Tag Archive | memoir

Ep. 10 – Joyride To Egypt: My Turn To Dance

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The lights were low and the music was playing softly in the background. My usual nightly routine after tucking my children into their beds always brought peace to my little condominium on the edge of the pine tree forest. Our street was the last one in our community, dead-ending at the woods, which sloped gently down to the bank of a creek. My condo was one half of a duplex, the last building on the street, enjoying this prime location of quiet, undeveloped woodlands. The community was gated and guarded and a very peaceful place to live. Leaving my patio door open at night was never a concern, and as usual, this night the warm breeze drifted lazily in, bringing with it the clean scent of pine.
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Ep. 9 – Joyride To Egypt: “Slow Down!”


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Two days and three nights without any oxygen seemed like more than enough time to put out Mr. Answer to my Prayers’ fire. I would never admit it to him, but in the passage of those two days, I think a tiny spark caught me by surprise, because I felt a warm glow emanating from a little hidden corner of my heart.
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Ep. 8 – Joyride to Egypt: Twenty Questions

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A zombie puts out more effort in half an hour than I did in that whole, long, incredibly awful weekend. My stomach was in knots the whole time, as I wondered if I was shooting myself in the foot. Insha’Allah, only the foot, and not the heart! I kept trying to reassure myself that I did the right thing, shutting off the computer for the weekend. I needed time to think.

Mr. Answer To My Prayers really did seem like the right name for this fascinating Egyptian man. The more I read, and re-read, his three emails so far, and compared it with the ad he made for finding a wife, the more I liked him. The more excited I got at the prospect of marrying a man living in Egypt! Of course I had no way to be sure, but he sounded genuine to me. I felt it was possible he was telling the truth. I also felt it was very possible I would throw up! Thank God, it rained like a hurricane all weekend, and the kids kept quiet in front of their TV upstairs. A big delivery from Pizza Hut kept them happy, while I stayed in my bed, tossing and turning.

On the one hand, I was encouraging a man to pursue me for marriage, knowing full well he was completely unacceptable to my entire family. I wasn’t asking anyone’s opinion, but I wasn’t ignorant.
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Ep. 2 – Joyride To Egypt: Breaking The News To My Father

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Dad and Dr. Mary - Rome, May 30, 1999

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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:
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Ep.1 – My First Cup of Tea in the Oasis

(Episode 1: JOYRIDE TO EGYPT)

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My last glimpse of reality was three days prior, July 27, 1999, at 3 a.m.

I had been soaking in my hot tub on the patio of my condo, trying to soothe my jumpy nerves.

Now I sat reflecting on that lovely moment of 3 a.m. bliss. It was summer, the night was a cozy dark blanket between me and the rest of the world. My kids were asleep, our bags were packed and stuffed in the car. We were ready for our 5 a.m. exodus from reality.

My children thought we were going to see the pyramids.

I was soaking in my hot tub as a kind of ritual cleansing. I wanted to wash my old life off and start my new life fresh and clean. My whole family thought I was crazy. One of my brothers had tried had to dissuade me, even threatening to tear up my travel documents to “protect” me and my kids. My mom was so upset that at the last minute she refused to let me park my car at her house and would not give us a ride to Newark International Airport as we had earlier planned. I was already a nervous wreck, and this new thought of paying for half a month of parking at an airport added another heavy burden in my baggage.

I leaned back in the hot water, eyes closed, and played “on the one hand” and “on the other hand” one more time. The result was always the same, always exciting to the point of shivering, even in a bubbling hot tub. Maybe I was crazy, but I knew I was going to do it.

I was going to Egypt to marry a man I met on the internet.

I had never laid eyes on him, and it was all arranged. Within 24 hours of our first meeting, I would be his wife. Signed, sealed and delivered.

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