Monday, March 11, 2013

A Good Beginning

3-9-13 through 3-10-13
I woke up early to pack so that I could spend as much time with the kids as possible. It went fairly well. We had a nice breakfast. We went for a fun walk together. Brother Bowles, our High Priest Group leader came over and gave me a very nice blessing. He told me that I would see that some things had already been put in place to open doors for me and that others would fall into place and things would work out well. He blessed me with inspiration and an ability to do good things and keep everyone safe. I felt so good after the blessing. I gave Julianne a blessing and felt great about that too.

David Whitchurch picked me up and took me to the airport. We met Joyce Smith there and together worked our way through checking in, security, etc., only to find out that our flight was delayed. We left over an hour late, which was worrisome because we only had 2 hours in Paris, and it is a slow airport to work your way through as you try to get from one plane to the next. The flight was long, but was not too bad. It went by quickly enough, but I hate those long flights that take you away from home. I hate leaving home. I hate being away from my family. I don’t want to keep leaving them.

We made up some time in the air and got to Paris with a bit over an hour before our next flight. Then it turned out that we did not have to go far to reach our terminal, and we had no one in the security line, and we made it with plenty of time. When it was time to get on the plane, it did not look like they really got my boarding pass scanned. I didn’t think much about it. Then, when it was time to leave, they got on the intercom and told us that they just had to take the luggage back off the plane because some people had not gotten on the plane. I had the feeling that they were talking about me, and that since my boarding pass did not scan they did not think I was on there. But then they asked for some passengers to come see them if they were on the plane, and my name was not one of them, so I thought it wasn’t me. I felt again that my luggage was being taken off. But I didn’t see a flight attendant around, so I didn’t do anything about it. The flight was not terribly long or bad, but on top of the last flight it seemed like we were gone forever, and I hated getting further away from my family. I do like having an international phone with me so that I can email them as I go along so they know how I am. But still, I hate being gone.

When we finally got to the airport in Cairo I felt like things were going smoothly. We were to meet Kristin South there, and I kept looking for her, but I did not find her. Then I figured out that David’s and Joyce’s luggage had arrived, but not mine. I was very upset with myself for not having listened to my feelings. At least I had felt that morning that I needed to put a few things like toothbrush, pajamas, etc. in my carryon, despite how full it was with the data projector I was bringing. I am glad I did that. I had to stand in line for 1.5 hours to get the form filled out about my luggage. They already knew it was in Paris without me (so maybe it wasn’t what I thought it was). They promised they would get it delivered to the hotel tomorrow night. They told me I could spend some money on clothes at their expense.

In the mean time, Hanafy Anwar, our driver, was trying to find me to let me know he was out in front. Kristin was looking for us and couldn’t find us. After a few calls on the my international phone (that will cost a bit, but worth it), we all found each other. As we drove to the hotel (about an hour) everyone kept talking about how good it was to be back and how much they had missed it and loved the sights and sounds. I like it okay, but to me it has gotten to be the sights and sounds of being away from my family. I am okay with doing this, but I don’t love it, I want to be gone less. If I could find someone to take this over or at least share in it more, I would do that. I have the feeling that if I just keep coming every year that sooner or later something will not work well for me. I will enjoy my time here because I don’t believe in not doing that, but I am not dying to get here like the others. I am dying to be at home.

It did not take long to unpack and get settled in since I have no luggage with me. I got some things done on the computer, and after quite a while visited with my family via skype while they were at my parents’ house. It is so nice that we can do that. I guess that actually happened after I had finally fallen asleep for two hours. I was tired enough I went right back to sleep. I am here, I am safe, and I am glad to get this going. Lets just hope we can make it go well.


I slept in just long enough to have time get ready and join everyone for breakfast. It was nice to see old friends and be blessed by their friendliness and willingness to help. Because I did not have my bag here I did not have a lot of the paperwork, pictures, etc., that I had prepared to have here. So I spent much of my morning getting that all ready. I also bought a new pair of pants to wear. We finally went to our meeting. As we walked I somehow missed a turn and we didn’t make it to the right place. We found our way back, but were a little late. It did not end up mattering. The front of the building is all locked up and we have to go through a back entrance now. They must have had some hostility and problems. That is going around right now. There are riots all over the place. We have to really watch out and work hard to avoid problems. We waited quite a while. In the meantime the secretary read to us the names of the people that had been approved for work this year. She read to us last year’s names, which is missing quite a few of the people who will be here this year. That caused us some anxiety, and I was quickly working through various ways to make this work. After some time we figured out that she had just grabbed the wrong file. We had the right one sent over. It turns out that they have approved everyone and we are set to go. The offices out in the Fayoum usually like a bit of a donation so they can buy paper, ink, etc., but they have never asked for it here before. Today they did. Surprise! We spoke with Mohammed Ismail Khaled, the head of the committee that approves these things, about some work that was once started with Dr. Zahi Hawass. We asked him if we should keep working on the project or what we should do. He said that we should see if Dr. Hawass wants to still work on it with us. Then he called Dr. Hawass right then and there. That surprised us. Dr. Hawass wanted us to come visit him right then and there so we could talk about it. That surprised us too. We were given very detailed directions to his house. But first we needed to go get our archaeologist cards. We went to the downstairs office and found that the person we needed was not there, but was in the Abbusayah building, in downtown Cairo.

We caught a taxi, got to the office just before it was to close, and got everything taken care of. It worked extremely well and it was all done before too long. That is the quickest we have ever been able to get everything done. So then we caught a taxi and found our way, after only a few wrong turns, to Dr. Hawass’ house. He invited us in. He was as gracious and charming as a person could ever be. It was an amazingly pleasant visit. It was productive and enjoyable. He asked if he could take us all to dinner sometime soon. I have seldom been around someone who was as charming and pleasant as was Zahi Hawass today.
We were also able to buy a bunch of water to get us through the excavation season, and were able to exchange all sorts of money, but certainly not enough to get us through the season. I bleed money almost the whole time I am here. It just seems to flow from me.

After dinner I was able to arrange some meetings with other archaeologists out here, and with some other great people we want to meet and do things with while here. Things are going very, very well. They will go especially well if I can get my luggage here tonight so that I can have all the things I need with me when we go out to the Fayoum tomorrow.

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