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 24, 2012

In the Now

 I've always wanted to be a rock star.  This was our moment!
These Egyptian girls were on a school field trip from outside of Cairo.
They were super excited to see American tourists and practice their English!
Oh, bidding season.  It's come and gone for us already (unlike some of my other FS/DS spouse friends who are still waiting to hear where they'll be packing up for next summer).  And while ours was pretty easy - hey, we're headed back to the U.S. for our next round! - the next 7-ish months until we move aren't easy.

Because it's soooo hard to stay in the "now."  And at the risk of sounding whiny --- it's especially difficult right now in Cairo.  As the Egyptian President pretty much declares supreme overlord power and Egyptians take to the streets in protest, we watch and we wait.  What will happen to Egypt in the next few months?  What have been the real results of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011?  Was the Arab Spring all for naught?  What do Egyptians really want when they say "freedom"? Ug.  So many questions, so few answers.  And an uncertainty for all of us here.  And it's not my country.

I don't know really what's right or wrong here or how to fix it.  I just know that I'm here, stuck in the middle of it, but unable to do anything about it.

As I think about our next move, next summer!, I love all the possibilities it holds.  I love looking forward to where we're going to live, researching the DC/NoVa area.  I love contacting friends who live there and making plans for a Starbucks get-together.  All these plans swirling in my mind.  And I realize how much I miss home.  How much I appreciate being an American in America.  And how much I am looking forward to our return.

So yeah, it's difficult right now.  And it's so difficult to live in the now and not the future.

But it's Thanksgiving weekend and I am thankful.  Thankful for this opportunity to witness history in the making here in Cairo.  Thankful for friends who came together with us to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family.  Thankful for all we have, our home, our families, our jobs.

Last weekend, we headed to Al Azhar Park in Cairo.  It was a beautiful, clear day with perfect weather.  The kids needed some frolic time in some green space (hard to find here) and the adults needed to get out as well.  We hooked up with some friends and caravanned to the park - about a half-hour or so away.

I hope that when we finally leave Cairo next summer I won't only remember the harshness of the political situation here, or the riots in the streets.  I hope the first things that come to mind will be days like this that we enjoyed here.  A day where we weren't on edge or anxious, where we relaxed and enjoyed the culture and the hidden beauty of the city.

Relaxed and enjoying the view.
We could even see the Giza Pyramids in the distance that day!

The girlies enjoyed the restaurant we dined at.

The boys refuse to smile.
The view of The Citadel was divine.

The girlies looking out at The Citadel.

Oh, food! 

Hailey is 4 years old.  Kellen the Giant Toddler is 2 years old.  Love this.

Boys practice their balancing.
This is the only public park I've seen in Cairo.  And it had an entrance fee.
I'm sure there are more, but this is the only one we've come across.

The kids were so happy to have green space!
They spent part of the afternoon tumbling down this hill.

The end to a perfect day.

Owen photo bombs a  family photo of our friends!

And David (behind my right shoulder posing as an extra husband)
photo bombs our family photo!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It was Better Than Prom and Dude!! We Know Our Next Assignment!

Just like prom.  But better!

If you're posted at a U.S. Embassy somewhere in the world, then you probably have some Marines.  Here in Cairo, we have a fairly large Embassy and hence a good-sized Marine Security Guard.

So of course, that means celebrating the Marine Corps 237th Birthday!  Yes, we went to the Ball.  And yes, it was awesome.  In fact, it was way better than prom ever was.

I mean, I already had a date lined up!  I didn't have to wait to be asked or ask someone to go to the dance with me.  No awkward end-of-the-night do we kiss?! or just hold hands?! moments.  And my parents totally approved of this guy a long, long time ago.

Plus, I hardly ever break out any more, so I didn't have to fret over any zits.

I took an entire day off of work to get my pretty on.  Nails, brows, lunch with a friend.  I had bought my dress last summer when we were in the U.S. on R&R.

View from the hotel!
We asked our fabulous nanny to spend the night with the kids (!!!  YES!  NO KIDS FOR LIKE 24 hours!!!) and we got a hotel near the embassy with some friends.

Here's what we celebrated:

The Marines!  Looking mighty, mighty fine.  Happy Birthday!
 And who we celebrated with:

Out with our friends.  Wait! Wrong spouses!!

Nope.  That's not quite right, either!

Yes!  Me with the fab hubby and our friends Dave and Krista.

Sparkly!  Sassy.

Girls just wanna have fun.
Dessert.  Always my favorite.

Fab hubby is some mighty fine arm candy. 

That's us.  Being adults.  We made it all the way to 11:00PM before
we left the party.  What can I say?  We're old.

What I failed to mention before writing all about the fabulousness of our night is that earlier in the day we found out where we're headed in Summer 2013, when we finish our Cairo tour.  The fab hubby accepted a handshake to:

Yes!  We're headed back to the good ol' U.S. of A.  Someone, please call Starbucks.  Let them know I'm coming back.  Plan for now is two years in Washington, D.C.  But, of course, y'all know how that can change.  And for all my friends out there who are still bidding, I'm thinking about you.  Bidding season is no fun.

Know what is fun?  Coming home the day after the Marine Ball. All relaxed and rejuvenated.  Especially when you find out the toddler didn't sleep but a few hours the night before.  And when we walked into the house, we found this:

Dang.  He's so sweet when he's sleeping.