"Just returned from a trip abroad-- so many wonderful events at once,
definitely a special summer. Began in May with my husband's film,
"Da Vinci Code," opening in Cannes, France. Admittedly, it's initial
reception went a bit rough with the critics, but in the end the public
supported Ronny's efforts, domestically and internationally.
As always, I'm proud of and grateful to the audiences.
In June, my oldest daughter, Bryce, married her
long-time sweetheart of five years, Seth Gabel, at our home.
After the wedding, literally the next day, with honeymooners
voluntarily in tow, we joined 31 family members for a 10 day family
vacation to Turkey and Greece.
This summer I also had a chance to visit Ali, my dear friend from
Pakistan, and his very extended family in Brussels and
Holland. After an easy hour and a half train ride from Paris, I met Ali
in Brussels where I was graciously greeted into the home of Ali's
cousin, her husband, Answar, an Iman, and their lovely children.
Later, we walked through the streets of their neighborhood and enjoyed
a virtual feast of seafood and meats in a local Egyptian restaurant.
That afternoon, Answar, a gentle teacher of the Koran, drove Ali and
myself for over three hours to Den Haag, Holland to visit more of Ali's
In the home of Ali's nephew, with children and relatives filling the
comfortable space (most of the family lives within walking distance of
one another) I was served (feeling very spoiled) with a delicious array
of homemade dishes. After dinner, we piled back into the car Answar
rented and toured Den Haag until almost midnight. After talking into
the early hours of the morning, I was graciously given the only
bedroom, while Ali, his brother (his wife and child were visiting
relatives in Pakistan), and Answar slept in the living area.
Morning came quickly, a sweet breakfast, then back into the car to
Brussels where I got back onto the train to Paris, but not before
visiting Answar's mosque and neighborhood madrassa (school of Islam)
where Answar read Arabic, teaching tolerance and the teachings of Allah
from the Koran to all ages for free, five days a week.
It was a fascinating visit with Ali and his family and as always, my
questions of Islam, their clan, and their customs, were answered fully
and respectfully. And as typical with a guest in a Muslim home,
I felt quite indulged.
As for my next book, I'm hoping to visit the Caucasus next year.
After some extensive research, I would probably go through a two-week
anti-terror training course with an instructor from Special Forces, then fly to
Russia. My next book will hopefully explore Russia, Georgia, and Chechnya, with the
dynamics of that region, their peoples, their politics, and their beliefs... should be interesting."