I spend much of my time marveling at the fact that I am here. It doesn’t make sense that a silly white girl from Minnesota studying environmental studies would end up in a place like Cairo, but here I am. And on top of that I am here decidedly, after two years worth of return attempts. While usually I am stunned by the circumstances of my life, today
I am just so happy to be here.
This morning I just had a feeling today will be a good day. And it has been. My walk to Kalimat is lovely. It is hot here, but usually breezy. I am always wearing my black skinny jeans, so I am still trying to navigate the fatigue, but it is only a 30 minute walk. I am always carrying water. I drink often, but it just seems to make me more thirsty. It’s all major streets on my way to class. I enjoy walking down the median. There is less foot traffic and fewer stalls selling things there. On Ahmed Oraby St the median contains a sizable grassy park for it’s entire length. Oraby ends at Sphinx Square where turn onto Gam3at il-Dowl St. Gam3at il-Dowl is even larger so the median contains benches, majestic palm trees, and pavilions. There are even a few fountains. It almost reminds me of the channel running down the middle of the streets in Dusseldorf (Mom, Celesta, you know what I’m talking about). I just love it. It’s like a little oasis in the middle of the honking cars, plastic stores, and dirty buildings.
My Arabic classes are great. I have officially been pinned as the silly, if not stupid, American by my peers. I’m the butt of most of the jokes and I think it’s very funny.
After class, I got lunch with my German buddy once again. We sat at one of those pavilions on Gam3at il-Dowl. He can be bit negative, and he isn’t quite as enthusiastic as I am about how beautiful the trees are and things like that, but really, who is? I still enjoy his company. To little boys came and sat at our pavilion. They weren’t bothering us at all, but when I way one pull out a cigarette I had to ask how old they where: THIRTEEN. I expressed my disapproval, but then I had fun trying to speak with them. They were excited about the elections. One of the boys’ father is dead, and he goes to school Fayoum. They asked if we were married, and I explained that we are colleagues (zamileen). They gave me pumpkin seeds to eat (German friend did not accept the seeds, on the grounds he would not eat them... tsk tsk.) And they didn’t ask about money until the very end of the conversation. I have yet to decide how I want to deal with people, especially children, asking for beksheesh (tips). My current policy is to try to buy my bread and fruit and tissues from local people on the street and then avoid giving money otherwise. In the US there are so many organizations to help those in need, I never give money to people begging on the streets, but here in Egypt there is a better probability the money you give on the street with go to a good cause... or it might not. Like I said: I’m still trying to figure it out.
So. Things are good. I am currently exhausted from walking to and from class. AlI I have been motivation to do is blog and peruse the internet. I may need to adopt the siesta schedule so I can be more productive, but I worry that will mess up how I sleep at night. Please give me sleep schedule suggestions. Maybe I should take naps, but keep then shorter than an hour so I don’t get into deep sleep and feel more tired when I wake up. I also think staying up later and sleeping in is a better policy with the schedule of most Egyptians and my classes...
Posted by Starr at 10:34 AM