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.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Finding Thanks(giving)

At this very moment, as I blog about our Thanksgiving in Egypt, I was supposed to be getting my tan on at the Red Sea.  We had spent the past two months planning a sweet vacay to Hurghada, a super nice (at least I've been told) beachy resort on the Red Sea.  
A thanksgiving meal I didn't have to cook!

However, things in Cairo have been heating up politically, and there are thousands, actually tens of thousands, of people marching in Tahir Square right now.  You probably wondered why I didn't acknowledge it last week in my blog? Or maybe not.  But in any case, I had really hoped that most of it would be resolved by now.  Until this past Wednesday, we were still planning on traveling. But the violence escalated and we didn't feel comfortable leaving the area with so much going on.  Plus the first elections are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, and we would have been traveling back from Hurghada on Tuesday.  Too much was unpredictable.

It's not the first time we've seen demonstrations in Tahir Square since our arrival, but it certainly is the biggest.   In the past, most demonstrations started on a Friday afternoon and simmered down by the following evening.  But this time it's big, and it correlates with the upcoming elections.  And this time, it's also considerably more violent.  But I'm not writing about my political thoughts or the position I take about the role of the police or the military in Egypt.  It's not my place and you can make your own decision about all of this by watching the news and pouring through all the media sites, if you like.

But I will tell you...I was disappointed about not going on vacation.  In the middle of all of this I was selfishly upset about having to cancel it.  I know. I know. I KNOW. I shouldn't be.  So much is going on that is seriously much bigger than myself.  But it's honestly how I felt.  We had planned this for so long and hyped up the kids about it.  The beach.  Getting out of the smoggy city and enjoying the fresh sea area.  Playing on the sand and getting away from the noise.  Spending time together as a family.  Selfish. Selfish. Selfish.  I never claimed to be perfect.  And my gut told me to get over myself.  But I was disappointed.

Thanksgiving had been put on the back burner since we had planned to travel the morning after.  So we didn't plan a dinner at home.  We're not super traditional about Thanksgiving, anyway.  But kids were looking forward to the turkey I had no plans on cooking.  Plus - and I hate putting this out there on my blog - my birthday is next week and the vacation was actually sorta my birthday wish.  I miss the ocean (and California, I admit it!) and this was going to be my little slice of heaven.  *insert grumpy tantrum face here*

But in the midst of all my whiny angry stomping about the loss of our vacation came the realization - the actual realization - of all that I am thankful for, over the weekend that was supposed to be something else...

1.  The fab hubby is not in Iraq this year.  Last year we were separated by thousands of miles and we spent both Thanksgiving and my birthday apart.  And while I had wonderful friends and family with me last year, I still remember the heartache of missing my husband and the kids missing their dad.  No turkey planned for cooking this year, but we did get time as a family together this year.  I can't think of anything better than that.

2.  Kellen was sick with the chicken pox.  But my thankfulness is that it was mild and that he got over it quickly.  And I don't know how well sand would do scratching against his sore little poxes and (begrudgingly) I'm thankful that I didn't have to make the decision to keep him off the sand.  It was made for me when our vacation was cancelled.

3.  We spent Thanksgiving with friends and ate out for our turkey dinner.  No cooking, no clean-up, no decorating needed!  The local American club had a lovely dinner and we enjoyed our time there that night.  And all the Thanksgiving dinner photos are courtesy of a friend as well!  All of which was especially nice because...

4.  I got sick with an upper respiratory infection on Thanksgiving day.  I went to bed that night with a stuffy nose and a pounding sinus headache.  And woke up with worse congestion and a super disgusting runny nose.  And the fab hubby made it so I got to sleep away the entire morning AND he made me breakfast in bed.  If we had gone on vacation, I would have spent the entire 5-hour drive whining and complaining about how miserable I felt.  Instead, I got to spend that time in a warm, cushy bed, eating pumpkin pancakes and drinking a pumpkin spice latte.

Hello, sweetheart. We missed you.
5.  Our car arrived on Thanksgiving morning.  That's right - it arrived right to the front of our building and I signed the papers accepting the vehicle at 9:00am that day!  I am now driving in Cairo with the best (or the worst?) of them.  It is awesome being able to drive again.  Makes it feel even more like home here.  Over the weekend we took the kids out for burgers and then for a drive through the Waadi recreation area.  It still turned out to be a great weekend for them, even though there was no beach involved.

So, really!  The weekend wasn't at all what I had planned, but it still somehow turned out to be wonderful.  We finished it off by spending an evening with some friends and eating some yummy food.  And then, just as my evening was unwinding, the new sweet little puppy fell asleep on my lap and reminded me how wonderful things are here for us.  We really do have so much to be thankful for.  Our family is together, we have great friends, and we have a lot of exploring of Egypt to do yet.  We'll get out to the beach soon enough. 

We'll watch history in the making this week, when Egypt has the first round of its elections.  There are things much, MUCH, bigger than myself going on right now, and we're somehow in the middle of it, watching all of it unfold.  And while it can be scary at times, I am truly thankful to be a part of it, experiencing it, right here in Cairo.

The chef loves our munchkin.

All together (except for the big kids who were running
around on the playground!).  My puffy face is
because this was the beginning of the sick. Which
got me breakfast in bed the next morning!


  1. Love it! We have elections this coming week, too. It is certainly fun times to be abroad! :) I love your positive spin on stuff! (And happy early birthday!!!)

  2. Happy Birthday and glad you had a nice Thanksgiving! Wishing you beach time soon :) Enjoy the new freedom of a car at post- glorious! And stay safe ;)

  3. This was one of my favorite posts I've ever read anywhere in blog land, ever! So honest and real and so like me - I am SURE we'd be best buds if we were neighbors! :)