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What could be more fulfilling—or more life altering—than an adventure halfway around the world? Seeking to live on the edge of one's comfort zone in an unfamiliar culture, searching for likeminded colleagues, growing one's own professional knowledge and experience; these are goals for many who work internationally. But for Sarah Thompson, IB Spanish teacher at AISE - West, the daydream turned into reality, and “profound experiences shape our day-to-day living and change our lives,” she writes. “A year ago, after we learned we would be moving to Cairo, my husband Bruce, newly retired from a successful career in construction and facilities management, spent hours studying satellite images of Africa, Cairo and the River Nile. Frequently, he pondered aloud, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to live on a houseboat, ON the Nile?’ I could hardly imagine such a scenario.”
Decades ago, Bruce and his friend cruised the Caribbean for more than four years, while Sarah lived confined to the shore all her life. As he analyzed Google Maps, he even narrowed down the ideal location of his fantasy, somewhere just off of Gazira Island, fondly referred to around here as Zamalek. Well-known as infinitely interesting, where lovely little neighborhoods, tree-lined streets and multinational flavors make it a frequent destination for Cairenes and expats alike. “Our initial apartment search in August landed us in a new, safe flat with zero view of the sky and zero view of the river,” said Sarah. Hearing a random comment in an otherwise typical department meeting, one day, she discovered that her colleague knew a friend with a houseboat apartment for rent. On the Nile. Just off of Zamalek. Ready that week! “A month later, we are watching the sun set and the moon rise. We see the fishermen in the morning mist and the afternoon river taxi with its precious cargo, regular as the ancient waves it sends under our new home.”