Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's Just Regular Life. Really.

Mmmm...a delicious, normal, caramel
macchiato.  Just not a Starbucks.
We've been in Cairo a little over one month.  I think one more month and we're something like official veterans of Cairo.  At least to all the new people still arriving from other places.

I don't know what I was thinking when we lived in Ohio, but somehow I thought living in Cairo would feel more...exciting, exotic, exuberant, existential?  Like it would be one long vacation?  In any case, I really really thought it would feel different.

But the longer we're here, the more I realize it's pretty much regular life.  I wake up, take a shower, drink a coffee, harp on the kids about getting on the bus on time.  Kiss the baby, go to work, see some patients.  Each lunch or go to the gym.  Gripe about the 2:00pm "OMG.  I ate too much and I need a nap."  Don't get a nap, see some more patients, wonder what's for dinner.  Talk about the weather ("Sunny today, eh?"), eat a snack, pack up my stuff.  Go home, kiss the baby, eat dinner, help the kids with the homework.  Watch a bit o' TV with the hubby, set the alarm, go to bed.

Really.  Normal. Regular.  Day-to-day patterns.

Then I think about it some more.  Really, it is different, right?  I mean we talk about things here like vacationing at the Red Sea over the Eid (holiday), traveling to Luxor for a weekend, and flying to Cyprus next year (fingers crossed).  But we say it as simply as if we were flying to Walt Disney World for a week.  We make statements like "Call a driver so we can go shopping" and "Does our (seriously awesome) nanny/housekeeper take the baby to shop or does she have the boabs get the stuff delivered?"

But we also worry about the recent violence and the rioting the streets, checking our emergency radio and making sure we have supplies for a safe haven and a plan for evac, should the needs arise.

And on the flip side, I get to ride to work with the fab hubby every day and we get to eat lunch together.  After he spent that year in Iraq, I'm glad to have this kind of new normalcy.

I find myself saying "Alhamdulilah" (praise be to God) when things happen like...my espresso machine FINALLY arrives via USPS.  A full month after I shipped it from the States.  Sure, it was beat up and broken, truly destroyed.  But it arrived.  Or when the commissary has actual bacon in the refrigerated case.  Mmmm...bacon...Alhamdulilah...

And that dinner I'm wondering about around 4pm when I'm finishing up at work?  Our (seriously awesome) nanny/housekeeper makes the best stir fry.  Ever.  And seeing as how I am quite possibly the worst cook in the world, I am thankful every day for this.

Let's see.  I've observed pick-up trucks with slabs of meat stacked up in the flatbed with men sitting on top of it smoking cigarettes (apologies for not taking a photo).  While it was driving 50 miles and hour down the road, zigging in and out of traffic.  I've seen cars drive on the sidewalk.  I've seen women sit side-saddle on motorcycles holding on to children in each arm.  At first it was, honestly, a little shocking.  But now?  It's just part of the day to day.

Donkey carts. Camels. Goats in the street.  McDonald's, TGIF, Chili's --- all delivered directly to our house.  Drinking only bottled water.  Water shutting off, no water, then water forcefully spraying through the faucet and soaking me.  No cable; only satellite.  Riding the metro subway and trying to read all the signs in Arabic and relaxing when I realize that it's also written in English.

Oh, Alhamdulilah!  Lots and lots of chocolate and pastry shops.  And fresh local bread delivered to our door twice a week.  

Now lots of this sounds different, huh?  Like all exciting, and crazy, and hyped up!?  

But somehow, it's just not.  Somehow it all, the good and the not so good, becomes 'regular' life.  Normal.  Just...life.

Then I think, that maybe, just maybe...this might be the key to getting through and enjoying life in different countries.  We're only here in Cairo for two years, and who knows where two years from now*. 

If it's all exciting, crazy, and hyped up!, how will we ever get to just enjoy life?  It HAS to be regular, normal life.  It's not that I don't appreciate it all.  Because I do.  I really, really do.  I just think that I appreciate it more because it is regular, normal, day-to-day life.  At least for us.  

Whatever 'normal' is. We have it here.

Just another 'normal' nap.

[*Please let our next assignment be hot, near the ocean, and sunny year-round.  If you're reading this, State Department, make note of Heather's wish list.  Thank you.] 


  1. Funny how it can be like that...just normal. That's good, though and so glad you are enjoying it!

  2. great post! it is a funny feeling when you realize both how normal and yet totally different and wonderful your life is.

  3. Exactly how things are starting to feel for us in Moscow, and we too just passed the one month mark. And I have to say, the bread delivery sounds really nice!