Canada, travel, ultimate & marathons

Yikes!  It’s even longer than I realized since my last entry.  I’ve had a few interesting things happen in the past 6 weeks, so I’d thought I’d use this post to catch people up on what’s new.

The first is that my wife and I have officially made the choice to return to Canada after the school year.

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There are a lot of factors that played to our decision, but the one of the biggest is my wife’s teaching job.  These past 3 years she’s been fortunate to be on leave from her position in Canada.  That would likely not continue if we chose to stay abroad for another year.  While we both love the international experience, neither of us are sure we want to give up the security and benefits her Canadian job provides – especially given the recent downturn in the economy.  We figure if we return and don’t like it, we can always go abroad again. Also, we’ve come to the realization that we’re the type of people who need a change of scenery every few years, and now seems like the right time to move on.

We’ve started letting people in Egypt know we’re moving back, which as anyone who’s experienced a pending major move knows, comes with mixed emotions. I hope to blog a little more about what I’ll miss (and won’t miss!) about our life here in the near future, but the people we’ll be leaving behind is certainly one of the most difficult things about returning.  We’ve both made some really great friends here.

What else?

Well, we spent 8 days in Israel in mid-March.  It was a much needed break for both of us. The excuse for the trip was the Jerusalem Marathon on March 17, where I ran the half-marathon and my wife participated in the 10K.  We both really enjoyed the country.  It was a nice mix between Europe and the Middle East.  We visited the cities of Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv.  Jerusalem was our favorite.  I loved the contrasts – old vs. new, religious vs. secular and traditional vs. modern.  Here are just a few of the highlights from the trip.

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Approaching the finish line of the Half Marathon in Jerusalem

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The Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount in Jerusalem

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On the streets of the Old City, Jerusalem

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Jewish pilgrims praying at the Western Wall, Jerusalem

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Relaxing on the beach in Tel Aviv

Baha’i Gardens in Haifa

These next couple of weeks we’ve also got a few other big events that we’ll be participating in.  The first is an Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Alexandria next week.  It will be a quick trip, but likely the last time we’ll get to visit before we go back to Canada, so it’ll be worth it.  I’m looking forward to a big seafood meal after a long day of Ultimate. We’ve been thankful to find the Ultimate community in Cairo.  It has been a lot of fun being able to get out once/week to play, as well as see the sport here grow.

The second event is the Cairo Runners Half Marathon on April 15th.  I was very excited to hear that this year’s offering would be taking place in our neighborhood of Maadi, so I won’t even have to worry about taking a taxi out to the race site.  In true Egyptian fashion registration only opened last week and some of the race details haven’t yet been provided (ie. a route map), but it will be fun either way.  And thousands of people will show up.  Plus, since I’m already “trained” from the previous Jerusalem race, it’s really just a matter of maintaining my fitness for the next couple of weeks (and not injuring myself in the process!).

I promise it won’t take another 6 weeks for the next update!

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