The First Year Overseas
This will be Nell's tale of her year before she married Ron. At the end of August that year, I sailed from New Jersey on the SSExcambian, a freighter with room for about 125 passengers. That spoiled me for ever wanting to sail on a large cruise ship. I had a great voyage (once I found my sea legs after about 24 hours). After 15 days at sea, with stops in Marsailles, France and Naples, Italy, we arrived in Alexandria, Egypt. We stayed in Cairo a few days before heading on to Asyut (sometimes spelled Assiut). In Asyut I taught music at Pressley Memorial Institute (PMI), a 12 year school for girls.
There were two buildings on the compound. One for the classrooms and the other one with a dining room, a parlor and offices on the first floor. The rest was a dormitory.
Here I am seen entering my room on the roof of the dormitory building.
Our school had only one car (a van) and it wasn't used very often. We either walked or rode our bicycles for getting around town. Therefore, the two days a week I went to the boys school on the other side of town, I rode my bicycle. Children of various missionaries to other parts of Africa were boarded and schooled there. I taught the music classes for them.
Our Thanksgiving Day dinner that November was held outdooors. The weather was still very mild.
In our free time we had a variety of things we could do. Playing tennis was a favorite sport. Some weekends we would go to the tennis matches. One Saturday, we went to an alabaster quarry for a picnic. That was an interesting area, although we didn't pick up any alabaster.
One of my favorite new things to do was afternoon tea. Somedays the families of our students would invite us to join them at their homes. I didn't speak much Arabic, but soon learned a lot by listening. If we were not invited out, we had tea daily in our parlor.