A Day in the Life

A fellow blogger just posted about how she doesn’t like to be called lucky for her and her husband’s choice to live overseas. I thought it was an interesting read and it’s been on my mind a lot, especially this week because JR is traveling. It’s only my second week at work and it’s really tough when we still living out of our suitcases, still figuring out our morning routine, and just working full-time with 3 little kids. It’s a big adjustment.

Here’s how my day went.

4:00am – Jake wakes up crying. I settle him back to sleep, but now I can’t sleep because I’m sure he’ll wake up again, and since the kids share a bedroom wall, he’ll wake the other two up. He’s finally quiet and I think it’s safe to shower. I don’t actually want to shower at 4:45 in the morning, but it seems like the right move.
5:00am – Jake is up again. I rush out of the bathroom barely taking a second to dry off so I can scoop him up and take him to my room before he makes too much noise. This time I give him a bottle and manage to get him back to sleep in the pack n play we set up in our bedroom.
5:30am – I don’t know what to do now, because I’m in my robe with wet hair, but Jake is asleep in my room. My bathroom door is right beside him and I can’t do my hair or anything without waking him up. I get the sound machine from his room and plug it into the bathroom, then quietly take my hair dryer, straightener and makeup to the bathroom on the other end of the apartment.
6:00am – I eat some toast and putz on my phone and think, well, if nothing else at least we have plenty of time and I won’t be rushing out the door this morning since I leave at 7 for work.
6:20am – Abby and William are up. I give them cereal and then straighten Abby’s hair because it’s picture day at her school.
6:40am – Jake is awake again, but at least Remy, our nanny, is here now to help. Abby is dressing herself, William is making a huge mess with his cereal, and Jake is crying because he’s not feeling well and is running a slight temperature. I give him medicine and then hand him off to Remy because I’m still not dressed (as my clothes are in the aforementioned bedroom where he was asleep, and also because getting dressed for work is a real process right now. I am still dealing with the dreaded baby weight. Note, I plan to call it baby weight for at least the next 3 years.)
6:50am – I’m panicking now. Abby is in tears because she can’t find this little hairbrush that JR bought her a few days ago. The school said students could bring a favorite stuffed animal and/or toy for picture day, and apparently that’s her new favorite toy and the ONLY thing she wants to take. And it’s missing.
7:00am – We locate the hairbrush and the tears are miraculously gone. Jake is still fussing and I feel like a terrible mother for leaving him when he might not be feeling well. I can’t spare a moment though, because I cannot miss my ride to work.
7:40-11:00am. Still learning the ropes at work. Meetings, fielding questions I can’t answer just yet, eyes glazing over at all the emails coming in, wishing I could take a nap.
11:05am – Remy texted me to say Jake’s fever was not going down and she thought I should take him to the doctor. I was feeling very “ehhh third baby, it’s a fever, he’s okay,” especially since he’s been drooling non-stop and we expect that he’ll start teething soon. Then I felt guilty so I called the Med Unit to make an appointment. Now, we live in Maadi which is a suburb of Cairo, and it can take 25-45 minutes or more to drive from our home to the Embassy, which is downtown. The health unit is located at the Embassy, but twice a week they have office hours at the USAID building, which is conveniently in Maadi. Thankfully this happened on a day when the doctor was available at USAID, so I took the first appointment they had for 2:00pm.
12:00 – I canceled a meeting, finished up a few things at work as quickly as I could, and then walked outside to catch an Uber. I’ve used Uber frequently since arriving and rarely have issues. It can take longer than expected, and they often don’t have seat belts so it’s not my preferred method of travel but without a car, my options are limited. On this particular day, the Uber driver kept going in circles and did not get any closer to my actual location. I canceled and asked for another. Same thing happened. Not only was I getting frustrated, I was also feeling increasingly uncomfortable standing outside by myself because on this day I happened to be wearing a dress. Now, the dress came to my knees and had flutter sleeves, so it wasn’t particularly showy and I felt perfectly fine at work, but now being out in public I was hyperaware that I was showing more skin than anyone else around me. No one said anything to me, but many people stared. My third Uber request finally worked, after about 20 minutes of waiting.
12:45pm – I arrived back at our apartment, ate lunch quickly and changed, and contacted a driver that we’ve used before to take me to USAID. It’s not easy to find because of construction, and also since I was going to have Jake with me, I wanted seat belts and someone to wait for me there so I didn’t have to go through an Uber again. Then came a lengthy internal debate about which stroller to take (the double or the single travel stroller) and serious frustration that the one I wanted to take is in our shipment, which is arriving approximately never.
2:00pm – The driver picked us up and we drove to the appointment. I manhandled my double stroller through doors that were just an inch too small and met with the doctor. Jake was fine, no infection, just maybe a virus or teething which is what I expected. I told the driver the appointment would probably take 30-45 minutes, but we were done pretty quickly. I texted to say we’d be outside in 5 minutes. He texted back that he would be back in 15-20 minutes. Urgh. We wound up waiting 30 minutes for a ride home. I was displeased.
3:30pm – I figured, if I’m home early from work and Remy is still here, I should use this time wisely and take a nap. Ha. Ha. Ha. The kids were so loud, they kept running in my bedroom for urgent things like, “Abby looked at me funny”, and “Mom can I have a drink of water.”
5:00pm – I didn’t get a nap but I did enjoy laying in bed and reading a book in between interruptions, so we’ll call it a win. Remy stayed to help with dinner and baths. I don’t know if I’m lucky to be living overseas or not but I do feel very lucky that we found another great nanny.

9:00pm – I treated myself to an early bedtime.

Now of course this is not a “normal” day. JR rarely has to travel for work at his new job in Egypt. Most of the time no one is sick in our house. And someday, our car and our things will arrive. But it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel sometimes.

 

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