Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our Urla house in August 2009

Movers came end of August to pack our things.. Arthur came home early from work and took these wonderful last pictures of our house and garden. We had managed to finish so many small and big projects, like the masterbedroom.

On the photo you can see the masterbedroom in a finished version. The shutters were made by carpenter Nihat bey last minute. When I told him we would leave to Cairo, he promised he would have them ready before our departure..We are very happy with the result (and his price).
Also a photo of our last minute garden project. To fill up the emptiness in the back we bought many plants and trees, and made a walking path as you can also see below.

Below the road that leads to our garage and the wooden balcony of the masterbedroom

If you are interested to see more please visit


or see the slide show below

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baby news (2) & mixed feelings about Cairo

Last Tuesday we had another check at a gynecologist, everything is going well, blood pressure is fine, my weight is now 62 kilo's, and the sex is also clear, a girl!
I need to take extra iron vitamins as my blood results showed anemia.

The only thing that worried me a bit are the triple marker results, to identify the chance on Down syndrome. Because of my age, 37, this is 1 : 160, which is of course higher then when I was pregnant with Femke; it then was 1: 450. So the question was will we do another test, the amniocentesis or not?? I read that they collect amniotic fluid, the liquid that is in the womb by inserting a needle through the mother's abdominal wall into the uterus, using ultrasound to guide the needle. Approximately one ounce of fluid is taken for testing. This fluid contains fetal cells that can be examined for chromosome tests. It takes about 2 weeks to determine if the fetus has Down syndrome or not. My doctor said the risk to the baby is less than 1 %, contractions might occur but in his 35 year career this happened only twice.

With a chance lower than 1 %, 1 : 160, we decided not to do the amniocentesis. My gynecologist said that as a doctor he would want to eliminate any risks and do further tests, but as a human being he would not advice his wife to do further tests, as the risk is very low....

The last month I was on and off ill, a cold, a sinusitis, a bit of coughing, diarrhea, headaches ...Since a few days I feel good again, and full of energy to explore Cairo, the pyramids and do some serious shopping for curtains, furniture and paintings.

Maybe because I was ill, I felt unhappy about living in Cairo; I found it hard to find positive aspects of living here. And then of course I met some women who felt the same, and we were in a negative spiral... Luckily yesterday I ran into a friend from my toddler-mum group, and she invited me to visit her this morning. Sometimes you meet people at the right time; she was actually very positive and optimistic about Cairo and Egypt!! Exactly what I needed, some positive views.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, the Red pyramid, many countries near to be visited (Jordan, Morocco, Tunis), the area where we live Maadi, is green full of high trees plants and flowers, it is safe to take a walk with children, it is according to her much cleaner than another 3rd world country where she used to live, India, and despite 18ml people living in Cairo: not at all that crowded in the streets !! Of course she is comparing to India and is therefor much more positive, but still, I could see things much clearer and objective now.

And let's face it: there is no perfect place in the world. I have to stay positive and happy, not only for myself, but also for Femke and Arthur, so therefor focus on the good things we have here. My friend from Azerbaijan has many more (objective) problems, their container with household stuff is still in Dubai, her husbands boss told him that he has to seek aggressively for another job, so where to go??? Switching school for their 2 girls is her main problem now! Where to to go in the middle of school semester?
So life can be more difficult than my little worries and unhappy feelings...Time for a change!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Curacao May 2009 finally some pictures!

From our holiday to the Dutch Antilles in May 2009, finally a web album is ready!

Please check the following link for that:

Curacao May 2009


And a big thank you for our friends, Jan, Esther, Roel and Mark for their hospitality..
You are masters in hospitality!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Femke in pictures 2 yrs and 2 months

Baby news

So a few weeks ago we had the first check up in Cairo, a doctor recommended by many foreign women. Unfortunately, like in Izmir, we had to wait very long for our turn, so I told the assistant to please give me a realistic view BEFORE I go to the doctor. I mean, with taxi I can be here in 5 minutes, and I'd rather wait in a shopping mall, at home or in a cafe, than in a stone cold waiting room where Femke is being hyper active!! But the doctor seemed well experienced and spoke very well English, he said there is a 60% chance I might need another c-section, but he'll leave it up to me.
Furthermore he said I have to continue my extra progesterone hormones until week 14.
Blood pressure was normal, no weight gain yet (I think I lost 2 kilo's actually) and a healthy baby on the ultrasound. Due date is early May 2010.
It was a special moment to see the baby move, with Femke and Arthur also watching.
We still have to wait for the triple marker test results, to identify the chances for a Down syndrome.
I feel heavy, there is a big belly already, I still am thinking about food A LOT, so I eat every 2 hours, no different things than usual, just more often. I still have to get up at least once in the night to pee. No other symptoms as far as I know, so that is good news! I am not sure if Femke understands already, although I refer a lot to the baby in the belly...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hello Cairo!

It is Tuesday the 27th of October and finally we have settled in our new home in Cairo!

What happened since our last post in June?

Well, we were looking for tenants for our house in Urla; we had 3 real estate agents over, 1 view from possible clients; another one from an English couple whom we knew also were interested but found the place too remote in the end, and then a phone call from a guy who had found our ad in the newspaper website, checked out our own website of the house, and wanted to see the house asap! To cut a long story short, he and his wife loved the house and we came to an agreement. As they were willing to pay the rent for the coming year up front, we could finance and finish many house related projects. On one day I had 15 workers over, really unbelievable but we managed to organise quiet a lot.

Meanwhile we spent a day in Cairo to look for a ground floor apartment in Maadi, a residential area in Cairo. The first house we saw that morning was perfect and I really wanted to have it! So contact was made with the owner to discuss rent price. Although we spent the rest of the day looking at alternative houses, I had set my mind on the first one and a contract was signed within weeks.

Also another fertiliy treatment was started in Summer time, we wanted to give it another try as we knew the procedures, the hospital, the doctor...

It was a busy and hectic period, but finally on the 28th of August the movers came to pack all our things. Femke was at the baby sitters house for the whole day so that I could concentrate on the packing. The team was very good and quick, and because it was fasting period I could not believe they could work whole day without food and water.

That night we spent at Movenpick hotel which coincidently was the Mercure hotel of 7 years ago. When we had just arrived in Izmir 7 years ago, we stayed 3 weeks in this hotel, and so we also spent our last day in Izmir there.

The next day Arthur travelled to Cairo to start working, I travelled to the Netherlands to stay with my mother but also visited Arthurs family. After 1,5 weeks I visited my friend Eva in Aviano, Italy for a few days (more details and photo's later) and travelled from Venice by train to Vienna to visit Sandra, an old friend from Izmir. I will also write something about Vienna later.
Arthur meanwhile had planned a meeting in Como, Italy, and I suggested to meet up in Como to spent as a family one week together as it was holy days in Cairo anyway. The weather forecast for Northern Italy was not good, a lot of rain and thunderstorms, the best was to go further north to Lugano, Switzerland to find dry and sunny weather. More on Lugano in another post.

And then we flew back to Cairo mid September. There we stayed 2 weeks in a hotel as our house hold stuff was not cleared yet from customs. 2 weeks was quiet do-able, and in this period our house was being cleaned and painted and airconditioners placed.

In the Netherlands the pregnancy test was positive; I am 3 months pregnant now. I have already a big belly, it feels very heavy but I did not gain weight at all. I am lucky as so far I don't have any problems, a good appetite and not too tired. We will have a check up this evening so more baby news tomorrow...
Arthur is busy at work, trying to find a way to work in an Egyptian working culture.
Femke is in a nursery, just one block behind our building, 3 days a week. She loves it, and hopefully starting next week she can stay from 8.30 untill 2 or 3 including a nap there...

So, good news from us all!! And more blogs to come as there is much to tell

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Our villa for rent

Please visit the following website to check out our ad for renting the house...


Webalbum Cairo

Visit our webalbum to see more pictures of our visit to Cairo in April.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yes or No to Cairo?

A view on the Nile
During my stay in the Netherlands early April, Arthur got a job offer from his company in Cairo!
Although my first reaction was: NO! , I gave it some thought and decided that it would be fair to go there and have a look before turning the offer down. Quickly a trip was booked and a program made.
As there are no direct flights from Izmir to Cairo, we had a stopover in Istanbul. We travelled light and no luggage to give during customs.
At arrival we would be picked up by a taxi from our hotel... Unfortunately there was no sign with Arthur's name or the company name, and after having waited for half an hour we decided to take a taxi. Not a good start.... We negotiated a price of 22 US dollars for a drive to 6th of October city, a newly developed suburb of Cairo.

Emailed to us was the hotel "Hilton Dreams", but there was no hotel with such name ! There was a Sheraton Dreams yes, but we could not imagine Hilton and Sheraton would be mixed up.
We decided to get out of the car at the Hilton, but there was no reservation on Arthurs or the companies name ! I had forgotten to print out the reservation confirmation, so I asked if I could check my emails and look up the confirmation. Meanwhile the guy at the reception had found several bookings, all in different company names but not THE ONE.

With my confirmation and a booking of someone from "Exxon Mobile" we finally understood: we had a confirmation on paper BUT in the computer Arthur's company name AkzoNobel was mistakenly typed as EXXON MOBILE. We now understood that there must have been a taxi driver waiting at the airport with a sign of this latter company.
I was quite upset with all this and filed a complaint with the manager; we got an upgrade to a junior suite as apology, but our first impression of Egypt was a bit dissapointing.
The view from our room was very impressive though: a large green golf area surrounding the hotel.
The next morning Arthur went to the factory for meetings; I had a long breakfast with Femke, we took a stroll to the swimmingpool, enjoyed the terrace but ended on the balcony of our hotel room as that was the best place for Femke to walk and play and for me to make some notes.
In the afternoon we went with a a real estate agent to see a few compounds in 6th of October city. A house in this suburb would mean that Arthur has only a 10 minute drive to work, compared to 1,5 hours from the city. Although we saw some beautiful compounds, nice houses with swimmingpool etc., I thought that I would be bored to death if I'd had to stay here!!! There is literally nothing if you leave the compound, a road, many cars, offices and factories and the dessert. No nice walking paths, no trees. Emptiness.

That evening we stayed at the Sofitel El Gaza hotel, directly located on the Nile, perfect room, good food, and a beautiful terrace which reminded my of 'Konak Pier' in Izmir.

The next morning we went again with real estate agents to visit properties. This time the suburb Maadi was on the program. A green wealthy area where many foreigners live.

Downside is there are mainly apartment buildings. The ones we visited were huge and quiete good, but the 2 groundfloor places with garden immediately caught our attention.
Yes I could be happy for 2-3 years in a place like this! A ground floor apartment with garden!

Later this afternoon we made a walk into the centre. On foot you have the best impression of the people, the atmosphere, the temperature...

It reminded me of a mixture of places we had seen before: Cuba, Malaysia, Little India in Singapore...

My conclusion: after 6,5 years in Izmir we do wanted a new adventure! We are fortunate to get this job offer in these difficult economic times. Although I am not very enthusiastic about Cairo, I feel I can and will make the best out of it. A city with 50.000 expats, all services available (think of day care for Femke, sports, activities), an interesting country to explore...

Negative points remain: our next house will be much smaller, with a smaller garden, and less privacy, Egypt is more islamic than Turkey which means more women wear headscarfs which gives a strange view in streets, did I already mention I will miss Izmir/Turkey/my house/my garden?

Friday, February 27, 2009

1,5 yrs old!

Femke turned 1,5 years old, 18 months to speak still in baby age time... She now weighs 10,9 kilo's and is 80,5 cm tall. Compared to her birth facts: 4 kilo's and 50 cm!!
I just felt 2 more teeth coming out, besides the 5 she already has...She is doing great, really communicating with her mouth now, ofcourse 99,9 % is not real words, but still, she is trying.

Arthur found an old picture of her and it is magical... We compare it to Vermeer's Girl with Pearl Earring.. Now a large size canvas is hanging in our living room.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

20+ words!

Femke turned 17 months today and we thought it was time to count all the words she can say... Here we go:

1. Mama

2. Papa

3. Mammi

4. Mimi (when she wanted to suck)

5. Anne (mama in Turkish)

6. Baby

7. Hallo

8. ByeBye

9. Bitti ('finished' in Turkish)

10. Hayriye (name of our cleaning lady)

11. Auto

12. Toetoet

13. Toetje (desert)

14. Ohoh! (when disaster is coming)

15. Hoppala (when she achieves something and is proud)

16. Hoppetjee (see 15)

17. No-no-no

18. Ja (yes in Dutch)

19. Mauw

20. WoefWoef

21. Banaan (Banana)

22. Appel (apple)

23. Aapjes (monkies)

24. Bah (trash, dirty nappies etc)

We cannot get here to say oma (grandmother) or su (water in Turkish)..but this is still very good we think!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Singapore & Malaysia December 2008

It was time for a long and far holiday again! This time to Singapore and Malaysia!
Our webalbum with our most beautiful pictures can be found here:


On short notice more information on what we visited there..