Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Comments on Comments

Having changed the format to have comments, figuring out what to do with them, or even how to find what post they are referring to, has become an interesting task. Most of the negative posts are from Mr/Mrs/Ms Anonymous and many of them seem to indicate that the poster hasn't really bothered to read my blog.

One of the latest went on about Americans who were rich enough to "pick up and move to a foreign country". My old format mentioned that our family is Canadian/Egyptian and I think that I have to fix that on the first page. Not that I have anything in particular against the US, but we are Canadian and that isn't American. A minor but important point often missed south of the border. Actually, I live here partly because after my husband's death, I couldn't afford to live in North America. At 55, I'm not exactly prime employment material, especially since I've lived here for the past 16 or so years and I was a fulltime mother for 7 years before that. With my husband traveling so much for his business, we both felt that our kids deserved at least one fulltime parent and I got picked. I didn't mind, since by that time I was in my early 30's and had plenty of job experience under my belt. I had also met my husband while doing a graduate degree in social psychology, so being a mother was essentially having my own lab to work with for 20 years...but it wasn't as horrible as that sounds. I did find my training extremely useful in easing the transition from one culture to another very different one and in observing the life around me. Here, my experience, familiarity with local custom, and language skills are marketable skills. I wouldn't want to go back to Toronto to try to start over. Besides, it's too cold.

But "picking up and moving to a foreign country" is easy if you can arrange...and afford...to be surrounded by your compatriots, their customs, their language. That's like buying a house in a compound in a tourist area, like the Brits in Marbella. There is a compound like this in Egypt for Italians in Sharm el Sheikh, and we happen to own a house there, but the hassles of having to explain that I don't speak Italian and I don't want to pay for something in Euro's for heaven's sake are taking its toll. I have to admit the look on the face of the Egyptian staff when I speak to them in Arabic and they are trying to figure out why my Italian is so weird but understandable is priceless. There is always a moment of total linguistic non-comprehension before they realise that I'm not speaking Italian. We keep the house because it was my husband's favourite getaway and the children use it as a base when they visit, or for my son, who is working here now, his favourite getaway. For myself, the Sharm house is getting to be too organised, too Italian, too European for my taste. I'd rather have tea with my neighbours here.

ermyrukmana asked what hotel or what kind of house I live in. No hotels, thank you. Much too expensive and impersonal. We have plenty of Saudis and Gulf Arabs to fill our hotels during the summer and the tourists the rest of the year. My house is one story, a bedroom with a guest room/library, a bath room and a kitchen. Only one person can fit in the kitchen at a time and two people can fit in the bathroom, but they'd better be well-acquainted. About half the area of the house is taken up by one large room with my desk and computer at one end and some daybed-type sofas at the other end. Most of the time, there are dogs all over the sofas and floor. I have a verandah out front with some palm branch chairs and tables and some of the same up on the roof. No air conditioning although we have been trying for the sake of my daughter and her friends. The temperatures are supposed to go up to 39 C this weekend and I suspect that I will drive them down to Sharm where there is air conditioning in the house. I don't mind the lack of airconditioning as I've gotten used to the heat and I have ceiling fans to keep the air circulating. Real luxury there. But the parrots have room for big flight cages and the still of the night with the palms silhouetted against the Cairo glow more than make up for the lack of space and amenities.

One of the interesting things about the comment from ermyrukmana was that I have no idea what post it was attached to. I get the comments in my email and when I check back to my blog, I have no idea where the comment is posted. I'm sure that there is some very simple way to find out and if any more experienced bloggers can help, I would be most grateful.


Astrantia said...

You shouldn't feel the need to justify yourself to such a pathetic person, that clearly didn't take the time to read your blog. But for the sake of understanding your life style it was interesting to me and other people.
I do get a sense of, some people feeling bitter towards "Westerners" (which generally get put in the "American" catagory) being in a multi racial realtionship, living aboard etc etc. Not all expats take their "bundles" of money from the West and exploit getting more for their money in other countries. That do not want to intergrate into the local community and culture. Although, yes there are a lot that do. You are not one of those people, clearly and neither I am.

I very much enjoy your blog :-)

thelma said...

In reply to your request for help on comments...
If you go to your blog page, and click on the word, "Comments" directly below each blog posting...you will be able to find which comments were made to which posting.

Generally the comments have numbers next to them indicating of course how many comments were made regarding that post.

I have been reading your blog nearly every day for the past couple of weeks when I discovered it. (It was listed on the blogger home page of interesting blogs).
Personally, I envy your courage. Carry on MaryAnne, your doing a fine job!

Shoes said...

To comment on the individual who made the comment about being rich enough to move to another country. Ignore them. I applaud you for being brave enough to move to another country. I know personally I would have been quite scared to leave the familiarity of my own country and move to another one. I find your blog enlightening. Thank you for opening my eyes.

Aoife said...

I hate anonymous posters... How aggravating. Its like they only have the balls to say something if they can't be held accountable for it.

As for comments, I would suggest using Haloscan for commenting. www.haloscan.com They give you the code and tell you where to put it in your template and help you format what you want it to look like. Most of my bloggin' buddies use haloscan over bloggers comment module...

I love your blog, been reading it for about a week now and its great. You have a great writing style. I would love to live in another country... I just hate leaving family behind here and they aren't so keen on it either.

gonedoneoverfinished said...

I positively love your blog and enjoy visiting it daily. I find your posts both enlightening and entertaining. I added a stats tracker for my blog, it seems some people like turning in other peoples blog and getting them fired or what have you. The stats tracker tracks the IP address, where they are from, etc. Its been interesting to see who visits. Anyway, keep on blogging and keep your chin held high, I admire you as I am sure many others do.

rieke said...

hi, warm greeting from Jakarta, visit my blog .. nice blog you have!

Little Starbucks said...

What most people don't understand about living abroad, especially in an eastern country, one always percieved it as a total loss..no snow, sands get into everything and less than flaterring cable channel..."Westerners" are way too easy to judge, even though they never been there...i've been there and it's the most magical place on earth...no matter where you live, where you're at, the most important thing is to shed our differences and try as hard we can to work on our similiarities...so there goes. Nice blog anyway.

Larry Nolan said...

I read your blog periodically and find your comments about living in Egypt fascinating. Please keep it up. I live in the middle of the USA and have traveled for business and pleasure to Europe, UK, Hong Kong, and Japan and have always found that while the settings are different and the languages sometimes difficult, people are always the most welcoming when they are treated like .. well, fellow humans. Show them some courtesy and respect and I usually get the same in return.

The occasional pictures are great too.

Laura said...

I visited Cairo before the 9/11 attack and was in-thought of moving there although plans backfired. I'm American and loved Egypt. I miss it and reading your blog makes me smile, seeing your photos and hearing how you live is wonderful. I sometimes wish I could have moved there and hope I can one day return and visit. I loved how the communities were so loving and warm; very family oriented. I loved the open air smells of spices, and hearing the call for prayer. Your words and fresh and vibrant to read; thank you. :)

claudia said...

I'm writing you from Puerto Rico,USA, and I love your blog. I'ts like a window into another culture. I don't know if I will ever be able to go to Egipt, but I'm seeing it through your eyes and I love it! You should write a book about your life. People would love it. Keep doing it, and forget about allthe negative things. Even if I'm the only one who reads it ( which I'm obviously not), it's worth it.

Josephus said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dino said...

Once again i write a comment on your blog. I feel you give honest and insightful comments on my blog and once again ask for your opinon. I have posted a new question about blogging in the future. I am too an avid fan of your blog and believe it gives a fascinating view of egyptian life for people to read and undrerstand something they are unfirmiliar with. It is important.
The latest question is about blogging as literature and blogging in the future, your opinion would be most appreciated on both of the questions, your blog is a prime example of blogging as literature, you are telling the story of your life and people are reading it and admiring it. Your blog is a piece of literature and definitely deserves to be on the blogs of note list. Thank you once again for your time and trustworthy opinon. No offence was meant by my last question on soceieties views on bloggers, i do not feel that way about bloggers. Many thanks, Dino. http://ydoublog.blogspot.com
p.s. anyone else reading this feel free to help with my research too, all comments are valuble and appreciated.

That_girl_is_me said...

Hi Maryanne,I was blog hopping n stumbled upon your blog.I must say that your blog is very interesting.Í'm eager to experience Egypt myself.I can only associate pyramids with egypt but not other wonderful things like u've mentioned...I find dat the people are rather hospitable even to different race n religion which i must admit dat i seldom heard of especially frm a middle east country..Sorry if I stereotyped this issue.Btw I am 21 yrs old & from Singapore.Singapore just like Egypt with various race & religion.We live harmoniously.I suppose if I were to migrate there,I would not have a problem adapting yeah.I have to go now.Nice blog btw.

Mags said...

I have just started reading your writing and am very intrigued and excited to see it! Thanks for your blog.

Katrina said...

As an American born, Canadian raised, living back in the U.S. for the past two years.....I absolutely understand your desire to be known as Canadian. There is a difference. My birth certificate may say that I am American, but in my heart I am always a Canadian. :)

I have enjoyed reading your blog, just stumbled upon it today.:)

Patty said...

G'day Maryanne, just found your blog, and enjoy reading about your Egyptian adventures! My neice has married an Eygptian man, and they have moved back out here to Australia, with their two young sons. Ahmed was a diver on the Red Sea, based at Hurghada, and is enjoying life over here now. It's natuarlly a very different way of life for him, and we hope he settles in and enjoys being a new Aussie! Maaate! My Blog is here,( http://pattycamwatchers.blogspot.com/)lots of contributers, all very new to us, (the blind leading the blind) but we have fun and keep bloging.

The Nightkitchen said...

Hi...enjoyed reading what you wrote...
Wanted to comment on your comments...about being taken for an American (as a Canadian).
I'm Canadian myself (Toronto)...and my wife is American.
I used to get a little ticked at being taken for American (especially on the web)...until I realized that I have just as hard a time telling the (obviously!) differences between a...English or Australian...or New Zealander, for that matter. Or worse...Korean or Vietnamese...or Thai...or Japanese....
Or Kenyan or Somalian.

The point being...that what appears to be incredibly subtle differences with many of these national persuasions...is not at all subtle to them! Same difference......Could we even tell the difference between a Swede and a Finlander? [wink]

Still and all...I get a lot of satisfaction out of defending America...NOT as an American...but as a North American...(big difference to me).
I figure there are two choices (as a typical Canadian).
Either to be eternally insecure in the shadow of "Big Brother"...forever trying to play catch-up......
Or, to just relax, and acknowledge and accept that my cultural specifics and dynamics most closely resemble that which originates south of the border.
Case in point: I'm half Irish (3rd generation) and recently for the first time took a trip to Ireland to supposedly connect with...roots? Well.
I'll tell you...I have had a thousand times more "connection" with real people who seemed to give a damn about who I am and how I think and feel about things...from south of the border...than I ever got in Ireland. I never felt so North American in my life, as when I was there.

All that being said...I'm impressed at your obvious ability to integrate into what is I'm sure something radically different from Canadian culture in your adopted country. Living here...I'm so used to that happening the opposite way - (the whole world migrates to my city.)

By the way...ever read any of Anwar El Sadawi's books?
She's a hoot! Worth the effort. Interesting insights into Egyptian history and social evolution...especially in regards to relatively recent developments concerning
womens' rights, America's involvement in the Middle East, African economics (or lack thereof) etc.
She has led a very interesting life! (still lives in Cairo, I believe.)



just let me laugh when it's funny
and when it's sad, let me cry

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