I’d like to thank Sarah Sandoval, of In the Life of Sara Sandoval for being the inspirational muse responsible for this post. On 24 April, 2014, Sara nominated me for “The One and Only Liebster Award!” The rules for accepting this award are to link back to the post where you received your award, reveal 11 things about yourself, answer 11 questions from the one who nominated you, nominate 11 more blogs for this award, and ask them to answer 11 questions. There’s obviously a special relationship between Liebster and the number 11, and I am an especially big fan of special relationships, so I’m quite happy to accept this award and let you all in on 11 Little Secrets of my life in Egypt:
11 Little Secrets About Aisha’s Egypt:
1. I am married to Aladdin!
Lol, not really, but this is my husband when he was working for the Egyptian Government in neighboring Sudan as an Arabic teacher. He had this gorgeous little pet monkey for a while, and the monkey liked to ride around on Mohamed’s shoulder everywhere he went. This special relationship came to a quick end, however, when the monkey kept ruining Mohamed’s nice white galabiyah by refusing to go behind a tree like good monkeys ought to do when they have to go to the bathroom! Buh-bye, Aboo! I’m really glad someone took this photo so I could see how adorable my husband was when he was younger. He’s still very handsome to me, but I have to admit that this is probably my favorite picture of him!
Especially in the countryside, where the agricultural way of life is more common, it often seems there are more donkeys here than cars. There is a very special relationship between a farmer and his donkey. Donkeys are able to find their way into the fields, going where no car or truck can go. They feed themselves politely from the field while the farmer is loading up their backs with bundles. They are the most patient of companions, traveling daily back and forth from home to field and field to market, and finally from market back to home. They obediently carry whatever is required, patiently pulling a cart or a piece of farm equipment, and I love the sound of their clip clopping hooves on the street as they pass by our home.
3. I love being allergic to cats
That way I don’t have to develop a special relationship with them. I leave that one for Mohamed. Cats give me the hives, but Mohamed loves them. They don’t like to ride around on his shoulder, so he gets along much better with them than with monkeys. We regularly adopt stray cats, and name every one of them “Boosy.” This one in the picture was our first Boosy here in Egypt, we brought her from the city to our home in the country, and she repaid us by running away after the first week. That happens pretty regularly too.
4. I love camels
Especially the ones in front of the butcher shop. This fine looking fellow is happily munching on a breakfast of sweet “berseem,” or clover, waiting for the butcher to finishing cleaning his shop and preparing his tools. Freshly butchered young camel meat tastes incredibly delicious. Egyptians don’t ride camels too much in Egypt, that’s mostly for the tourists, but there is a huge market for them here, because we do love to eat them!
Especially since I really miss Burger King, I’ve had to learn so many new things. Maybe the bigger hurdle to a homemade Whopper was learning to grind my own meat into burger. That hand crank meat grinder in the photo was a real pain in the you know what. I think it belonged to Mohamed’s mom, but now I’ve got a great electric model and we can have camel burgers any night of the week! I’ve even learned how to make ketchup and mayo, and the lettuce and tomatoes are growing up on the roof!
6. Carrots are my favorite vegetable
Especially the amazing red carrots of Egypt. These carrots are a really pretty red color, not orange like normal carrots. They taste similar, perhaps not quite as sweet as baby orange carrots, though. Farmer ladies stand in the middle of traffic carrying their bundles of red carrots on their heads, their points sticking up and out like the strangest crown imaginable. They take advantage of any opportunity, selling the popular red carrots to folks creeping slowly in their cars through the congested street leading into the entrance of the big city beyond our village. Aren’t they great?!
There’s no “P” in the arabic alphabet, so “pizza” becomes “bizza”, “pepsi” becomes “bibsi,” you get the “bicture,” right? But almost everyone, at least out in the countryside, has a “forn.” A forn is a gas oven with no regulator on the hose to control how much gas comes out of the tank. It can produce a huge amount of heat – just right for baking a great “Bizza Bie.” Of course it could also just as easily explode the whole house, so it sits outside on the patio, now, waiting for me to get up the courage to light it again. It’s really scary!
Especially because I don’t have to cook them in the forn! This is a great shot of young broiler chickens on one of the floors of our chicken farm next door. If I don’t want camel or bizza for dinner, there’s always chicken. Of course, those feathers don’t just fall off by themselves, so there’s another new thing I’ve had to learn, but on the other hand, it is fresh when it goes in the pot! I guess I’ll never get tired of chicken and rice and red carrots! (Insha’Allah/God willing!)
Especially 6 ft. Cobra snakes. This amazingly long cobra skin was found by one of the workers in the chicken farm as he was cleaning some trash away from the land around the outside walls of the farm. It happens sometimes when the baby chicks get first moved into the farm, they are so small that they find their way into the drain holes in the walls and fall to their death on the ground outside the farm. If the fall doesn’t kill them, the cobra will. One way or the other, every thing alive will find its food, and snakes have a preference for chicken. In a pinch they will eat rats and mice, too, but that’s probably only because they taste “just like chicken.”
I don’t know if it’s a he or a she, lol, they all look alike to me! But this lizard lives on my sun deck, among the chicken feeders I use for planters. He loves to play among the rocks I filled the bottom of the feeders with. I’ve never actually seen more than one at a time, so I just imagine it’s always him that I’m seeing. He’s always out there, so I guess this is his home, and probably he’s just tolerating me to be nice. He doesn’t run away when I appear, he always turns his head to look at me, and he watches me as I go about my business in his garden. He doesn’t talk much, but I kinda like that about him, too!
Especially if they have strange markings on them, like the one in this picture. When I was lining the chicken feeders with rocks, I developed a fascination for them. They are just leftovers from making concrete so they’re not special to anyone around here. But these are river rocks from the bed of the Nile River, and in my book that’s pretty special, so I was looking at them really closely when I was moving them around my garden. When I found this strange rock with these interesting markings, I felt like I won the lottery! I have no clue if those are fossils or alien hieroglyphics, but it’s probably the coolest thing I’ll ever find in a pile of rocks! Take a closer look at both sides, and give me your opinion. What do you think about this interesting rock?
Ok, now I’ll show you my nice new Liebster Award, isn’t she beautiful?! Thanks once again, Sara! Please don’t forget to check out Sara’s excellent blog!
Next, here are 11 Questions from Sara, that I will now answer:
1. Where do you live?
I live out in the countryside in the middle of the Egyptian Nile Delta, in the province of Dakahlia. Here’s a picture.
2. Were you named after anyone? Your name meaning?
I chose my name, Aisha, for myself when I became Muslim. It is the name of the first child born into Islam, she became one of the wives of the Prophet Mohamed, and some say she was his favorite wife but I believe he loved them all equally. “Aisha” is the feminine form of “life” in Arabic, and in Egypt the word “aish” is also the common word for bread.
3. Do you have a talent?
I love to make my own jewelry, I suppose that’s a talent. You can see an example of my bracelets here .
4. Favorite TV show
Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. Did you ever watch them do Dicken’s Bleak House? It was awesome!
5. Favorite music genre/band
I love all kinds of music, especially foreign folk music. If you haven’t already, you might like to read my post about how much I love the kazoo and the Mizmar. My favorite western genre at nighttime is Ambient Music, but when I’m in the kitchen, I love Smooth Jazz. Richard Elliot is my favorite Saxophonist, and Keiko Matsui is my favorite keyboardist.
6. Person you look up to & why
The person I look up to the most is my husband, Mohamed. I just lately wrote a poem you might enjoy reading, called, “I’ll always look up to you.”
7. What is your biggest strength? Weakness?
I think my biggest strength is my faith in Allah, because my religion guides me very strongly.
My biggest weakness is probably candy. It’s miserable for my teeth, but I love it anyway.
8. What is something you regret doing?
We all make wrong choices in our life, but dwelling on them is unhealthy, so I don’t have an answer for this question.
9. What is your biggest fear?
That I will never see my children again. It’s really scary as I get older because I live so far away from my kids. I worry about that a lot, and I thank God for facebook, at least it’s better than nothing!
10. What is your biggest accomplishment?
I created a reconstruction of Achilles’ Shield, based on Homer’s description in The Iliad. You can see it here, if you’re interested. I’m migrating it to a WordPress Blog, but it’s very slow work.
11. Why is your reason for blogging?
I blog to share my life in Egypt with anyone interested, hopefully my children and family members, and also my many friends, like you! ♥♥♥ ; ^)
Okay, on to the really fun part! drum roll please…
Here are my 11 Nominees for the next round of Liebster Awards, CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU ALL!
Please take the time to visit all of these wonderful blogs, and I’m sure you’ll understand why they are my nominees for this round of awards. I really love reading everyone’s blogs, you are all awesome! ♥♥♥ ;^)
Finally, here are my 11 Questions for you, should you choose to accept “The One and Only Liebster” Award:
1. Where is your favorite place to live?
2. What is your favorite character trait?
3. Do you have a talent?
4. What is your favorite movie of all time?
5. What is the most important thing to you in your life?
6. Who is the person you look up to the most, and why?
7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
8. Do you have a dream you’d like to share?
9. What gives you the most happiness?
10. What is your biggest accomplishment?
11. Why do you like to blog?