Filed under Family

A Long Good-Bye, From Far Away

A Long Good-Bye, From Far Away

Today, September 12, would have been my mother-in-law’s 67th birthday. Tayta, as our children call her, passed away six months ago. She fought courageously through two bouts of cancer, and the first time she triumphed. The second time, she succumbed. We remember her well, but the relationship will never be the same. Complicating things completely … Continue reading

Pleasant Recognition

Pleasant Recognition

Many thanks to you who have read my thoughts over the years, either here at A Sense of Belonging or at the various sites that have published my articles. I’m pleased to relate that others have found the work valuable, too. This year my article for Christianity Today on the Coptic martyrs of Libya won … Continue reading

Emma, Alone in a Class of Muslims

Emma, Alone in a Class of Muslims

Egyptian schools are known for large class sizes and a not-so-great student-teacher ratio. But our third-grade daughter, in one class at least, has a private lesson. Despite being in a class of 31 students, Emma studies religion one-on-one with the teacher. The Egyptian system separates Muslims and Christians for religious education, and Emma is the … Continue reading

The Burden of an Azhar Sheikh

The Burden of an Azhar Sheikh

Sheikh Saeed Ibrahim was very keen to see my parents. He canceled an appointment to meet them, making sure the opportunity was not missed before they returned to America. He wanted this picture taken, and he wants you to see it. He would be very pleased if you share. “I want the world to see … Continue reading

Rain, One Day Later

Rain, One Day Later

Yesterday Egypt experienced one of its very few yearly rainstorms, for which its roadways are terribly unprepared. I realize great swaths of the United States are covered with snow these days, so there is little room to complain. But nonetheless, the puddles and mud left behind a day later complicate the daily walk to school. … Continue reading

Dorosy in the Wizard of Oooz

Dorosy in the Wizard of Oooz

At the end of the school year – and yes, somehow in Egypt, we are already at the end – our girls’ school puts on an assembly for parents that includes an English language play. This year Hannah, our kindergartener, has been selected for the leading role in the Wizard of Oz. But when we … Continue reading

Not Quite Home for Christmas

Not Quite Home for Christmas

I have lived overseas now for about eight years.  We have lived in three different countries, but even so, I feel quite at home here in Egypt, where we have been for four years.  We have lots of friends and my life is busy with four young kids.  For me, living overseas is the norm.  … Continue reading

Our Little Ones Watch a Protest

Our Little Ones Watch a Protest

The other day Emma’s best friend, Karoleen, and her younger brother, Boula, came over to play at our home following church. As the kids were gathered around the table working on crafts, I heard the familiar sounds of a protest approaching. A fair number have passed near the house in recent months, although they usually … Continue reading

Egypt for Expats… Ugh?

Egypt for Expats… Ugh?

We like it here, but many people don’t, it seems. From the Washington Post, reporting on a survey by HSBC bank: The worst of these 34 countries to be an expat is Egypt, which has seen xenophobia rise considerably since this summer’s military coup and wave of populist nationalism. East Asian nations rank highest, and … Continue reading

Changes in the Neighborhood

Changes in the Neighborhood

We spent a good part of this past summer in the United States, far away from the explosive political situation. As we prepared to return, nearly everyone asked a similar question: Is it safe? It was a fair question. Hundreds of supporters of the deposed president were killed while security dispersed their sit-in. Dozens of … Continue reading

A Family Errand through Tahrir

A Family Errand through Tahrir

My life in Cairo is spent mostly in our house and the surrounding area of Maadi, which is about half an hour from the famous Tahrir Square.  Friends and family in the states get nervous when they see the violence and flare-ups in Egypt, but the reality for me is generally far removed.  Last week, … Continue reading

Family in Tahrir

Family in Tahrir

With Egypt on the eve of another potentially massive demonstration, it is time to pull these pictures out from the archive. They are from the day I took my four year old daughter and her grandfather to Tahrir. I didn’t post them immediately, as I didn’t want to scare the rest of the extended family. … Continue reading

2012 Blog Statistics Review

2012 Blog Statistics Review

At the end of each year, our blogging platform – WordPress – provides a summary of the year’s activity. It gives us the chance to say ‘thank you’ to all of you who read our blog, looking backwards while looking forwards. Please click here if you would like to see our review post from 2011. … Continue reading

Alexander’s Subuu3

Alexander’s Subuu3

About six weeks ago, we welcomed baby Alexander into our lives. According to Egyptian tradition, one week later we should have given him a Subuu3. Subuu3 is related to the Arabic word for ‘week’, and the number three at the end represents an Arabic letter absent in English. We delayed his party, however, until his … Continue reading

Naming Alexander

Naming Alexander

Our daughter Emma Hope Casper is six years old and in first grade in the Egyptian private school system. As a foreigner, she is different in many ways from all of her fellow students, yet shares one important commonality. She is known as Emma Jayson. A few days ago we invited readers to come along … Continue reading

To Name Our Son in Egypt

To Name Our Son in Egypt

Come November 6, I will no longer be Abu Talaat Banat – the father of three girls. Though it is not so prevalent in Egypt, in good Arab fashion I will soon be Abu ….. – the father of the name of our first-born son. So what name will we choose? The rule is that … Continue reading

Touring Egypt with Egyptians

Our family recently had the privilege to go on a Nile tour from Luxor to Aswan.  With my parents visiting from the US, one of the sites my Dad wanted to see was the Valley of the Kings.  At first we said it was too far to try, but then Jayson heard our local Orthodox … Continue reading

Living in Fear

“I haven’t gone out in over a year.” This was one of the statements my friend said to me the other day in talking about the changes in Egypt recently, particularly the lack of safety. “I used to go out with my sister-in-law.  I would leave the kids at my mother-in-law’s house, and my sister … Continue reading