Ep. 7 – Joyride to Egypt: Oh Please Pinch Me

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photo credits for original computer and original chess game

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I hit “save.“ I hit “print.” I hit “reply.” Then I sat staring at the computer screen until I became dizzy. It was my move in a very strange game of Chess. On the one hand, I really wanted to capture that King, and on the other hand, I am a very bad chess player. It takes foresight to imagine several moves into the future and their possible outcomes, but I can’t even hold three numbers in my head to prepare the right bill for the cashier at the grocery store.

For a woman whose career is in computers, having a math disabilty might seem a tad illogical. I compensated in college with a great memory, and in my job, by reading and keeping every manual and every bit of documentation.

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I don’t have to know how to do everything, I just need to remember where the instructions are… or the calculator, as the case may be! But, helpful as this is in the insane technological race to upgrade our universe, it’s a completely useless strategy for winning at Chess. I actually never read that set of documentation… My daughter once conquered the rubiks cube by memorizing those instructions, but thereafter never touched it again, as it had become ‘boring.’ My takeaway from this lesson is, ‘don’t be too hasty to conquer that King!’

I might have a problem with Math, but I don’t have a problem with Logic!

And I figured out what’s good for this Queen, is doubly good for that King. Speed was probably not the best strategy, here, afterall. Mr. Answer To My Prayers is obviously already traveling at warp 7, and I’m going to get eaten alive!

Being totally unable to devise a cunning strategy for winning this game, I decided to try a different approach. “Honesty is always the best policy,” I could hear my father’s words echoing from my teenage days, traveling at the speed of light to catch up to me now at 40. The words hit their mark, with excellent effect.

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My peace returned to me with that advice, capping my adrenaline back into the pretty glass bottle on my computer hutch, trapping it safe inside like the essence of a genie.

I breathed a long, heavy, and very thankful sigh of relief. This was not a game, and I was no longer interested in winning. I just wanted to tell the truth, to be myself, and enjoy the process of getting to know this very interesting man waiting to receive my next email. My thoughts started dancing as I began to type. Trying my best to stay focused, I wrote my next reply, and sent it sailing into space.

Holding my feet firmly to the ground, I shut down the computer and declined the winks and cajoling of Scheherazade as she slyly tried to pull me into her seductive dance. I blew her out together with the candles, but I let the music continue playing softly as I pulled my bedcovers up around me and I drifted off to peaceful sleep. I couldn’t be sure, but maybe she slipped in beside me sometime in the night, for I dreamed I was sleeping in the hug of warm and gentle arms. But I guess it was more likely Mr. Answer To My Prayers.


Somewhere faraway, in an exotic land called Egypt, it was morning already. The man I was just at that moment dreaming about was already awake, fresh from his sleep, and reading my email. Again, he entwined his words with mine, lovingly, like limbs entangled in lovers’ sleep…

From: Mohamed Abdelhamid

To: Aisha

Date: Fri, 11 June 1999 16:48:51 +0300

Subject: Re: sabah al khair, ya Mohammed ;^))

My dear…… Aisha

So far, so fast, to have this feeling fill my heart about you…. it scares me, please don’t take me up to the sky, because I am scared to fall down under the ground when I wake up from my dream. It is too early to feel my heart full of love for you… and what will I do if you would choose to be there, away from me?? Do I have to die waiting you here?? Or run after you there in some place where I have nothing to offer, and must lose my respect for myself when I work as a Cashier or Driver or Security Guard, because I have nothing there!??!

Aisha wrote:
hahahaha sabah al khair, ya Mohammed, but it is night for me, so
liyya tisbah ala khair!

tisbah + i = tisbahi for saying to a lady

;^)) oh please pinch me, I must be dreaming, are you for real, Mohamed?

You are the one who has to pinch me!
And if you are real why did you keep me looking for you every where all this long time until I almost gave up? And why you didn’t meet me at the beginning when I was 18 years old?

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Oh, be sure I will test you! Hahaha, no I am really laughing because it is too funny that I should meet you. Will you play “20 questions” with me?!!? I really think I’d like to know you muuuuuuuch better….. ;^)))))oh I hope you will enjoy my funny mood tonight, but I want to ask you not to laugh too hard, and consider asking me questions about things you are interested in, and I would like to do the same… In America this is a game called “20 Questions” have you played it?

No I never heard about it

It’s a funny way to get to know each other, and you can be as creative as you like with your questions… (of course vulgarity would be a bad idea!)
Mohamed, I can tell already that you are nice and friendly, and a gentleman with integrity, otherwise I would not continue to write to you. I really am serious about creating a wonderful friendship,

Me too, that is all that I want for my life

because that is to me the fantasy of paradise… Hmmmm and you say you understood my words… Well you are very good with English,

I don’t think so, because you still send me to my dictionary

Wow Mohamed, I’m impressed that you are self taught… Then I think you will tolerate my method for learning, and I would love to know yours! I taught myself passable Greek and did well traveling there… Another wonderful batch of stories, should you actually turn out to be a Sultan for this crazy romantic Scheherazade you are talking to… You better break my heart right now and tell me right away if you have no interest in history and art… Could you share a woman’s interest in Ancient Greece and Rome and Egypt?
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I do, Egypt is the best and richest area in the world for ancient history


hit Refresh to display this! This is actually very important, because I have something to offer the world in this field that I hope to publish on the web and we would never be right, you and I, if you are man with no love of these lands and their histories…I am also interested in Islamic calligraphy, I like working with pen and ink. I also love working with henna, as the girls in India, Pakistan, and Morocco. I love to do a beautiful henna design on my right hand (I’m left handed!)…

Ohhh are you the kind of man, Mohamed, who has time and love for the friendship I have to offer?

That is all I am looking for, and this is why I chose to retire early in Egypt, because I don’t need to work here. So I have all my time for love and friendship

You better tell me the truth and break my heart,

I will never break your heart

now, I will respect your friendship forever if such is the case, but I have learned to go slowly and carefully and truly enjoy the process of getting there… because that is all we will carry with us, if we choose, either one of us, to say goodbye. I want to offer the kind of friendship, and receive the kind of friendship, hopefully, that says Oh I am sooo happy to see you!

I am very sure that you are this kind of wonderful friend, and me too

In fact, I truly hope someday to bring my children, my little world travelers, to Egypt someday… they are ready… and heaven knows, so am I! So, if you are offering friendship, I accept, because hit Refresh to display this! I think I would like to come and visit you someday! Well, I’d really rather meet you here, first, but hahahaha that’s of course if we haven’t broken each other’s hearts by the 5th or 6th email…Maybe this is harder than I thought at first! Well, I can only tell you the truth, Mohamed, it’s the way I am, and always the truth is best…

I really appreciated the corrections, hahahaha ezzayak, ya Mohamed?
Hahaha here’s something for you:
?demahom ay, kayazze

Are you sure you’re ready for my sense of humor, by the way?!?! ;^))))

Yes I am very ready for all of you!

Oh yess and by the way I think I’d like to see the beach of Alexandria!

Insha’a Allah one day

hit Refresh to display this!Alright, I gave you way too much Aisha tonight… but this is all too intriguing, and I really want to ask all those questions, so I’ll wait to see your answers to all this first.

And of course another arabic lesson!
So Mohamed was asked, ezzayak?
And Mohamed replies:
Ana kwayyis, il hamdulillah.


How do you put it? And if I say it, is it:
Ana kwayissa, or ana be-khair il hamdulillah

Ana kwayissah, Alhamdulillah

I’m very interested in prefix and suffix changes, like for prononus or gender… so I’m glad for all your corrections… I like the way you did that, too!
Hahaha shukran ya Mohamed!

El-aff’w or Aff-wan ya Aisha


Salam wa tisbah ala khair, my friend! (How do I say My friend?)

Ya Sadi’-ki (to a man) but if you talk to a lady you have to say Ya Sadi’-kati


See what I mean? Warp 7! His first paragraph made me sizzle, but at this speed I knew I would fry. Nobody can think straight at this speed, especially not me. I was more dizzy after reading his reply than I was before I started. I had to do something drastic to slow his engines down!

I hit “save.” I hit “print.” I hit “shut down the computer,” and I went to bed. I took the weekend off and never once turned on the computer. I didn’t have a clue how to respond, especially to his first paragraph. It seemed there was little else to do, except stall for time.

“Full Stop, Scotty!“
“Aye Aye, Captain, all Engines Full Stop!”

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“Uhura, if you hear or see anything, I don’t want to know about it”
“Aye Aye, Captain!… but…he’s very interesting…”
“Aye Aye, Captain.”

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5 thoughts on “Ep. 7 – Joyride to Egypt: Oh Please Pinch Me

    • I am the one who must thank you for being such a devoted friend! Thank you!
      I swear these are actual emails, I’m adding photos and images from the same time frame, too, to add a little more visual interest. I’m soooo happy you enjoy it, that really means alot to me! Xoxoxo ;^)


      • tis my pleasure to be your friend. And you are welcome in my day anytime.

        it is fabulous that your emails evolved into a story of a lifetime…such is what we must resort to if we want to stay connected with those we cant see or touch or smell. :)…well, maybe i should say “scent” ..lol 🙂

        I miss so many loved ones that their cyber connections mean the world to me ..without this box I would be sooo lonely. 🙂


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