WHAT A DAY
Oh my gosh. I can’t handle my life. So good. So awkward. And then so blah.
Classes were a blast today because my normal ECA teacher is on vacation, so his brother is standing in. OH MY GOSH the man is crazy. My normal teacher is great, but this brother... It is fantastic, he is so enthusiastic, yelling all over the place, but the best part is that he makes us actually speak. A LOT.
Then after classes, I went home. Usually, if I go straight home, I just stay in until I am invited to go out because it is alway hot and I am lazy. But today I convinced myself that it was necessary to go to the ATM. Once out, I decided to take some streets I hadn’t been on before just around my neighborhood. An intense craving for tomatoes overcame me. I had to get some delicious flavorful Egyptian tomatoes (much better then the huge, dry, flavorless tomatoes we have in the US). Daily, I see carts selling vegetables milling around my neighborhood, but I quickly became aware the vegetable carts are a morning thing. Only fruits were being sold out on the street. But I kept looking. On my way my nose lead me to a fantastic bakery near my house. Hopefully, they are open early enough that can get pastries before class for breakfast. There are also a lot of neat cafes that I hope to take my friends to when they visit (I am not quite out-going enough to go alone). I had almost given up, but then I ran into a fella who lives in my building. He pointed me in the direction of a huge market down further than I had ever ventured before.
I went and broke through to THE OTHER SIDE of Mohandessin. Where I live there are wide streets and it is relatively quite, but when you go past Sudan St everything is bustling with life. The streets are jam packed with people all scurrying about, cars honking, and stalls over-flowing with produce and merchandise. It was dirty and crowded in a way that makes a person (or maybe just me) feel comfortable, like you know this place is really LIVED in. It is so amazing that a place like this actually exists. It is just so foreign to me and my (relatively) quiet and organized Minnesotan-Scandinavian upbringing.
And the people walking around were so diverse: hijabee (hijab or scarf-wearing) women, uncovered Egyptian women in T-shirts and jeans, men in galabayas, and men in suits. Right when I crossed over to THE OTHER SIDE an assertively friendly Egyptian man introduced himself and offered to show me to the market and help me buy tomatoes. His skin was so dark, at first I didn’t think he was Egyptian, but he was. His family was from Aswan. Another testament to how diverse Egypt is. We walked and talked together for quite a while. He invited to me to his family’s home (which I politely turned down, saying I didn’t have the time) and he gave me his number. I am considering giving him a call and asking him to be a language partner. There are plenty of public cafes in the vicinity, so I could meet him and still maintain my privacy and anonymity. We’ll see if I even have time for that.
When I got home I was very proud of myself. I adventured with fruitful rewards. Literally: I got my tomatoes. But then things went from the best to the most awkward. I had previously mentioned my dude roommate. I was trying to be easy going about everything, but I slowly realized as I told my friends and family, that this is situation was quite unacceptable by Egyptian standards. My school and landlord were treating the situation as though being American made me impervious to everything, even though I expressed discomfort with the situation. I realized that I would not agree to live with a guy I didn’t know and had never met in the US, so why on Earth would I agree to it in Egypt? I thought I had sorted the issue at school, but then this evening my landlord turned up at my door with the fella. Awkwardness ensued for maybe two hours. My landlord insisted that he would move out by the 14th. That was still unacceptable and I said I would go stay with my host family (my Egyptian dad was very involved by this point). And then the landlord suggested the fella stay at a full apartment of boys, but he rightfully wanted his own bed, not someone’s couch. It was just very awkward, because I have nothing against the guy personally and I know he was exhausted from traveling. I was very Egyptian about the whole ordeal. I made him tea, and offered to let him use my phone and computer, all while “suggesting” he get out of my house. Finally, after my host father had arrived at the apartment to pick me up, my landlord decided it would be best if the boy didn’t stay at all (not for one night, not for three, not until the 14th) and I get to stay in my apartment. SO here I am. Alone in my apartment. There was lots of awkwardness, but my landlord was understanding, and now it is sorted.
And then the power went out. What a day.