Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Holidays and clubs...

The thing about living in a foreign country, when American holidays roll around, you have to celebrate them yourself. You don't "feel" or "see" the spirit of these holidays you grew up with back home, they don't celebrate our holidays here. I've realized this is something I kinda miss.

You know I could have made a BBQ for us at home, in the backyard this 4th of July- but I didn't.
I could have bought some sparklers or other small fire-type works- but I didn't.
We could have remenisced about our 4th of July's back home- we didn't.

I'm really not super tradtional when it comes to holidays, but there are a few that I loved growing up, especially the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. I always looked forward to seeing the huge Fireworks display and at Thanksgiving my mother always made a beautiful large dinner, I loved it. I even continued Thanksgiving after I moved out of my mothers house. I always had lots of friends over to have Thanksgiving dinner together. I often called my Mom to ask about cooking the Turkey and other little hints only she could give me.

When those two holidays roll around again I will do something here to start a tradtion in our home away from home. Start a Cairo Thanksgiving if you will. There are turkies here, so maybe I will buy one, cook it up and invite friends for an American Thanksgiving dinner. The only thing is, all the "shortcuts" i would have used back home, are not here, i.e. cheating at making gravy, buying a jar and adding my homemade gravy to it, using Stove-Top, yep, sorry i did that and cranberry sauce, who cares I never liked it!

I don't think I have written about the Sporting/Social Clubs here, have I?So picture a country club type setting, but with LOADS AND LOADS of families and their children.

Here in Cairo belonging to a club or "nady" as it is called in Arabic is a must by all.There are many, many clubs here and almost everyone belongs to one. Some are better than others, some have more expensive memberships and better facilties, but even the cheaper ones are frequented by hundreds maybe even thousands of people.

I never "got it"at first, thinking "why do all these people go to these clubs?" I "get it" now I think.

See there are not alot of public areas for people to hang out in. There are a few gardens and public parks for people to sit, but remember we are like 18 million in this city of Cairo and space is tight. Most of the population lives in apartment buildings and there is no backyard to play in. There are houses, called villas here and gated compounds but I think it would be correct to say that majority of Cairenes live in crowded apartment styled buildings.

So my conclusion is that these clubs are a refuge for people, a place to take the kids, let them learn a sport, a meeting place for friends to hang out and drink coffee, a place to swim, a place for families to meet and relax and of course all this while being in a large, most times really nice green open area.

They charge a membership fee, a one-time fee when you join. Then each year you pay a fee, a lot less than the original membership fee.

It was a new concept for me when I got here, but I think I like it. Its a nice escape and there are so many things to do at the club. All types of sports- tennis, soccer, indoor gyms, olympic sized swimming pools, wading pools, resort-like negative edge pools, restaraunts, clubhouses, gyms, a track and the list goes on and on.

The hard part for me, not hard, but sometimes makes me feel sorry for myself- is that there is always so, so, so many children. Especially now that schools out, all you see are kids EVERYWHERE. Its really nice, but sometimes I get sad seeing them play with their parents and so wishing I could do that too. But don't get me wrong, I love seeing all children happy and playing its so nice. My selfishness sometimes sneaks up on me and I try to quickly dismiss it away.

Anyway, I am proud to say that I am a card-carrying member of an extremely nice country club for the first time in my life. LOL!!!


  1. so interesting reading about life in egypt. my brother lives in europe and loves thanksgiving, so he orders a turkey from a french butcher and forages for all the other ingredients to make his family a holiday there. now he's started new tradition!

  2. Ooh, a country club girl! La-di-da! LOL!!

    I was in Singapore on a business trip a few years ago over Memorial Day and it was so odd to me. "What do you mean I have to go to work today?"

  3. Hi there! Happy belated 4th. Cairo is one of my dream destinations. How did you manage to be living there? I just wanted to say thanks for posting on my blog and to let you know I'm keeping up on your blog. :)


  4. Mmmmm...now I am thinking about Thanksgiving. Hungry...

  5. I would love to visit Egypt one day! Sounds awesome, except for the kids EVERYWHERE bit. I love kids, but when there's just too many of them around, screaming, wailing, and what's not, I feel like locking them in a dungeon! :)

  6. That has to be a tough feeling, wanting to celebrate an important holiday and missing out on the things we associate with that holiday: fireworks, BBQ etc...

    Hmmm, Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays of all time and I think it's cool when our holiday traditions experience one form or another of change.

    The club sounds nice, sorry to hear about happy kids running around - that seriously bums me out. Your life in Cairo sounds very intriguing and exciting.

    I loved your thoughts and memories on your past summers, that was a fun read.

  7. Don't do what I did with my gym membership and never go. I know what you mean about the kids. We have a neighborhood pool that all the kids go to. My hubby and I go just about everyday and always end up playing with the kids with their parents watching us.

    They're some much fun.

  8. I am so fascinated with your life in Egypt. I love coming here to read about the culture and how it is for you to live there. I'd love to see more pictures of scenes from your daily life! :)

    And oh - after reading your post, what I wouldn't give for a homemade Thanksgiving dinner right about now! I'll send you a box of StoveTop and some gravy in early November!

  9. When my sister lived in France (she did for 10 years), the thing she missed the most was Peanut Butter. She also tried recreating the Thanksgiving feast a few times. I know it was not easy (to make the meal, nor was it easy to be so far from home on a special day).

    The country club sounds lovely. I don't think you should blame yourself for the jealousy you feel seeing all the kids/families. I think it is totally normal. Totally.

  10. The club sounds like a nice idea. It's hard to see all the kids and jealous feelings are totally normal. (hugs)

    I am totally craving mashed potatoes and gravy right now. Mmmmmmmmm.

  11. I'm dying to join a club. Perhaps I should move to Egypt.

  12. What would Turkey Day be without Stove Top and Cranberry Sauce! You should definately start your own tradition.

    I also love to hear about life in Egypt. The club thing sounds like a good idea for the community since, as you said, there are not alot of public places to be.

  13. Hey wisher. I moved to a new blog. BTW your kitty is loverly

  14. Lucky girl, getting to be in a country club! :) That does sound like a good time, but I would also let selfishness creep up on me w/ the kid thing. Sigh.

    Regarding cats-you have a young'un, so you'll want to feed him 3 times a day, he'll need it since he's probably pretty active. And from the pics, it looked like he goes outdoors? Outdoor cats seem to be good at keeping their weight down, probably b/c they're running around all the time. Oh, and if you don't get your boy neutered soon (usually by 6 months, definitely before a year), he could still spray inside the house. Our outdoor boys got neutered late in life so they still spray, but our inside guy was neutered very young, so he doesn't recall how to do it anymore.

    So yes, keep w/ the 3x a day feeding until he hits at least a year, maybe 1.5 yrs and then go to just 2x a day. I used to free-feed (i.e. leave a full bowl of food out all the time) and I think that's what got my cats so fat and grouchy. :) You should also be able to check the bag of cat food you're feeding him to see "feeding instructions" for various ages. Young kitties get lots as compared to older cats, of course. Good luck, he is a doll!

  15. I totally feel you about the holidays! I hate spending Thanksgiving away from home...but you gotta do what you gotta do ~ I guess!

    And I would have never guessed u as a country club girl! :)


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE comments! To me its like getting a present from a mystery person, ok well some of you are not such a mystery... but u feel me. You can subscribe to my updates via email or in your feeder of choice. Thanks so much for stopping by!