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Friday, May 21, 2010

Where did we go?

Don't worry, the Aswan High Dam has not broken despite Brandon's co-worker's constant dreams about the event taken place, and your favorite Cairenes have not been swept out to the sea. We've just been busy.

A few days ago, Kathleen had brought up the subject of people who live in Cairo. They're called Cairenes, I told her. 'Oh,' she said, 'so we're Cairenes, too.' Brandon snorted at this point and said something about not quite being the same Cairenes.

However, when one thinks about it, Sophia and Edwin, by the end of our time here, will have lived in Cairo longer than they have lived anywhere else in their life. And if that doesn't qualify them as Cairenes, what does?

In primary today, a visitor was introduced. Eli, a very talkative boy, asked where she was from, and she said New York. Excited to have found a kindred soul, he shouted across the room 'Awesome! You're from America! I'm American, too!!'

Living overseas on a permanent basis while moving every few years leads to a strange situation of nationality versus residence versus culture versus ethnicity. My friend Mirza is Mexican but lives around the world attached to U.S. Embassies. Our friend's baby Miriam was born in Egypt but is not an Egyptian national, but American and required an entry visa on her passport - what does one put for 'port of entry?'

When new acquaintances ask where we, as a family, are from, I claim North Carolina, Brandon claims Missouri/Arizona, and the children... well nobody asks them yet.

For now, the girls are happy being American and Cairenes at the same time. I suppose we'll have to get to the details later.


Nancy said...

Canadian-American, actually. She's both.

And the whole port-of-entry thing. Yeah, big fight at the mugama over that. Sheesh-o-rama! :)

Catherine said...

How kind of you to politely describe him as "talkative" rather than something like "irreverent."

PaulaJean said...

Your passports do say North Carolina. . .

PaulaJean said...

Please let Miss Kathleen know that she is one of my very favorite Cairenes in the whole world!

PaulaJean said...

Oops! That was really your Grandfather Henderson on his wife's computer.

Amy said...

Our friends, the Wilsons, had the same problem. When they'd be traveling and got the question "Where are you from?" they never knew how to answer it. Finally, after living for 2 stints in Maryland, they would just say "Maryland", and leave it at that.

Our other friends moved every 2-3 years with the foreign service. When the husband retired, they settled here. The wife said she got restless after a couple of years. She had that "time to move" bug!