As I sat in the darkened room, I mentally composed the next email I would have to send back home to all my family and friends. It was going to shock them all really dramatically, considering all the lies I told them before leaving, and I was so tickled by this thought that I laughed out loud. The sudden noise must have startled the chickens in the room beyond me and they started up another loud round of cackling. I heard my children echoing my laughter as they cracked up from all the funny sights and sounds around them in the ‘chicken room’ where they were still playing.
It was impossible to compose my next bombshell of an email with all the racket of children and chickens, so instead I turned my memory back to the email I had sent to my father before leaving for Egypt. I had tried to lie to him as little as possible… all of it was true except for the pesky little part about reserving judgement about marrying Mohamed. I fully intended to marry him within hours of my arrival, and the clergyman was booked already for the ceremony! I just didn’t have the heart to tell Dad, or anybody else, for that matter, the whole crazy insane, deliriously exciting truth. This had been the best I could manage, under the circumstances:
Subject: I’m not lost!
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 22:29:37
Thought I was lost in cyberspace, eh?
Well, I was/still am… but I think I’ll go check out the guy on the other end of the line in another week… I know you heard a bit about this already from the rumor mill, but here’s the official version: I’m taking the kids to Egypt on Tuesday, July 27, and we’re returning back home on August 10!
Here’s the actual itinerary just for good measure:
Lv 7/27 from Newark, NJ, 8:30 pm, British Airways flight 184H
Ar 7/28 into London Heathrow at 8:30 am
Lv 7/28 from London Heathrow at 4:45 pm, British Airways flight 155H
Ar 7/28 into Cairo, Egypt at 11:35 pm
We come home after two weeks, can you believe it?!
Lv 8/10 from Cairo, Egypt at 8:45 am, British Airways flight 154H
Ar 8/10 into London Heathrow at 12:00 noon
Lv 8/10 from London Heathrow at 3:05 pm, British Airways flight 185H
Ar 8/10 into Newark, NJ at 5:55 pm
We plan to drive up to Mom’s house the day before the flight out, and we’ll stop there on our way home, too – it saves us almost $1000 to fly out of Newark, and we get a little visit with Mom, too.
We plan to be in a hotel on the beach in Alexandria, Egypt, for the first few days, and then I expect to be at the home of:
Mohamed Abdel Hamid
[Address and phone number removed for privacy]
He’s very sweet, 46, a retired Egyptian High School Principal,
gentleman farmer (chickens!)
With a home on the farm property that he’s currently remodeling, and also has a 4 bedroom apartment in a nearby city. He is also a Canadian citizen and lately became an immigrant from Canada to the U.S. after receivng his green card. However, he’s back in Egypt now after inheriting the family estate in the countryside and that’s why he’s retired at 46. He has been single for three years, and has 4 children. The oldest son is a surgeon at the City Center Hospital, his daughter is a chemistry teacher at a local High School, and of the two other sons, one is a lawyer living in Canada and the other is still at a University in Egypt, studying Business Admin.
Mohamed has asked me to marry him, maybe you heard about that, too… I’m reserving judgement on that subject! I can’t tell you if I’ll have good news or bad, but I think the kids and I are going to have an excellent time for two weeks living like Egyptians and checking out all the sights!
By the way, I did not allow him to pay for our transportation… I don’t want that kind of favor to create any obligation… but he offers us every hospitality while we are there and that was something I agreed to. I have three return tickets, so I feel covered and I’ll just save all the other decisions for later, when we get there and have time to check it all out and see if it matches up… It’s all very interesting, not to mention that he is verrry romantic and sweet, and (hahaha naturally, since I wouldn’t be writing to him if he didn’t…) he professes undying love for me!
Well, on the one hand, I’m very hopeful, of course, but on the other hand, I’m carting around a grain of salt the size of a pyramid… For sure, I’m going to be positively knocked flat if it all works out! I sure hope he’s for real, but even if he’s not, the kids and I are going to have a blast! I’ve got enough in the bank to cover a contingency plan if it happens that it doesn’t work out and I decide to keep myself and the kids in a hotel the whole time. I won’t accept the least bit of pressure, especially not with my kids with me… though I feel sure I’m actually safer with them than without them, just like when we met you and the rest of the family in Rome last month,
I noticed that a woman travelling with her children receives far more respect than a woman travelling solo… and I believe this is even more true in a middle eastern country than in Italy.
So, anyway, we’re excited, to say the least! Sorry it took so long to write. I wasn’t lost, just busy all over the net trying to learn very quickly as much about Egypt as possible.
I love you both and send you millions of hugs and kisses and more email to follow soon
P.S. I’ll call before we leave. I thought I might call tonight but it’s late and I still have one more email to write (yes, I’m sure you can guess to who!)
Here’s a wonderful video found online of Egypt sights:
See what I mean? You’d come here, too, if it happened to you!
P.S. Remember this face, you’re gonna love her: