So the ever-glamorous life of a Dip-Wife currently consists of lazing about waiting for electricians. They called yesterday to arrange an 11am appointment and it’s only 1:02pm, so we’re doing good. We have a faulty ground wire (or something like that) in our “U.S.” plug in the kitchen, and something’s wrong with the light switch in Ron’s bathroom as he keeps getting shocked by it. Sad thing is that it’s been a problem since we moved in and we’ve been here two months. I finally had to suggest we put in a repair ticket for it after hearing him exclaim “Ow!” three times in one night.
A friend had some electrical issues and she watched in horror as the “technicians” tested her claim of a dead plug by sticking a screwdriver in it, then compared the results with the jam-a-screwdriver method in a non-dead plug. When she relayed this story to me in the shuttle the next day (we were headed in to the embassy to hit the post office, library, and lunch with hubbies), another passenger said that the techs should be carrying plug-in testers. “Oh, they had them with them,” she answered. “I saw them in their bags.” Curious methods.
This has been a week of good deliveries and good news. First, we got our car! Jeepy has arrived, safe and sound, with all five tires (spare on back). Compared to the Sherman tank Ron’s been driving, it seems about 1/3 the size. We haven’t taken it out on the roads yet (we really only drive on the weekends), but maybe this weekend. And maybe I'll even take a turn at driving in the fray... maybe. Monday Ron will drive it to work to get the registration and “dip plates” (they’re green, compared to the white or black ones for non-dips). We’ve heard mixed things about getting an Egyptian driver’s license. I believe it’s encouraged on paper, but apparently some people never bother. I would imagine if you can drive to the building where they issue licenses, then you’ve passed the test. They should just meet you in the parking lot and hand them out.
Second good delivery news is that our HHE shipment has arrived (stands for HouseHold… Everything? – essentially it’s our big big shipment of everything sans cupcake wrappers). We’ve decided to hold off accepting it though, until we move to Zamalek. Which leads to our third good news.
We have a move-in date – July 24th! We’ve gotten quite comfortable in Maadi, but we’re both excited to get officially settled and Ron will have a much quicker commute to work (10 minutes, versus 40 minutes). We will miss the friends here, though, and I’ll have to start scouting out a whole new area, but we’ll learn Zamalek and we’ll keep in touch with the Maadi folk. There’s definitely a division between expats in Maadi versus “downtown”. Maadi is where the two good schools are, and it’s very suburban-feeling, so it’s the family place. Downtown, in any of the three primary expat areas, tends to be for singles and DINKs or SINKs (double-income no kids, or like us, single-income no kids). I’m going to do a little snooping around before we move though to see if I can a) get them to paint some color on the walls instead of “institutional eggshell white,” and b) make an appointment at the warehouse where they store the furniture for our “furnished” apartments and see what choices we have. (Dip wife tasks.)
Otherwise, summer’s definitely here. We had been forewarned that Cairo gets hot in summer… and no one lied. Sadly I don’t think we’ve reached the heights yet, but this past week has seen temps in the low 100s. The no humidity is great, but somehow I can still complain about the DRY 100-degree temps. I've become accustomed to using SPF 70 as my daily face cream, and SPF 45 for arms, hands and anything else that may be exposed.
I haven’t done a lot this past week. Another couple from DC arrived a week ago and I’ve been showing the wife around Maadi and taking her downtown on the shuttle and getting her acclimated. Ron and the husband work together and we were able to get together once for dinner before we packed-out, but since then I was just emailing her with all the things I wish I knew before I knew them. So hopefully she benefitted from my delayed-learning-curve. She’s done a great job of just diving in to life here, but she’s admitted that it helps having a guide. When we arrived, I started out making goals of one or two outings a week, and now I find I need one or two a day or I get antsy.
I’ve been making full use of the pool at the Maadi House, which is an expat “club” type thing that we joined, with a pool, tennis courts, playground, free wi-fi and restaurant. It’s a popular spot on Thursday nights (our Fridays here) for a buffet BBQ. We’ve been a few times. But during the day it’s mostly moms and some kids, especially now that school’s out. I had a semi-sad realization though that I’ve reached that age when I actively wait for the 15-minutes of “adult swim” time each hour. Sometimes the pool clears out completely and all the moms and tots head over to the baby pool to wait it out, so it’s all mine to do my laps in. Quite nice. I don’t hang out at the pool all day though (too hot and boring) – I tend to wander around in the morning getting all hot, sweaty and exhausted, head to the pool early afternoon, wait for the exodus of small bobbing screaming children (it’s really the teenagers who are the worst), do 20-30 laps, dry off and then walk home. When Ron comes home and asks me how my day was, I swear I see a glimmer of concern at how quickly I’m adapting to this Dip-Wife Life. ☺