04 March, 2010

Egyptian "Wedding Crashing"

Another post! So soon? I know it's hard to believe that I'm updating again after just updating yesterday about Siwa. Well, that's what happens when stuff goes on and you happen to be there. 

So, here's the newest event in my life. After a week of catching up on life in general, last night's dialogue discussion with the Egyptians was "Family, Friends and Dating". Well, this turned into some very interesting discussion about how things work in America and how things work in Egypt and whether we thought one was better than the other. You get the idea. Matthew was quite amused with the conversation my group was having as the ideas floating around ranged from "My parents were __ age when they met...and here's that story..." to "So, who is the one person in the world you could marry if ever given the chance?" and sometimes even more outrageous. 

Well, after the dialogue discussion we all (and by all I mean a few of the kids from my program and some of the Egyptian friends we have made, and the Egyptian handball team (as we seem to have made friends with them too? I don't know...) ) gathered at the boys apartment called the Man Cave, go figure right?, and sat around for a little bit. It turns out though, that one of our friends, Mahmoud, had a friend who was getting married and Mahmoud wanted to bring us along to the celebration. 

We himmed and hauled a bit on the subject, but eventually decided to go. And I'm kind of glad we did. I've never experienced culture like that before. 

Mahmoud took us to an area that was relatively close to where we lived, but it had a completely different feel than the area that we live in. We arrived and were greeted by everyone, who seemed remarkably happy to see us as I'm pretty sure we were not formally invited. But, everyone was so nice. 

We started off dancing in the street with everyone and soon we were moved upstairs to an apartment. The boys danced while the girls sat for a bit, but soon the boys were taken back downstairs to the streets and the girls were taken by the other women of the family to dance. 

I think Shruti put it pretty well when we got back to the boys apartment later. She said something akin to the idea that you never really expect to see a smile underneath all the veils that the women here wear, but why shouldn't you expect it? And she definitely hit the nail on the head. I see these women and I think, they must be so unhappy, but they really aren't. They are the same as me and we definitely found this out at the wedding. 

As soon as the boys left, a lot of the younger girls took off their veils and were dancing on the couches. While the older women didn't remove their veils, they did dance and they tried to teach us to belly dance. I danced with the mother of the groom, and the sister of the groom and a lot of other wonderful people. They were so very nice and so excited to dance with us. We took a lot of pictures with them. And the children who came into the room were also so excited to see us. They asked us all sorts of questions which I was completely able to understand because they spoke slowly and simply. We also have a lot of pictures with them. The sister of the groom was also really funny because she kept taking my sunglasses and wearing them. I wasn't sure I was going to actually have them when I left.

I also wasn't sure if were actually going to be able to leave the party. Every time we would try, they would grab us again for more dancing or more pictures. Mahmoud eventually had to come up and get us in order to leave. 

I'm glad I went, even though I wasn't sure about it at first. It was a lot of fun and a once in a lifetime experience that I'll never forget. And I do hope there are many more. Pictures will come soon as Shruti posts them and I am able to take some.


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