Friday, June 29, 2012

My Guru....

After that last little post talking i just wanted to dedicate a 
post to two people here who have inspired me here in Cairo...

the first is my director,
when she gave me this job i was the shell of a dancer.
I had just been let go from my last company where i had been made
and not good enough to even be on stage.

But she saw something in me and gave me a job as a soloist.
i'll admit it, f
or the first couple of months i felt like a fraud.
When they called for the soloist, or read out my name in castings,
 i was so confused that they really meant me!

And she gave me roles that i felt i didnt quite deserve
 but at the end of it i realised that i could do it and that i did have it in me.
I became what she saw in me.
 I became confident and enjoyed the opportunities that she gave to me. 
I enjoyed working in rehearsals with her.
Madam alla with her broken arm and the 'pas de troisers'

The other person i would like to mention is Madam Alla.
Madam Alla is very scary when you first meet her. 
She only speaks russian...
and i can only imagine that she is a hundred years old.... 
She only rehearses the soloists...and she rehearses them hard.... 

In my first rehearsals with her i got so worried every time 
she shouted at  me, she would get so angry. 
Then when everybody else had done their variation once or twice 
and finished rehearsals and were ready to go home 
she made me stay and do it two more times. 
I felt inadequate and wanted to work hard to please her.
When the corps de ballet have holidays or there is an extra day off, 
if you are working with Madam Alla you dont take holidays, 
you work on National Days and extras on weekends. 

During the performances she is pretty nerve-wrecking, 
she stands in the wings and you can see her disapproving looks 
when you make a mistake, 
stomping her foot hard if you get out of time, 
she finds you after your variation and either gives you the head nod or the head shake.....
yes she can be intimidating....
the more i have worked with her the more i have learned
 that she pushes her dancers so hard because she wants the best from us.
madam Alla watching from the wings

After one performance of Swan Lake,
 i hadnt felt like i had done particularly well and was scared to see her the next day
 as i thought she had been watching from the audience. 
She came to me the next morning and apologised that she didnt have
 any corrections to give me, she was so sorry, 
but she had been sick and had had to go to hospital during the performance. 
She was absolutely  devastated that she hadnt been there for me....
(i told her i danced the performance good not to worry...hehe).
and it was so nice to know how much she cared about 
my performance...not for her...but for me, she wanted me to do My best.

I'm grateful for the chance that i have had to work with these two women 
who have both pushed and inspired me in different ways.
And its the inspiration and reaching of goals that they gave me that has
left me feeling content with my career
in a way i never could have not so long ago.

New Horizons....

So this is it,
my last week and a half as a professional Ballet dancer....
and how do i feel?

actually i feel tired and fed up.
I think this reaction is more to do with being here in Cairo,
i'm so fed up with this city, it doesnt suit me at all.
the lifestyle, the way people communicate, the dirt, the political unrest
its not me, 
and its been wearing me down for the last two years
and i cant wait to leave.

And i cant seem to disconnect that feeling of really looking forward
 to leaving here for good with the feelings
 i ought to be having about my life as a dancer finishing.

I feel like i ought to be having some regrets, 
some nostalgia....
but it just isnt there...
i am fed up here 
and all i can focus on is getting out of this joint.

I was thinking today that perhaps this is a good thing, 
perhaps its all part of the big plan. 
So many dancers cant give it up, they cant let go,
and being here has worn me down to the point where i am just happy to let go.

Ballet class bores me,
its seems so tedious and repetitive,
but that is nothing to do with ballet itself,
its to do with working with the same teachers in class for the past 2 years 
who for those 2 years havent inspired me or motivated me, 
they have bored me, 
bored me to the point where i have stopped trying and i dont care anymore.

I look in the mirror and i get frustrated with the imperfections
 which i feel are getting more imperfect rather than improving....
and then i realise that i dont have to care or get frustrated about those imperfections anymore,
 so i dont.

The last few months i havent been cast in anything 
that has required me to push myself,
when i was doing Swan Lake i was pushing myself technically,
 and Danses Qu'on Croise i was pushing myself emotionally, but now i'm just drifting in the background...fading away.

I know its going to hit me later.
Hit me when i've not done class for a while and realise how good i had it.
and i'm already looking into places where i can do classes over the summer when i'm on dry land
ballet is a part of my soul,

but for now i need that break.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wedding Fever.....

It turns out i'm not the only one who has caught the wedding bug in this relationship.
Whilst on skype with my  Husband-To-Be last night
 he told me he had taken a newly wed couple out 
sailing that morning and had 'spent the whole day talking about weddings'.

So i said,
'thats nice. What was their wedding like?'

To which he replied,
'I don't know, i didnt ask.'

which translates as he spent the whole morning 
talking about his wedding....

he wont admit it but he's hooked....

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Movie Favourites.....

I love a movie, especially a chick flick,
 that i can watch again and again and always enjoy.

Like, 'Forces of Nature'
with Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck

It's about a straight laced guy trying to get to his wedding when all the odds are against him,
everything that can go wrong does....
and on the way he meets the care-free Sandra Bullock who ends up travelling with him.

I know its not a serious style movie,
but it makes me smile and laugh the whole way through
and the last 5 minutes never fails to give me goosebumps...
and tears...lots of tears.

I've been watching lots of wedding-themed movies lately....
for 'research'...

let me just say this,
there is barely a wedding themed movie that doesnt have
a bride/groom being abandoned at the alter....

please dont tell me that that is a 
common feature in real weddings....

Thursday, June 21, 2012


There's been a lot of wedding talk here recently....
but here's the thing i get to be engaged and talk as much talk wedding talk
for only six months of my life,
so i'm going to make the most of it!

But incase anyone is bored of it,
here are some pictures from the last performances that we did of
Danses qu'on Croise - by the Choreographer Thierry Malandain 
that i spoke about a few weeks ago.

These are from the first stage rehearsal,
 so my hair is a mess and the pink leg warmer is not part of the costume 
but to keep my injured knee warm 
(i'd have taken it off if i'd known my friend was taking pictures)

Also, please note i am not a smoker!
in fact i am one of the few non-smokers in the company
and yet of course got cast as the role of'Smoking Girl'
I realised that i dont even know how to light a cigarette...
Thankfully i never had to learn, just waved it around a bit....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My fiance is better than your fiance.....

Oh yes he is,
He is the shiz!
the Bees Knees,
and All That Jazz.

Yesterday he sat on a bus for 6 hours to take  me half-made 
wedding dress to London to the Wedding Dress Doctor.

He listens to my frequent melt downs 
(wedding related and non-wedding related)
and doesnt treat me like the crazy lady i really am.

He does lots of 'wedding duties' that he probably couldn't care less
about, but knows are important to me

He reminds me to say nice things to people 
when i'm feeling grumpy and want to said rude-in-your-face-things
to people who deserve it.

He plays daily online scrabble with me even though it 
may be his least favourite game in the world.

and i know that even know we are a million miles away,
next time we go into a shop together he will secretly buy me a Kinder-Egg 
because he knows it will make me smile.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I am not psychic......

The most frustrating thing about organising the wedding so
 far is getting people to actually commit to coming.....
no let me rephrase...
its getting people to TELL US what their plans are.
(perhaps in their heads they are already committed to coming)

I told Captain Tim the other day,
 next time we get invited to a wedding we are RSVPing the very next day.

Since getting engaged people seem to think that i have developed psychic abilities...
I have not.
If you have decided in your head that you are coming (or not coming) 
to the wedding this does not count as RSVPing

It's very hard to plan a wedding when you dont know how many people are coming,
it affects the budget and the buying of things in a big way....
over-buy and its a waste of money, 
under buy and people are going to be without seats and food.

Not only that we can only have a certain amount of people in the room....
Captain Tim wants to over invite because 20% of guests will surely not show up....
i on the other had do not look forward to telling people who turn up sans RSVP. 
' RSVP makes you a fire hazard....'

So i have a whole bunch of people i havent invited yet,
waiting for the first 'group of invitees' to get back to me....

perhaps they never will. 

Friday, June 15, 2012


For the last 2 years here in Cairo I've been teaching a Sunday School class for 3-4year olds at my church.

I must say they probably havent learnt all that much.
I've never quite got them into the habit that they should raise their hand and then speak.
And sometimes i've done the same lesson two weeks in a row,
just to see if they even remember..
they dont....

but i cant tell you that we have had a lot of fun, 

and its been a great learning experience for me.

And they are the cutest little group of kids with the most loving hearts.

There is nothing better than walking into church and the cutest kids in town
running up to you to 
hug your knees.


So i realised i never wrote where we finally decided to mini-moon.

I loved these little thatched cottages in Skye...

but it was double our budget.

And then i came across this....

A lighthouse in the Highlands of Scotland,
the nearest village is 10 miles away.

We are renting the 'First Officers Quarters'

(they also have a part which is a youth hostel for any people hiking in the Highlands...
just please dont disturb us)

Captain Tim was very excited....
he really loves water...
give him an ocean, a lake or a pond and he is happy.

in fact quite often i can make him watch movies 
that i could never normally make him watch if i promise him that there is a boat in it....
its so easy....

our actual honey moon (ICELAND!!!!!) is getting more and more post-poned.
It went from being in October, to November and yesterday jumped to January....

i keep telling the further it gets away from our wedding date 
the less it becomes a honeymoon and the more it becomes a holiday....

(I just hope the weather isnt like this....)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


My fiancee just emailed me our post-wedding plans...

its looking a bit like this -

September - Beginning of October-
Get married, have a mini-moon.....
sail from Scotland to England

October to beginning of November
Sail from England to Morocco

Sail down the coast of Morocco 

December, January 2013, February
Winter the boat in Morocco or Lanzarote 

Later Feb
Meet up with the owner in Dakar

March, April
Sail Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau

Cross Atlantic to Brazil 

thats quite a big change from Swan Lake and Nutcracker rehearsals.....

Although Tim tells me that these are only guidelines as his Boss's
 destinations normally end up changing every time the wind does.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

You are cordially invited....

 My invitations were made by my bridesmaids.
I wrote Sarah a list of ideas that i had and she drew up some pictures.

They went through various incarnations....

For example 
my original idea was that the picture had Tim and I as a ballet dancer and a sailor on the front....

 but i found it not so we re-thought it.

Then began the great hair debate....
I cant tell you how many back and forths we had about Tims hairstyle....
lets just say that Sarah was far more generous with the amount of hair on Tims head than God is...

My idea was always to have vintage looking postcards.
Nothing to intricate or too fancy.

Also i had a stamp made up which i use to stamp the back of them...
the stamp is such good quality that it looks like they are printed....
so i may have well just saved the time and money of the stamp!

After having the finished picture 
i then sent it onto my Maid Of Honour in Slovenia, Nina.
Who with her boyfriend went round the printers and got us some good quality/good priced printing.
they also re-arranged the images a bit to make it look neater....

All my invitations were sent out without me ever having seen them....
but when i finally saw them last week i was so happy...
they were just how i had envisioned them!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Bling Bling...

So on our to do list this week was find wedding rings.
My cousin Zina works in a jewellers so we brought her along with us. 
(and my little sister/bridesmaid Georgia (who it turns out is my biggest blog reader...
Shout Out To Georgia!)

The day before we had planned to meet up with Zina 
we casually passed some jewellery shops, 
and having a little bit of extra time decided to go in and have a look. 
I saw a ring i liked and tried it on....

it turned out after an intensive day where we visited pretty much every ring shop in Edinburgh 
(new and antique) that yes, i went back to the very first ring that i tried on....
oh dear....poor fiancee.

On the other hand my engagement ring is a whole different story...
i guess i wasnt really sure what i wanted, 
but i seemed to have at least narrowed it down after all the 
shops we went in and have a clearer idea of what i want.

In fact at one point i thought i had almost found it. 
we passed a shop we hadnt seen the day before and popped in 
and found a ring that was exceedingly cheap and also 
ticking quite a few other boxes. 
Being indecisive i decided to leave it and think about it. 
meeting up with my Nana later in the day i took her back to the shop
 to get her opinion on the ring....
only to find the shop had just shut.

I was so upset as i had decided that that was definitely the ring for me.
Just our luck, the owner of the shop was just leaving 
and i begged him to re-open the shop to have a look at the ring...
i told him i had changed my mind and now wanted to buy it.

And i tried it on and i said, Yes! i want it.
So he opened up his till again.....

and then No....
i decided i wasnt sure, so i scarped out of the shop as fast as possible 
with my tail between my legs and my head hung low.
Being an antique shop it may mean i ve lost my chance of the ring.....
but i think i have to love it....
like i did my wedding ring.

i think it has to be love at first sight....

So still engagement ringless
(my big sister was mortified that i am picking my own engagement ring,

its his choice she said.....hmmmm...maybe not)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More dress disasters....

After the great dress disasters that have already occured...
things with my dress dont seem to be getting much easier.

On arriving in Edinburgh the first thing i did was take my dress
(well parts of it) to a dressmakers to get them to refit it for
 me and replace the terrible zip that had been put on.

so i go into the shop and put the dress on and come out 
of the changing room to show the woman what need fixed.

She looked at me and said,
'I dont understand what is this....
Its so Ugly...
Is this your wedding dress?'

At which point already being in a pretty tender 
state i didnt know what to do.
I took the dress off as quick as possible and got out 
of the shop before i broke into tears.

I drove over to another dressmakers and in floods of tears tried to explain
 to them that i needed my dress fixed. 
The dress maker replaced the zip and had to adjust the fittings by 4cm.....
he couldnt believe that this was a dress that had supposedly been made for me.

So the refitted under part of the dress and all the other 
bits of unfinished pieces are now on their way to London 
where my sister is going to look at them to see what she can salvage out of my monstrosity.

Fingers crossed

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Intensive Wedding Planning....

This week i flew into Scotland to meet up with my fiancĂ©e and do 4 days of intensive wedding plan.

Here's what we managed to do -

Apply for our wedding license
Meet with the Bishop who will marry us
Go and have a look at the reception hall we have booked
Meet with our caterer
Look into hotels near our venues for our wedding night.
Buy new bridesmaid dresses.
Have slight alterations made on the wedding dress
See the wedding venue (this almost didnt happen.....thankfully it all worked out)
Buy/reserve wedding rings.
Try on my veil.
Had some kilt fittings
(oh my goodness, i went crazy goo-ga-ga in 
the shop at how cute my fiancee looked in a kilt)
Introduce his mum to my mum

Plus we sneaked in a couple of trips to the cinema and a family bbq.

It was all a bit nerve racking, seeing as we had booked nearly all our wedding thall and church via the internet without having actually seen them first.

Thankfully they were both well beyond our expectations....phew!

Still quite a lot to be done....

Get the wedding dress finished (major disasters in this department)
Organise a dj for the evening
Organise a piper for the wedding...
Organise a cello player
Organise a singer/ukulele player  
(yes we are not doing well in the musical department)
Organise transport between venues.
Think about decorations (oh yes, we are still on the thinking stage in that area)
Find me an engagement ring (i'm way too picky)
Get guests to actually RSVP to us....

but its okay....still 95 days to go....