Sunday, February 5, 2012

Greetings from Cairo!

Sallam Alaikum!

Where did 2011 go? It has been ages since we updated our blog, and we apologize to all our family and friends who have visited our site only to find old news! So as I repent for my failure in keeping you all up-to-date, I also make a new year's resolutions to include at least a monthly update post from now on.

Highlights from 2011:
· Robert got to travel to Guam, Saipan, and Tinian, some of the Northern Marianas Islands, for work. While there he got to visit many of the World War II historical sites and gained a better appreciation for what the veterans, on both sides of the war, had to endure.

· Without fail, Robert is again deployed on Valentine’s Day! Oh well, it’s the thought that counts right?

· James KeAli’i turns 8….unfortunately, he has to wait for Daddy to get back from a work trip to get baptized.
· Robert Mateialona turns 6. What a bubbly, happy, and makulit (cheeky) boy he has turned out to be. Robby loves going to school and has done quite well adapting to being gone from Mommy all day and making lots of new friends!
· Japan is hit with a record-breaking earthquake and tidal-wave that kills thousands. Robert is called in to work around-the-clock at the Pacific Command Center in support of OPERATION TOMODACHI. He played a big role in providing logistics support to the rescue and relief efforts happening in the Japan.

· James KeAli'i was baptized at the Waipahu Hawaii Stake Center. The baptismal service was conducted by Brother KeAloha and was a small intimate gathering of family and friends. We were blessed to have Papa Modesto with us as well to witness and perform Ali’i’s confirmationi. We love our little Ali'i (Hawaiian for King or Chief) and are proud of this big step in his life.
· Abi turns....ouch!...21 again:)
· Robert finds out he is up for an assignment and volunteers to take the position of Joint Logistics Program Manager, in Cairo, Egypt! Not exactly the safest place in the world, just experiencing a “Revolution” against the ruling government, but a lot better than the alternative of Iraq or Afghanistan!

· Isiboy (Israel Modesto) officially becomes a, seems like yesterday I was changing his diapers….and he is still giving me crap!:). Seriously though, Isi has really grown up over this past year….not so much in stature as maturity, but he has done a great job being more responsible in his school-work and as a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood.

· Our little Princess turns 12 and enters the Young Women program. What a wonderful young lady she is turning out to be. Always so loving (with an iron fist!) to her brothers, we can always count on Esa to make sure things are taken care of whenever we leave the kids alone at home :)
· We finally got our orders to report to Cairo, Egypt. Mama came to help us pack up our household and help with the move. Mom and Dad were a big help too in getting our house ready and on the Market to sell….we were so sad to bid farewell to our little home in Paradise!

· Robert leaves ahead of the family to report in to Cairo, and make sure it is all clear for the rest of the family. Abi and the kids take a short detour to the Philippines to visit family and friends before joining Robert in Cairo.

· Kids start school at the Cairo American College, an international school (despite its name) consisting of Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and High School. Pretty neat all 4 of the Kongaika’s get to attend the same school!
· Abi applies for and is hired on as a Certifying official for USAID, yeah….party time at our place!

· We received good news that our home was finally closed on, a true miracle in this low mortgage crisis time.
· Robert receives more good news that the Air Force has decided to retain him in the service. Robert was one of thousands of Airmen being considered for Force Shaping this year (3rd time he has had to experience this since he joined the Air Force). Sadly, many of his good friends and prior coworkers were not as fortunate.

· Robert turns 21+….and feeling every year:)!

· We decided to take a trip to see the Red Sea and travelled to Hurgada. A nice long (4 hours) ride on the desert road, the views of the ocean and desert were pretty breathtaking. Hurgada was beautiful. We enjoyed a relaxing couple of days at the beach and pool-side and ate way too much food that they just kept serving usJ. We definitely need to go back there again!
· Ali’i tries to master the “Rip-Stick” and falls and fractures his elbow. He has to wear a cast for a few weeks and learns the importance of listening to Daddy when he tells you not to skate in the house! :)
· We spent our first Thanksgiving in Cairo. We invited our Filipino friends and had a fun time eating a traditional Pinoy Style Thanksgiving complete with Turkey, Lumpia, and all the fixing to include Dad’s famous potato rolls! Of course we couldn’t complete the night without some Thanksgiving Karaoke! :)

· We were planning on having Christmas in Cairo, but instead we decided to travel to Rome for more of the Christmas feel. Rome was great, the culture, the food, the history….but it was dang expensive with all the Euros we spent! After 3 straight days of walking throughout the city and seeing all the sites, we decided to camp out for the day in our hotel room for a movie marathon and some sleepy time for Mom and Dad….one of the highlights of our trip that I guess we could have done anywhere, but why not Rome?!? The other highlight of the trip was Robert arguing with one of the tour bus drivers to let us off at the advertised stopping point and hearing, “I donta lika my joba….I don’t lika the popa, I don’t lika the people who coma to sea da popa! Go cry to da popa, I donta carea!”:)

· Spent New Year’s eve at the Smbke’s. Had a great time playing games and just having fun with members of our Cairo Branch. The next day we got up, made a big spread and invited more friends over for the New Year’s after party….and of course, more Karaoke!:)

As we look back at the highlights of 2011, we are so grateful for all that the Lord has blessed us with including our challenges. We look forward to a great 2012 full of more opportunities to learn and grow as a family. To all our friends and Family we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and we hope to see you all again soon!

‘Ofa lahi atu, Mahal namin kayo, and Masalama until we meet again!