many bridges, and I’ve run the banks of the Kano River in Numazu. I’ve climbed Mount Fuji, holidayed with you in Hokkaido, and hiked World Heritage sites in islands off Kyushu. I’ve swam in the Pacific Ocean on January 1st to ring in the New Year, and I’ve been to the Family Court more times than I can remember. Japan was good to me in many ways. It was generous, beautiful and even embracing at times. I loved and respected so many people, and so many traditions. But I will never understand why it took my daughter away… why did it take you away?

 

A MOMENT IN TIME

I kind of liked rushing you in the morning. In fact it was loads of fun because you too had Dad’s sense of humor. You, always pretending you were fast asleep in your bed, but as soon as I tickled you, you would giggle loudly in delight. “C’mon, chop-chop, get a wriggle on.” I’d be making sure you had your bento in your backpack, your lovely pink backpack that you proudly carried to Ooka Kindergarten, and then Katoh Kindergarten. I would be checking you had the message book your teachers and I wrote in every day, your drink bottle, and your little hand towel. They were special times. And you, slowly brushing your teeth, too slow to brush your own hair, so Dad would end up doing it. “Ouch, that hurts!” you’d complain. I would pretend I was annoyed, but you knew I was just pretending, because you would give me one of your funny faces and we’d both laugh. Then I would be flying around the house getting my own things ready, busy, busy… and you’d sit in the beanbag watching The Wiggles or Play School, with a great big smile on your dial. Ah, what I would give to have just one more morning with you… I guess you don’t need any help any more… you’re an independent 6th grader I’m sure.

Will write again soon. I miss you Bella. I miss your smile. I miss your caring, gentle nature. I miss your sense of humor, your imagination, and all the cuddles you used to give me. I miss you whispering… “I love you Dad…” And I miss telling you, “I love you…”

XoXo… Dad yori…

 

WICKED QUOTE

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Saint Augustine

 

Saturday, July 5th 2014

How’s my Angel? Still an angel no doubt, but it can’t be easy, always wondering what happened between your parents. We only get one Mum, and one Dad, and we couldn’t hold it together, so we owe you, your Mum & I.

I wonder if you’re okay. I wonder what scars you’re still dealing with, what wounds still need healing, what questions still need sharing. I wish I could help. I wish I could calm your thoughts, help explain your sorrows, and keep you positive. It’s so important to look to the future with a smile and hope… we can do that, can’t we?

I wonder what they told you about me… your Dad. I wonder if you remember all the fun times we shared. And I wonder if you still believe we have a chance to redefine our relationship… to be as we were: honest, caring, open & loving. I hope so, because I have so much to share with you, and there are so many people waiting to see your beautiful, warm, embracing smile again.

Love Dad… XoXo…

TRAVEL QOUTE

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Mark Twain

 

Tuesday, July 8th 2014

Dear Phi, how’s life in hot and humid Japan? Are you ready for another edition of Dad’s Journal? Well, we’re back from our travels in Europe; in fact we’ve been back a week now, but I’m yet to catch you up with our travels. We had a ball! We both just loved Turkey, and I think you will too! Loved it, its people, world heritage sites, and the food was pretty tasty too after the Egyptian fare we’re use to here.

So, where did we leave off Bella? Ah, yes, we were just about to arrive in fantasy land, Cappadocia, Turkey… you would have loved it… there’s something quite fantastical about this world heritage area. It’s the perfect setting to engage your imagination, to dream of other worlds, and to write creative fantastical narratives. I think I felt like a child on his/her first visit to Disneyland, especially during our hot air balloon ride.CIMG1177

After saying goodbye to our good friend Nathalie (our French friend, originally from Saint Maur IS), from Istanbul, we went east to Cappadocia and stayed in an amazing cave hotel for two nights. Grand Cave Suites it was called, and very fancy indeed. You would have loved it Phi. Not only was the bathroom and bedroom area carved into the rock (existing cave), but the bed was also carved out of the existing rock. From the balcony where we enjoyed some local white wine as the sun set, the harshness of the white bleached cliffs and the incredible rock formations softened. All around us, for as far as the eye could see, were rock fairy chimneys reaching for the last of the blue skies. Farmers with goats littered the many trails up and down valleys, and an occasional smattering of green grape vines contrasted with the dry, rocky, baron outcrops of rock & sand.

We did some awesome hiking, exploring the 1000 year old cave homes & churches in the Red Rose Valley on our first full day. The rock features are absolutely incredible; the perfect setting for a Star Wars movie. There are homes and churches everywhere (though no longer in use), and the locals nowadays use many of the “fairy chimneys” as homes to their many pigeons (a local delicacy).

The whole area has an amazing history dating back to Alexandria the Great and beyond. It was an area that was mainly populated with Christians, but as they were largely surrounded by a majority Muslim population, they were often persecuted and discriminated against. We learned that there was a mass repatriation of Christians to Greece, and a population swap of Muslims to Turkey between 1919 – 1924 (just after WW1).

On our second day, we did a whole day tour and visited an underground city (Derinkuyu Yeralti Sehri) that used to house 20,000+ people! Apparently, the caves were interconnected as a defense against attack. The underground city we ventured down had 6 levels open to the public, but 10 levels altogether. We went down some 60m, and it was almost cold; a lovely feeling because above ground it was hovering around 33 degrees. It was quite a chilling feeling thinking that whole communities sheltered here when under attack, not venturing to the surface for weeks, and sometimes months. It must have been so dark, and so awkward having to cook, wash and head to the toilet all underground.CIMG1257

Before lunch our friendly group of five, two Americans, a Mexican, C & Dad hiked a leisurely 4km down the picturesque Ihlara Valley. Our hike culminated in a lunch of fresh trout at a local restaurant. The restaurant had raised platforms that were actually in the creek where we ate our tasty lunch.

We also took a balloon ride for the memory book at the crack of dawn. Rather expensive at 390US$ for the 2 of us, but a once in a lifetime adventure. We were picked up around 3:30am and driven out of town for a quick breakfast, and then dropped off at the launching site. There were balloons everywhere, and captains yelling instructions into the brisk morning air. As the first rays of the sun hit the peaks of the surrounding hills, there was a mad rush to enter the basket and rise into the morning sky. One day I’ll show you the videos and photos, ‘cause I don’t think I can do the experience justice in words.

CIMG1247And then we headed to another world heritage site in Pammukale. It was a bit of a long haul, because we took the night bus… almost 10 hours arriving at 6:30am! I needed you to sit next to, to joke with, and to read you chapter after chapter of a good-fit book for us both.

Still got it!

Still got it!

 

Basically we only had 24 hours in Pammukale, so we made the most of our brief visit. Our first stop was the Hieraplois Archaeological Site. Amazing ancient Greco Roman ruins, an amphitheater/coliseum and the brilliant white springs. Actually the water was not very warm at all… just as well, because it was a rather Cairo-esque daytime temperature in Pammukale. Apparently the springs vary in temperature from 35 – 100 degrees Celsius.

When the hot spring area was declared a World Heritage Site, the hotels were demolished and the road removed and replaced with artificial pools; you wouldn’t know it though, the pools look quite natural. Wearing shoes in the water is prohibited to protect the deposits, and the spring guards were pretty good on the whistle, giving a blow whenever anyone ventured out of bounds.

At Pammukale we stayed in a nice hotel. You would have loved it because it had a pool. We spent a bit of time cooling off, but were basically too busy exploring to spend much time relaxing by the pool. Actually, the morning we arrived, we were far too early to check-in, besides nobody seemed to have woken, so we spent 30 minutes lounging around the pool. At some stage we probably both dozed off, but the owner’s dog gently woke us up, alerting us to the fact that someone was now at reception. The owner very kindly offered us breakfast, seeing as we’d miss it the next morning due to another early start.

Wednesday morning we were up at 3am to ready ourselves for a 3:30am pick-up shuttle! Our flight for Istanbul was at 5:50am! When we arrived in the capital, we still had a whole day of sightseeing ahead of us, so we put our bags in storage and headed for the metro. Our first stop was the Egyptian Bazaar where we bought two splendid lamps, some Turkish delight and a few odds & ends. Dad bought a pair of shoes and C a nice new bag. At the shop we received a good discount, only to discover we didn’t have enough cash to cover the cost. It didn’t matter, because the kind shop assistant and manager agreed to take what we had, so we felt like we scored a real bargain. But then, we realized we didn’t have enough change to get us back to the airport (otosan san wa baka ne!), so the shop assistant kindly gave us her travel card… so unbelievably kind!

So Ophelia, that was Turkey. An amazing country I hope we one day visit together. Luv & licks, Dad… XoXo…

CRAZY QUESTIONS

  • Do you remember Dad being selfish? I’m still selfish in that I cannot let you go… If you want a person’s faults, go to those who love him. They will not tell you, but they know (Robert Louis Stevenson)

 

Friday, July 11th 2014

How’s my Princess? What are you reading this summer? Got any good books you can recommend your Dad? Wouldn’t it be great to sit down and discuss our good reads! Dad has been reading a good deal… it’s nice to be on holiday, and to read late into the evening!

At the moment, I’m reading another Egyptian novel: The Cairo House by Samia Serageldin. I’m 123 pages in and as yet, unsure as to how I feel about the plot & characters. It’s the story of an elite family who were cut down (somewhat) during Nasser’s reign in Egypt, but at page 123, with Sadat in power, the old elite are making a comeback. I’m finding it hard to identify with any of the characters born into such privilege. Not exactly the underdog battling for success… but we’ll see… perhaps I’m in for a surprise in the second half of the book.

I also just finished White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. It’s the disturbing tale of a murderer told in the first person through bizarre letters to a Chinese political leader. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure Indians would agree with me. The main character becomes a driver for quite a powerful local businessman, and gradually realizes that he’s not so much lucky (to have become a driver), but that he’s destined to stay in the chicken coop (the bottom rungs of Indian society). That is, until he kills his boss and flees with a bag of money to build his own fortune. Even so, intriguing and a real pager-turner: 5 stars… I recommend it Phi.

Well, my gorgeous daughter, that’s about it. July, and we’re into the second half of the year; you’re just a few weeks away from your summer break, and you’re just 3 short months from your 12th birthday… time flies… I wish I could share a moment or two with you… Take care, and let’s hope we see each other soon.

Love Dad… XoXo…

P.S. I’ll leave you with another travel quote, this time by Robert Louis Stevenson: “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”

 

Monday, July 14th 2014

Morning Phi. How’s trix this morning? It’s 8:13am and Dad is sitting on our bedroom balcony sweating off my run. Actually it was more of a jog, or should I say slog! It was a tough run but I managed to finish my goal of running for 50+ minutes… I was struggling with the heat and heavy legs, and my breathing (2 steps for every breath in, and 3 steps for every long breath out wasn’t quite helping my rhythm) was a little out of sync. So, who else, what else could I turn to, but YOU. As I plodded along the dusty streets of Cairo I thought of you, and the day that we’ll meet up again. And you my little battler, pulled me over the line.

Guess what I saw while jogging??? A white horse running down the road! How surreal is that? It was quite a sight as it was in full flight and rider-less. No doubt enjoying its freedom; who wants to be a captive anyway? I didn’t have your bravery and horse sense to go galloping after it, but fortunately (or unfortunately) about 20 minutes later I saw the horse trailing behind a car, as its owner sat on the back of the car hauling it home. Both horse and owner looked quite relieved.

Time for some melon, banana, yoghurt, and milk with Dad’s mega-mix cereal. Better make C a coffee too. Would you like something for breakfast Bella?

Love always, Dad… XoXo…

WICKED WISDOM

“Each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it completely.” Piaget

 

Friday, July 18th 2014

Morning Phi. How’s the heat in Tokyo these days. A sweltering 38 degrees Celsius in Cairo today. Fortunately it was my day off exercise this morning, but yesterday I kept to my routine of two days on, and one day off. I was up at 6:30am and ran 52 minutes, did 30 chin-ups and whacked out 100 push-ups… but I’m not sure I could do a single push-up with you, my 11 year old daughter on my back… gone are those days… but the sweet memories are still there. Do you remember running and jumping on my back as Dad did his push-ups?

As I ran yesterday, I couldn’t help but think (again) Egypt is such a peculiar place. Its people, its surprises, its events, its history, does much to keep my mind occupied, but I can never forget you. I ran past bodyguards with pistols, and others with machine guns… I ran past donkey carts pulling trash, or melons, or grapes… I ran past an Aston Martin valued at some $500,000, and a bus with no windows billowing black smoke (held my breath on that one)… I ran past enormous villas with swimming pools in their front yard, and I dodged potholes as I peeked… what a funny old place!

So, yesterday we headed into town to the Japanese library to pick up C’s membership card. Her card wasn’t ready, even though they’d stated it would be ready for pick-up Wednesday… lazy Egyptian sods need to learn a trick or two from efficient Japan! After a bit of questioning, they agreed to try and get it ready after one week… a few more raised eyebrows, and then they decided that they could have the card ready in an hour! Charming efficiency hey!

So, with C’s library card in hand, she borrowed two books, and Dad borrowed Masui Ibuse’s Black Rain (the English version). Thus far it’s the story of a young woman, Yasuko, and her life before, during, and after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th 1945. It’s a good read… I’m keen to read more.

After we returned home, I’ve been doing a fair amount of editing to our letters Phi. I’ve divided them into quarterly entries, to better keep track of my letters. Sometimes when I’m at school, or traveling, or just sitting in a café, I’ll have a sudden urge to write to you, but as all the letters are in WORD docs on my computer, sometimes I have no choice but to email a letter. This new system seems to have me better organized… I hope.

At about 5pm we took the dogs to Wayne & Yoshiko’s for our daily run around on the lawn. We’re babysitting Jasper, Azarea’s little white prince, so Toro has a playmate, although Jasper is not too keen on other dogs (Toro included). For dinner Dad whipped up a potato bake with believe it or not, 6 boiled eggs halved inside; some sausages, onion, garlic, Italian parsley, turmeric, S&P, and cream did the trick.

C has been doing some volunteer translating for CPR Japan, so Dad is trying to do at least some of the cooking… and ensuring there’s enough left-overs for lunch! At the moment, Chinami is working on a 30 page letter from a left-behind parent from Morocco. God bless her… XoXo…

It’s not easy for women to live here in Egypt. I’m sure my female friends long for a place where you do not constantly lose the battle against dust, rudeness, sexual discrimination, racism, and bakshish; for freedom from watchful male eyes. I think my C just seeks anonymity, and an uncomplicated existence.

Luv you Bella… XoXo…

FAST FACT

  • The heaviest I’ve ever weighed was 84kg; for pretty much the past 10 years I’ve weighed about 75 kg… I wonder what I’ll weigh after we return from an all-inclusive meals/drinks deal with a hotel in Dahab on the Red Sea???

 

Saturday, July 26th 2014

G’day Phi. Well, I missed you on this trip! We went snorkeling, snorkeling, SNORKELING!!! Very early this morning we flew back from Sharm el Sheikh international airport. We had stayed for 5 days at Dahab on the Red Sea. Dahab is a bit of a lonely outpost that sits opposite Saudi Arabia, the lights of which we could see in the evening. At one point in time, it may have been a hippy haven 100km north of the glitzy Sharm; it kind of has that easy-going, laid-back feel about it, especially the town centre.

It was a great holiday to recharge the batteries. The hotel we stayed in would have been perfect for you. There were quite a few kids, and in particular a Dutch family with three daughters would have gladly included you for their all day play around the pool and pier. It was also fully inclusive, that’s breakfast, lunch & dinner… and drinks!

The snorkeling was excellent. I would have loved teaching you some water confidence as we explored the reef. The fish weren’t huge, but there were thousands of them and so many species, colours and shapes. Every day we snorkeled for 40 minutes or so, 3 or 4 times a day. One day we even awoke at 6:30am for a snorkel before breakfast. Each day we pretty much followed the same schedule of snorkeling, eating, snorkeling, a shandy (half beer and half lemonade), reading, snorkeling and dinner with our new friends.

With all the food included, two evenings I went for a run, did my 30 chin-ups and 100 push-ups, just to maintain a little balance. One morning we walked to the Blue Hole, a monstrous deep hole in the reef that drops off the shore at an angle of perhaps 85 degrees. It was too deep to even see the bottom, but as it was circular, we swam around the edges marveling at the coral and fishes. The mountains directly behind us were baron of any vegetation, but I spotted a few camels on my evening run. What a contrast, hey!?

We met a British couple, Peter & Sharmayne T who we dined with most evenings. He is a semi-retired teacher/writer, who has written no less than 30 books! Sharmayne has a little food catering business, and they were just delightful to chat with. I think I’ll send my first few chapters of the story I’ve been writing for you (and my students) to him for his professional opinion. Peter & Sharm were really interesting & welcoming… we might even visit them at some point in the UK, and I’m going to set up a Skype session at school so my kids can ask him some questions about writing.

On our last evening we wandered into Dahab itself. Again not too many tourists, and the usual touts testing one’s patience, but not as bad as Luxor or the pyramids. We went to a recommended Thai restaurant for dinner, perched on the roof-top taking in the Red Sea and good Thai cooking. Just perfect… well almost, you weren’t there with us.

Love you a bunch, and hope we can holiday together soon. Love always, Dad… XoXo…

WICKED QUOTE

“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they’ll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them – actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can’t give up because if you give up, you’ll never find your soulmate. You’ll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”  – Marilyn Monroe

 

Friday, August 1st 2014

Hey Bella, how’s life in sunny Saitama? Are you keeping fit? Running, swimming, skipping, playing soccer??? One has to be proud of those mighty Japanese female soccer players.

I had my 10km run along the Corniche this morning. That’s the main road that runs along the mighty Nile. Friday morning is pretty peaceful as it’s the start of the weekend, and they’re (the Egyptians) all having a sleep-in before call to prayer around midday. The only problem is the stray dogs; they don’t seem to take any time off from chasing your Dad! Whenever I run streets, I carry a few mandatory rocks to be used as missiles should the aggressive variety of canine come sniffing Dad’s backside.

So, once again sitting here on the balcony with my juice and a big bowel of melon enjoying my b’day subscription to The Age online; that’s Dad’s newspaper of choice from Melbourne, Australia. Checked my emails and read that Hadyn and Ted are coming to Cairo! Yipee! Hayd is taking Ted to the centenary ANZAC celebrations at Gallipoli, Turkey, and as Ted’s father trained here in Cairo before joining WW1, Hayd thought he’d see if Ted was up to a visit. Ted said, “Yes,” so they’ll come for a short visit at the end of their trip for just a weekend, arriving Friday, May 1st, and departing for Oz Sunday May 3rd. Hope it’s not too hot!

Day-light saving started again last night (after Ramadan), so our clocks were put forward an hour which will make jogging that bit cooler each morning. That’s good news for me, but with all the chopping and changing, I’m sure everyone else in Cairo is going bananas each time the authorities change the official time.

Wayne, the school superintendent came for dinner last night. I did a lasagna and a halumi, tomato, basil and olive salad; and C created some custard cream fancy deserts. It was a nice night, sitting here on the balcony sipping a few cold beers. The beers have gone up 50 cents each after Ramadan… curious!? Wayne’s family (Yoshiko and the kids, Sam & Maya) arrive back from Japan tomorrow, and we’re all back at school August 6th (pretty early huh? I imagine your summer vacation is only really just starting). Most of the new teachers fly in today, and start their orientation tomorrow (Saturday)… it was just a year ago that I flew into Cairo. Time flies, in some ways, and stalls in others… I’ll let you decide.

Yesterday we went into downtown Cairo on the metro. Each ticket only costs 1LE, which is about 15 yen. C borrowed a few JP books from a JP association, then we walked through Tahir Square (where all the protests took place). Previously it was barricaded by concrete blocks not too dissimilar to the tsunami walls in Japan to prevent the protestors from assembling in their 100s of thousands. It’s the square you might have seen on TV, where the biggest protests took place. Not much to see actually, and the metro station beneath is still closed. C had located a local artists / souvenir shop that she has frequented a bit in recent months; apparently it’s owned by a French person. We bought some nice handmade glasses, each one different and quite rustic in its unique character, and a few odds and ends as decorations. I’m looking forward to eventually getting back to Japan and our own home in Tokyo… it will be ever so nice placing these bits and pieces into chosen places around the house & garden. It will be nicer still, showing you around our home… ready for some gardening? I expect there’ll be a lot to do! Let’s make you a bed, choose some curtains and extras, and together we can decorate a bedroom for you. How does that sound Phi?

Getting warm here on the balcony… might be time for a shower and to head indoors.
Love always, G&C Morice.

DO YOU REMEMBER…

One of my favourite memories with you is searching for Totoro up in the mountains behind Numazu. We were so certain we had glimpsed Totoro… even Dad used to dream of Totoro. I think we ought to head back to that magical park, and search one more time together… if we both believe, all good things will come true… good things like Totoro.

 

Friday, August 8th 2014

Morning Bella.

Another run up at CAC this morning, 30 x chin-ups, 100 x push-ups, and 100 x sit-ups. Trying to stay in reasonable shape before cross country starts in a couple of weeks with the middle school and high school kids. It’s going to be a whole new experience as the finals are going to be held in Vienna this year! Can you believe it Phi, I’ll be chaperoning a team of runners to Austria!

The other day, I enjoyed serving at the bar at Wayne’s as a welcome party for the new teachers to CAC. They seem like a good bunch, and are all very excited about the next 12 months in Cairo.

And last night, Thursday, August 7th I was behind the bar again to welcome back the whole faculty to the 2015/16 academic year. It’s kind of special serving at the bar, because if you recall from my previous letters, Wayne & Dad built the bar one weekend last year.

Time to help C with the sweeping and moping of the floor. Three large bedrooms and too much Cairo dust & sand! Wanna help?

Love Dad… XoXo…

WONDER WALL

I wonder if you’ve kept your beautiful manners and willingness to volunteer and help out where needed. I hope you’re helping with the setting/clearing of the table, washing the dishes, and doing a bit of the cooking from time to time too… but of course you are, aren’t you? Pleases & Thank yous are for winners and grinners too!

 

Saturday, August 16th 2014

Hey Runner, how’s your sporting life going?

Yesterday (Friday) at 6am I ran with the Maadi Runners for the second consecutive week; ran for 85 minutes, most likely around 15km. Not a bad clip, and enjoyed running with the front couple of runners. Last week Dad ran for 72 minutes and probably about 13km. They talk in miles, so it’s hard to know. The Maadi Runners are quite a big group; yesterday there were probably 20+ runners. They go for a run, and then enjoy breakfast together every Friday morning.

After running, on both occasions I went into CAC to meet my new colleagues, Todd & LeeAnn, to go over the curriculum. Also, last Saturday we went to Wayne & Yoshiko’s for a bbq. Toro just loved running around on the lawn. He’s getting quite big now; bigger than we expected.

Recently, we’ve been experiencing many blackouts with the electricity going out 6 or 7+ times a day. Oddly, each blackout lasts roughly an hour, so we’re without power for more or less 7 hours a day. It’s horrid at school, even though the generators are suppose to kick in. Fortunately, Wayne (superintendent) has graciously allowed male teachers to wear shorts, so I’m rather enjoying that aspect of the equation.

The kids started back at CAC just a few days ago (Wednesday, 13th August). I have 19 students, a good mix with Americans and Egyptians in the majority, but I also have a Korean girl & boy, a Japanese girl, a Spanish boy, a Mexican girl, a Japanese/Singaporean boy, an Indian boy & girl, a Syrian boy… and that might be it…

Love you Gorgeous… Dad… XoXo…

WICKED QUOTE

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

― Albert Einstein

 

Saturday, August 23rd 2014

G’day Possum. How’s trix in hot, HOT Saitama!?

This morning we met the troops at CAC and went to Carre Four (the big French supermarket chain) for a big shop-up. We spent 1100 LE, which seems like a lot (actually, it’s only about 18,000 yen) in this country considering C pays about 1LE (about 15 – 18 yen) for a kilogram of tomatoes at the local markets. We enjoyed a coffee at Costa Coffee with our good mate Juana Nolasco, and Zoe & Todd (a new teaching couple to CAC). After our many purchases, we came home had a nap, and this evening we’re going on a felucca up & down the mighty Nile with Jan & Beth, our wonderful neighbors.

Last Monday at 4:40pm, we met Mr. Mortada and we were shown an apartment… what another move??? Yep. Let me explain, it’s almost comical what has happened, but at the time, nobody was too happy:

A couple of weeks back, the landlord decided they would save money and have concrete poured from 11pm on a school night. They’re a tad eccentric and oblivious to their tenants’ feelings; this particular incident was the last of several frustrating happenings. Anyway, we were in bed (or I was) at the time, when suddenly a big diesel motor started up outside our bedroom window. The noisy hydraulics were stabilizing the truck-crane, and then the concrete was pumped up to the fifth floor. “Boom, broom, broom, BOOM, greck, Greck, GRECK!!” Four long hours later, the last of the concrete made its way to the roof, and at 3am, finally all was quiet. Needless to say, we tenants weren’t too happy with our sleepless night (and the thought of an early start at school), and CAC have decided to move us all out of the building. I can’t imagine the landlord being too joyful about all their tenants moving on, but, they’ve only got themselves to blame for their curiously inconsiderate actions. So, C & Dad are moving again!

Anyway, we went and looked at an apartment quite near CAC. Tragic inside, but it’ll be fine once it has had a paint of coat and a sweep. The windows seem to seal nicely, so hopefully that will spell less dust inside.

Love & licks,

Dad… XoXo…

FLASHBACK

You were a very cool 2 and 3 year old. You loved putting on sunglasses, fashionable or not, and putting on a cool face for the camera.

 

Friday, September 5th 2014

G’day Phi, how’s life in Nippon? No blackouts I hope! The blackouts here are getting rather tiresome!

Last Friday (29th August) was Mel’s b’day. She had booked a huge cruiser on the Nile for 3 hours. We all met around an hour before sunset, bringing our own wine & food to share. It was a lovely evening chatting with friends watching Cairo float by.

Then on Saturday, a group of us (Rick, Wayne, Jan, Scott, and myself) went into Old Maadi to purchase wood for the Wednesday Woodies building projects. I’m going to put together a bench/set of shelves for the kitchen, and create a pair of bench legs for a huge coffee table.

Well Buddy, sorry it’s just a quick letter… write again soon… Love Dad… XoXo…

A DAD VIDEO

I’ve probably sent you this link before. A friend from Saint Maur recently reminded me of this fun Japanese Day where a group of us did one of our crazy dance routines for the kids. Enjoy a Dad Video, a JP mama-chari vid:

http://vimeo.com/63546092

 

Tuesday, September 9th 2014

G’day Phi. How’s trix? In just one month’s time you’ll be turning 12… WOW! Hard to believe, as most of the images that float through my mind are of you between 0 and 8 years of age…

Today we (that’s Mighty 5M – Dad’s homeroom class) began the year with the year’s first assembly. Over the past few weeks we’ve been putting together a video clip of teachers dancing behind students, just as we did back at Saint Maur, Yokohama. My students loved producing it, and as they had kept it a total secret, the kids, parents, and teachers in the audience went wild with surprise when they saw what we had put together.

It was only a half day for some, as the students went home at 11:30am, and then Dad led the Science Accreditation Team through the long afternoon. Initially (going back several months), I was quite worried about leading a bunch of specialist middle school and high school science teachers through the accreditation process, but they’ve been a pretty solid group, and it has proved mostly smooth thus far.

Monday Dad did a 2km time trial with my x-country kids running in at 7min 3 sec; I’m a little fearful the course was 200m short, as I didn’t think your Dad could run those times any more!!!

On Friday, Jan & Dad went up to school to finish up the legs for a coffee table. You see, we bought a door, yes, a door, and months ago I created a wicked coffee table out of it. But the legs were recycled wood, full of holes, and Toro had taken to chewing parts of them, so it was time to create something a little more respectable. The door’s design was created by a local Egyptian artist. He painstakingly hammered thousands of tacks into the door creating a very cool Arabic design of geometric shapes and free-flowing Arabic lettering. So, with the wood I purchased in Old Maadi, Dad is putting together a pair of bench legs for the would be coffee table. Unfortunately Dad broke Rick’s roller door… so Jan & Dad spent the better part of 60 minutes taking it apart, and putting it back together so that it functioned once again.

Then, I started to feel a little unwell, and by early afternoon I was in bed, and pretty much spent most of the weekend in bed recuperating

On Thursday evening we had a few drinks at Sarah & Rick’s new place, and then we went back to Azarea’s apartment for the evening. There have been continuing mass power outages all over Egypt, and the latest blackout has curiously blown the water pump in our building; so we’ve had no water! Yeah, no showers, and of course it makes it rather difficult to flush the toilet!!

Well Phi, fancy a woodwork class with your Dad? We could build another deck together! Remember helping Dad with Bonnie & Phil’s deck in Jiyugaoka? Love Dad… XoXo…

WICKED QOUTE

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

― Dr. SeussHappy Birthday to You!

 

Monday, September 30th 2014

G’day Phi. Two weeks until my not so little Princess has another birthday… a 12 year old daughter… what a gift… just wish I could give you a hug, a present or three, and my heart.

We’ve just had a busy but productive weekend. Last Sunday, September 22nd, we moved apartments. We now live on Road 207, Maadi, which is much closer to the school, and after all our (mainly C) work this past weekend, our new flat finally feels like a home. The curtains are up, the shelves are up, and our boxes are unpacked. I like the place, and so does Toro. Toro can see directly out the window onto the street, and that seems to please him very much. He sits by the window for long periods, never barking, just taking it all in. He can see the landlord’s beautiful garden out one window, and their swimming pool out another. At Road 12, our former flat, the windows were set higher, so he couldn’t see anything but the blue Cairo sky, and the sand blowing in from the desert.

Mauricio, my Chilean mate from Saint Maur, Yokohama, arrives this Friday from Istanbul. He’s been teaching at an international school in Turkey for at least four years now. We’re planning to go to the Lebanese restaurant together. Would you like to join us?

Well, that’s the rap. Another chapter in my correspondence to you… hope you’re reading along Bella… LOVE Dad… XoXo…

ANOTHER DAD VIDEO

Feel like dancing? Dad & AKB48… revive the memories:

http://youtu.be/P2e6j1P6p1s

 

 

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