Monday, October 3, 2011

Dubai 9 AM today

Lovely cool morning. Dropped F off at nursery and I am now at the playground with L near our hotel. She was a bit feverish yesterday so decided to keep her at home today and check out the clinic here at the mall. Luckily there are about 5 kids for L to play with!

Monday, September 12, 2011

In Dubai!

I arrived in Dubai with the girls! Husband will follow 2 wks later. Day 1 of nursery of Femke; the other one will start Sunday. It is hot and humid!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Goodbye Cairo, Hello Dubai

Just a quick message.. we're moving to Dubai per 1 October.. Arthur found a new job.
We're very excited and happy about this opportunity. A nursery for the children is already arranged and end of August we'll check out areas and houses...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Grandma Betsie turns 70- family picture...

Here Betsie, her 4 children Scarlett, Arthur, Priscilla and Pascalle, their spouses John, Meryem, Mario and Michel, and the grandchildren in order of age Luuk, Fee, Nova, Nouk, Femke, Skip and Lente.

Family time.....

...and after the clean-up!

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Wilderness in our Urla garden

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Our babies

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Drawing of Oma Betsie by Femke (3,5 yrs)

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Love this quote...

Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt
US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Perfect toy

I bought this kitchen/diner a few days ago from a friend who has left Cairo.
The kids love it !!

Monday, February 28, 2011


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At beach resort Stella di Mare in Ain Soukna a stranger took pictures of Lente and his son.
He later came up to us and said he had some amazing pictures of Lente and could email them to us.
Here they are.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Family picture

While being in Dubai for 10 days, waiting to return to Cairo, we went to our favorite mall, The Dubai Mall again. We love it because it is one of the few malls where you can walk outside as well, around this lake, located at the Burj Kalifa, the highest building in the world. Because of very hot weather, life is normally spent inside, at least during daytime, but we had very pleasant weather, windy and about 25 degrees.

A view on Cairo

With friends we wanted to have a drink in the top floor restaurant of the Grand Hyatt hotel; we were told by security that children were not allowed in this club. When we got to the top floor, and asked the waiters for a drink, they repeated that children were not allowed. We still managed to take a few pictures. Really beautiful from up here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Revolution in Egypt

On 24th of January we decided we would stay one more year in Cairo, so till Sept 2012. The next day there were peaceful demonstrations in Cairo. On Wednesday we had a play group and discussed how wonderful it would be if Egypt would experience a true revolution, we even discussed what we as expat spouses could do. On Thursday a friend suggested we might bring food to the prisons near where we live, as it was in the news there was a shortage of food there. It was declined by the prison manager; foreigners should not meddle in Egypts' business. On Friday the internet was off and also the mobile phones: a bit scary as we also could not reach the childrens doctor anymore, and we didn't have any landline numbers of friends, colleagues etc. Baby Lente was sick with fever, luckily I could get hold of a pediatrician in a hospital. Arthur went to a pharmacy that evening to get some medicine. My brother in the Netherlands kept us up to date, and said, while Arthur was out, that a curfew was in place ! When Arthur came home safely he said he had sensed something was wrong; the streets were completely empty and all shops closed. We watched the next few days on tv what was going on. At night we barricaded the doors as we feared thieves. Thousand prisoners had escaped (or set free) and we heard rumours looters in big groups are breaking in in houses.
When mobile phones were working again, I phoned all my friends and mums from the playgroup. The majority would be evacuated shortly.
We decided to stay. Our days were filled with meeting up with our German neighbours who have a 2 yr old, playing in our garden, cleaning up, visiting the pediatrician... It was nice to go out for a change and seeing on every street corner neighbourhood watchers, men with sticks and other weapons, prepared to fill in the gap police had left in their safety role. At nights we heard gunshots but later we found out this was the military shooting warning shots in the air.
Then internet is on again. I catch up on all the news from the past week, all the articles on the demonstrations. Also the play group mums have emailed around, where they are, stuck in hotels in cold cities in Europe, their experiences at Cairo Airport, some of them waiting there 27 hours before getting a flight.
Thursday 3rd of February. I hear gun shots very near by, a military tank is driving through our street. Later I find out foreigners were attacked by police. I call Arthur who was at work, we both decide then it is time to leave Egypt. It is not safe anymore for foreigners.
I reserved a hotel room nearby the airport and booked a flight to Dubai. On the way to the hotel we cross a military checkpoint, a scary moment, as Arthur has to show ID, and the soldier wants to check our bags. I see Arthur getting angry with him, but the soldier doesn't speak any English so conversation is impossible. He lets us go. On the road we see many tanks, but also normal cars, heading home as the curfew is on from 4 PM onwards. The hotel parking is full with cars, but the hotel is empty. We order room service and watch CNN. The next morning we see about 10 guests at breakfast. We take the shuttle bus to the airport, only 15 minutes away. The airport is normal busy, I am so happy that this is not a panic evacuation. Our flight is on time. The company has booked a hotel for us. Dubai  is packed with tourists due to the Shopping festival and we are stuck at a hotel far away. In the hotel room I let the emotions of the last 1,5 weeks run free and cry. How long will we be away from home? That night I cannot sleep, I mentally say goodbye to all our things we left in the house, papers, books, clothes, my diaries. Worst case scenario comes in mind: a fire destroys our house, or thieves take anything they can.
In Dubai we are not alone, 5 other families from Cairo are re-located there. Friends of Femke. So we meet up, and have play dates and drink coffee, it is nice to talk to friends about our experiences.
Arthur starts working again. A hotel room is not practical with 2 kids.
I decide to book an apartment from 11 febr onwards. But not much later Arthur phones me, he has approval from the big boss of the company, we are allowed to return to Cairo. Tickets are booked for Sunday 13th February.
On Friday 11th we see live on CNN that Mubarak is stepping down, we can't believe it, are very happy! The next day we can relax and do some shopping. Arthurs Egyptian boss advises us not to return on Sunday but wait a while. We ignore this advice and Sunday afternoon we arrive on Cairo airport, it is quiet and on the main road we don't see any tanks anymore.
We're home.
It feels good.
And we are proud of the Egyptian people. It is a very special time for them.
I hope somehow I can contribute to the post-revolution time. I know we are already supporting 2 families, the driver and our maid; but time will show what more we can do.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lente almost 9 months

So, Lente Annabel, almost 9 months old, at the moment of writing this post sick with a cold, a running nose, coughing, red eyes. 3 nights in a row waking up because of pain? high temperature? just feeling sick?, but daytime she is still happy and exploring the world. Drinks every 4 hours a bottle of milk, and in between she eats fruit, bread, carrots, cucumber, potato puree with zuccini, carrots or peas, is completely excited when daddy comes home from work, or when she hears Femke coming down the stairs, sleeps 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon, is the oldest of the baby playgroup meetings, zero teeth up till now, far behind with her vaccine schedule, is now 2 mornings a week alone with maid Azza while Mommy is going to Arabic classes, a cutie, so easy and independent already.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Weekend trip to Luxor

Last weekend we spent in Luxor, 1 hour flight from Cairo. Our friends, Jan & Esther, had gone there just a few weeks before, and we had become curious to the temples and tombs.
Luxor is the ancient Egypt as you would imagine it to be: tombs, statues, obelisks, Sphinx, giant temples, the Nile... So much different then the Gize pyramids ! Really very beautiful !
The weather was also pleasantly warm for January: around 25 degrees.
We stayed in a little hotel, Mara House, an oasis in the otherwise unattractive and dirty town of Luxor. The town has so much potential, but locals are poor and to our opinion, have gotten lazy because of all the money tourism brings to the town.
Well worth a visit.