27 April, 2010

The Storm Before the Calm

Well, I know that I should be sleeping right now. Especially since I need to catch a plane to Luxor in about 2.5 hours. But, I've had other problems to worry with at the moment. (Thank you Financial Aid. I love you all too. Maybe if you used those reading skills you gained in first grade, or at least used a dictionary when reading my e-mails I could be sleeping right now.) 

As I was saying before. I'm off for one last trip of the semester. A Nile cruise to Luxor and Aswan. Should be pretty cool as I'll finally get to see the sites we keep talking about in class. An update will come as soon as I return from the adventure. 

And now. I'm going to try and get a bit of sleep. Until I return!

25 April, 2010

Surviving Egypt

Well, I managed to make it through the week with the parents. I guess that's a plus. I now just need to survive the next two weeks and my life will be absolutely grand. 

It never seems to fail. No matter where I am, the last few weeks of the semester always gang up on me and I find myself stressing, not sleeping and as always sick. Egypt has once again blessed me with a wonderful cold due to the pollution and odd mix of being hot and cold. And of course, my mind won't let me sleep due to all the work I have to do and I can't seem to be at any state of relaxed until after next week. And this week isn't going to help either. I don't have any time to do anything! I had off today (Sunday, thank goodness!), followed by two days of classes which isn't bad, followed by a four day trip to Luxor. This should sound so amazing and awesome, but at the moment, I'm just dreading all of the work that has to be done in the next two weeks. 

As for the week that just went by, it was rather enjoyable. Mom, Gram and Ms. Gail were here for the week which was both chaotic and enjoyable. My schedule, as per usual, got all messed up and we had to be extremely flexible. But, I did get to do a lot with them. 

On Sunday, I met them for dinner on the Nile at a boat restaurant called "The Place". It was rather delicious and wonderful. Then on Monday, my night class was moved to Thursday, which meant that we were able to go out with Nigel and the rest of the Past Preservers Team for drinks and dinner. 

Tuesday was a lot of fun as I was able to take Mom, Gram and Ms. Gail to the Egyptian Museum where I was able to give them a "tour", followed by lunch of Koshary from my favorite Koshary place in all of Cairo. I then had to bolt to get to AMIDEAST for a discussion about American culture with a bunch of Egyptian students studying English. I also had a movie night around 6pm, where I got to talk with the director about her film. It was an interesting film about marriage in the Middle East. The unusual thing about this film is the focus is not a Muslim family, but a Christian one. Yet the language they use to talk about marriage was the same, which leads me to believe that the idea and traditions of marriage may not exactly be religious, but cultural. 

After my movie, Gram, Ms. Gail and myself went to Al-Azhar park for dinner, while sadly Mom stayed home as she was sick. Dinner was rather good and peaceful. 

Wednesday was back to classes for me, while I sent the parents to Saqqara, Dashur and Memphis for the day. I met them for dinner, where we went to Radwan and then made a trip to Khan Al-Khalili. My bargaining skills really came out here where I managed to get them several souvenirs at pretty good prices. 

Thursday was one of the longest days I have ever had. I got up and met Mom, Gram and Ms. Gail at the Citadel for a tour with my classmates. It was one of the most interesting tours that we had been on thus far. I didn't really realize how big the citadel complex actually was. It comprised much more that just the Mosque of Mohamed Ali. There are two other mosques there as well,which we saw. The Mosque of al-Nassir Muhammad and the Mosque of Suleyman Pasha, the original Turkish style mosque to be built in the area. I really loved the architecture of the complex as it reminded me a lot of the old castle complexes of Medieval Europe. It makes a lot of sense though with the fact that there were once Mamluk palaces in the complex area. Sadly, though they have been destroyed. 
The Mosque of Mohammed Ali.
Inside the Mosque of Mohammed Ali.
Mom at the Mosque of al-Nassir Muhammed.
After our visit at the Citadel, Mom, Gram, Ms. Gail and myself went to the Giza Pyramids. We didn't get there as early as we would have liked to which meant that the trip was cut a little on the short side...their driver really wasn't of any help at this point. He sort of didn't like the fact that I didn't want to do things his way and thus didn't help us any when we were there. We walked around the Great Pyramid and over to the second Pyramid. They were just in awe with them. We then walked up to the Panorama view by way of the sand between the second and third pyramids. Once we got to the top, they saw the view and then we took a camel ride all they down to the Sphinx. While we didn't get to see the Sphinx up close, we did get to see some amazing views and we got to ride all the way down to the Sphinx. So, hey there was that. They seemed to enjoy it a lot and that's really what matters. 
Mom and Gram on the camels as we started out ride!
Ms. Gail on the camel a little further along in the ride.
The four of us in front of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid at the end of the ride!
After our adventure at the pyramids, I headed off to class (which had been rescheduled from Monday) and then off with my friends to a costume party with some British kids. It was an 'S' party which meant you needed to dress up as something that begins with 'S'. So, I went as Sookie Stackhouse (an easy costume as I had my Merlotte's shirt with me), Shruti was Sweeney Todd, Moose was Sparkly, Rebecca was a Sorority girl, Haley was a Secretary, Garrett was a Sailor, Ann was Sunshine, Will was a Soccer player, Lindley was a Soccer fan, Sean was a Sponge, Max was a Suspected Terrorist, and Maria was a Saudi women. I think we did a pretty good job on our costumes considering that we didn't get the memo until just about the day of the party. It was a lot of fun and I'm glad I went. Also, of all the people at the party, only one British kid actually knew who I was and he was a pretty cool kid.

I left the party at around 2:30am with Sean and once again found myself locked out of the apartment building. For some reason, I always end up locked out if I stay out later than midnight. I got to bed around 3am and found myself up and ready to go around 9am, though I was moving slower than normal. 

Friday found me with breakfast at Lucille's with the parents. Oh pancakes! I absolutely love them and this is really the only place in the city you can find them. So enjoyable. 

Following breakfast we wandered around Maadi for a bit looking at the shops before heading off to my apartment to gather a few of my belongings. We left my apartment and then headed over to the Nile for a boat experience down the Nile.We took a sail boat out. It was quite nice and peaceful. A wonderful way to end a trip to Egypt.

Once we had finished on the boat, we headed back to the apartment where they were staying. We ordered food online from Chili's and relaxed for a bit, before everyone began packing their things for the flight home. 
Gram cruising down the Nile on the sailboat.
The sailboat moving along through the Nile waters.
Yesterday morning, I got up and rode with them to the airport. I held back tears as I watched my mother, grandmother and friend depart back to the land of the United States knowing that soon I will be heading back, but not soon enough.

19 April, 2010

The Parents Have Arrived

Before I jump into what this post is really about, I want to first write about my current obsession, Such Tweet Sorrow. I know it makes me sound like a complete nerd and theater geek, but whatever. Such Tweet Sorrow is an interactive version of Romeo and Juliet performed by members of the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. It's happening in real time via Twitter. You can follow the characters as they go about their days and come into contact with one another. It's a rather new approach to theater, but I rather like it. Also, for those who are wondering and don't particularly like Shakespeare because of the language, well you don't have to worry about that. The actors tweet and post everything in modern English, the only thing that's similar to Romeo and Juliet is the storyline and characters. As someone who really likes Shakespeare, I highly recommend taking a look at this. 

Moving on. So, my mom, gram and Ms. Gail arrived yesterday here in Cairo. I was at work when they arrived and so I didn't meet them at the airport. I left that task for their driver, however, I did get a text message saying how crazy the traffic was. 

I met them for dinner around 6:30pm after my class and I had brought Emy along with me. We went and had dinner on a boat restaurant. It's not the original one that I wanted to take them on, but the food was awesome. I promise I'll take them actually down the Nile later this week, it just didn't happen that night. 

After a wonderful dinner of catching up and hanging out, we parted ways and I went back to my flat in dokki and they went back to Naser city. I don't really know what they are up to at the moment, but I know I'll be meeting them for dinner later tonight and planning out what the rest of the week holds. We shall see. 

So, that's about it for the moment. I don't have any pictures as I forgot to pull out my camera and take some...although I'm pretty sure Mom has taken enough for the both of us. I'll get them and post them later. Ta ta for now!

17 April, 2010

The Last Two Days

I love coming back from the gym. I always feel so wonderful. The only problem is that when I come back, I always sit and get to work and/or watch the televison...which is what I'm doing now. Working on papers and watching The Time Machine. I guess there are worse things I could be doing though. I am at least being productive. 

This last week was one of excitement and adventure. The beginning of the week was rather the same as all of the others. I went to work, I went to class, I worked on homework, etc., etc., etc. However, Thursday began a day of adventure. AMIDEAST had planned for us to visit an Egyptian Village, which of course I thought meant the Pharaohnic Village here in Egypt. I was very wrong. What they actually meant was a trip to an actual Egyptian village. 

It was a lot of fun. We arrived around 1:30pm after we had our meeting with Dr. Riham about how our classes have progressed. The village itself was a little intimidating at first as it looked nothing like Cairo, but nothing like I imagined. I pictured something similar to an American farm. With fields of corn and wheat lining the road and little farm houses tucked away. But, that's not what this village was like at all. 
Unfinished brick buildings stand amongst farmland.
 Our group and children of the village look at the chickens in the pen.
Unfinished brick buildings clumped together to form small dirt roads and all of these buildings were congregated in the center of the village. On one side was a river where many people were washing clothes and dishes. We wandered up one of the side streets, following the lead of our Arabic professors and arrived at a brightly painted house. Inside were a group of women sitting around a small fire style oven making fateer, a tradition dish that is eaten with molasses (or honey and sugar) and some spicy cheese. It can also be eaten with savory foods like meat and vegetables inside. 
 The Egyptian women making the fateer. Photo thanks to Shruti as I had my hands dirty.
Well, we all gathered around to watch and somehow or another, I really can't say how, I ended up washing my hands and helping to make the fateer. It was a lot of fun to make. It has an interesting texture and putting your hands in soft butter is also rather interesting. 

After we had made the fateer, we took a quick look outside before being brought upstairs to the main part of the house. It was an interesting look into the home life of the average Egyptian. I'm pretty sure that living in this apartment were the Arabic teacher who hosted us, his wife and three kids, plus his brother, his brother's wife and their children AND his mother and father. I don't know how they do it. I can not fathom living with my sister and parents for that long. Let alone raise children with them and live in a house that tiny. But, that's the difference between Egyptian culture and American culture. 

We played with the children for a bit and then it was time for lunch. We ate lunch at a table that was low to the floor and we ate with our hands. (See right for picture of cooked fateer and lunch set-up.) It was quite an experience if I do say so myself. Another cultural thing that we found was that Egyptians like to feed you, it doesn't matter how full you are, they want you to keep eating. 

Once lunch was finished, we had some strawberry juice and then went for a walking tour of the town. We wandered through the fields and eventually ended up in a strawberry patch where we were given freshly picked strawberries to eat. They were the best strawberries I have ever had! Oh my goodness! I really wish I hadn't been so full from lunch because I would have had more of them. 

After our strawberry adventure, we hopped back on the bus and headed home. It was an exhausting day. I've learned that Egypt is just one of those places where you can do practically nothing and still be exhausted from it. When I got back to the apartment, I filled out some more internship applications and then pretty much crashed for the night. 
Everyone wandering out of the strawberry fields.
Friday morning came about a reasonable hour for once. I got up and hit the gym because that always means the start to a good day and then I went out in search of a red shirt for the football game. Sadly, I did not find a red shirt, but I did buy my 'evil eye' pendant that I've been meaning to buy since my birthday. So, instead of a red shirt, I wore my black shirt with a red scarf that I bought for a friend (sorry, needed something red). I looked pretty decked out. We all did. 

We all met for dinner at Redwan around 4pm, where I had some delicious Egyptian style spaghetti. We then hit the bus where we were greeted by some very enthusiastic Egyptians who work with AMIDEAST. They brought with them a drum, which they beat the entire way to the stadium (see left). They also led us in cheers the entire way. It was quite an experience. 

 We got through the first round of gates rather quickly, but getting to our seats was another story. First, a gentleman in the area saw us and we all had our faces painted. It then took us nearly an hour to get into one of the gates where we did eventually ended up sitting. I'm unsure as to the exact circumstances as to why it took so long, but the reason we ended up being able to stay there was because we were foreigners and it we were the only foreigners at the game.
 Haley gets her face painted by a guy at the gate.
The game itself was only ok. It ended up a tie. But, what was really exciting was the energy of the crowd at the game. I couldn't believe it. It was absolutely wonderful. The stadium was packed with half wearing red (like me) to support Ahly and half wearing white for Zamalek. I've never experienced energy like that. Not even at home. I can't even begin to describe it. 
The entire Ahly side of the stadium was on its feet throughout most of the game!
 Garrett, Rebecca and Haley at the game and all decked out!
Me all decked out in my gear for the game!
Sadly, we left the game about five minutes early to beat the traffic, which was a good thing as we made it home in about twenty minutes, which is probably the fastest I've ever gotten back from Heliopolis. 

I did go out with Haley, Moose, Rebecca, Lindley, Lindley's mom and Haley's parents for dinner at the King Hotel where I had some delicious ravioli. I then wandered back to the apartment where I passed out from exhaustion. 

And that brings us to today. Well...I haven't exactly done much. I went to the gym, watched The Time Machine started reading an article for one of my papers, filled out my applications for Rudes, ordered dinner, labeled some photos in my portfolio and have been working on finishing episode one of a mini-series with the Awkward Trio. 

It's been a boring day, but this upcoming week is going to be exciting as tomorrow around noon my mom, gram and neighbor land at Cairo International Airport. This means that this next week will be filled with excitement as I show them around my home in Egypt. So, keep an out for all of my post during the week. There are sure to be a lot. 

And on that note. I'm going to go back to trying to do homework. 

!سلام (salam. Translation: Peace!)

12 April, 2010

Past the Halfway Point

It's official. The end of Spring Break was this last week and classes have started back up again. It's a little sad to see the break go as I definitely wanted it to be longer, but oh well. It's time to move on. 

It was a good break by the way. I didn't go to Jordan as my flatmates did, and I didn't go to Rome as some of the kids in my program did and as I had originally intended to, and I didn't backpack the Sinai, but I did have a very relaxing break here in Cairo. It wasn't anything too fancy. Just some time spent sitting by the pool, wandering some shops, working on internship applications and the upcoming papers that I have due. I probably could have done some traveling if I had really wanted to, but honestly, this was probably a better situation for me to put myself into. 

You see, I feel as if the world is moving really fast. How is it already the middle of April? What do you mean I'm only in this country for another month and a half? What do you mean my mom, grandmother and a neighbor are coming next week? Oh, yeah...in case I haven't mentioned it yet, they are coming next Sunday. It should be an exciting week. 

The end of a semester always stresses me out and even though I've only been back at school for two days now, I'm already starting to feel the stress. Two twenty page papers, a presentation on Ancient Egyptian museum objects, hieroglyphs homework, a presentation on Ancient Egyptian festivals, an article review, a presentation on Ancient Egyptian clothing and of course finals. Wow, that's a lot to do in seven weeks, which is all that I have left here in Egypt. How am I going to get it all done? It will probably take many days of not sleeping, but it will get done. There's no question there. Everything always gets done...I just may be extremely tired for a few days. What else is new. 

I don't have much else to say at the moment. We've been pretty busy at work prepping for the Media Training Masterclass that Past Preservers is holding in May in the UK and sadly the Access program has ended, after only three sessions due to the students being on break until June. 

Oh, and today my International Relations class took a visit to the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs, which is an NGO that works on developing relations between nations. We listened to several different speakers talk about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as well as the Iranian problem in the region. The more I listen to people talk about it, the more I begin to understand what is actually going on and the more I form my own opinion on it. But, that is a chat for another day. 

And on that note, I'm going to stop procrastinating on the hieroglyphs homework that I need to do. Another post is coming soon, so keep reading! Cheers!

09 April, 2010

Adventuring in Alexandria

I lied. I'm a day late on updating the blog, but at least its only a day and not seven. So, without further ado, here's the Alex Adventure. (Also, please note that I took 230 photos while in Alex and have chosen to only place ones of the actual locations in this post. Thanks!)

Spring Break began with a trip to Alexandria, Alex for short. It was the place that I had been waiting to see since I arrived in Egypt. The thrill of the new library standing where the old one once stood, the legend of Alexander the Great and Cleopatra and everything that has become so popularized in Ancient Egyptian history was to be found in this Mediterranean city. 

We left on Thursday at 12:30pm and began the trip to Alex. It was a short 3 hour bus ride compared to the trip to Siwa. I was awake for most of it, except for the very end when I started to dose. 

Arriving into the city was one of the beautiful things I've seen since I've been in Egypt. The sea line is a brilliant blue and the city resembles that of an old European city, as opposed to Cairo. It was also so much cleaner than Cairo, I wasn't sure if I would be able to make myself leave. 

We checked into our hotel, the Windsor Palace, an old fashioned hotel from the 1920s or so it seemed. It was almost like an episode of the twilight zone, but it was perfect for me to sit in and think about the current movie projects that I'm trying to write. 

I once again roomed with Shruti, which is always fun. Our room this time was extremely big and open and the beds were the comfiest beds I have slept in since I started traveling. We spent a little bit of time in our room where I wrote some plot outline for one of the movies I've picked back up and I read some more of the "Yacoubian Building" until 8pm when it was dinner time. 

Dinner was pretty much a food stipend that allowed us to eat wherever we wanted. So, I went with Garrett, Moose, Haley, Ann, Shruti, Will and Lindley to the China House for some pretty awesome Chinese food. I got some wanton soup, honey chicken with fried rice and I finally got the spring rolls that I've been craving. Sadly, my honey chicken took a really long time to come out, which makes me feel like they forgot it, but I did eventually get it and it was delicious when I did. 

After dinner Will, Lindley, Moose and myself stopped for some tea and to get some sheesha. The tea was awesome, but a little more expensive than in a cafe you get in Cairo, and I did try the sheesha, though I'm not sure if I would try it again. But, sitting on the street outside of the cafe was just wonderful. You could really feel the energy of Alex and see the people move about. It was almost like being in a movie. Everything working together to create a moment; nothing going wrong, and nothing out of place. 

We finished up at the cafe and then wandered back to the hotel, where I went back to reading and writing until about 12:30am when Moose called and asked if we wanted to come out. Well, because I was already still awake, I said sure and met everyone to go. We didn't leave until about 1:00am and by that time I was already pretty tired. So, when we found the bar we were going to go to, I was almost entirely exhausted though still ready to have some fun.  

The bar, however, did not feel the same way. It was crowded, with standing room only and I was not particularly happy with that. Neither were the other girls, so I followed them to try and find something else to do. We ended up finding Tyler and Will who had stopped at a desert cart and were talking to the gentlemen running the cart. We chatted for a bit, got some desert from the cart which was absolutely amazing (it was basically a fried dough ball coated in melted chocolate) and then headed back to the hotel. I believe I got to sleep around 2:30am or so, which gave me a decent amount of sleep having to be up bright and early the next morning. 

Friday morning started with a wake up call at 7am. I showered and got to blow my hair dry with a hair dryer...I've never been so happy and then I wandered to get breakfast...which was not in the lobby area as I thought it would have been, but on the roof of the hotel where the view was amazing. 

The breakfast was good and relaxing. It was definitely a great way to start out sightseeing day. 

Our first stop was the Roman Amphitheater (see left) where they also have some artifacts that have been found underwater. It was pretty neat to sit where the ancient Egyptians would have stood. I tried to imagine when I was there what it must have felt like and I concluded that it probably would have felt just like it does now when I sit in large lecture halls listening to a professor...a bit boring...oh well. 

We left the amphitheater and moved on to see Pompey's Pillar (see right), the only remaining structure of a once great temple. The remains around it are statues and areas of underground tunnels. I wandered down into some with Dr. Nicole (my hieroglyphs and arts professor). I love wandering through tunnels and old places and these corridors weren't any different. 

After we left the site, we went to our final site before lunch...the Catacombs. These were some tombs from the Greco-Roman period in Ancient Egyptian history and they were pretty cool. Climbing down into them reminded me of climbing down into the mines in Kutna Hora. I wasn't allowed to take any pictures, but seeing the tombs was pretty interesting, especially because I was able to talk a little about the tombs and see some similarities to the older periods of history. The only complaint I had about being down in the catacombs was the amount of Korean tourists that were in there with us. They were rude and loud. 

Lunch soon followed at Anthineos, where I got some kind of grilled fish dish with rice. It was ok, but it wasn't the best thing I've ever had. 

After lunch we resumed our sight seeing with Fort Qait Bey (see left), now a mosque. This was a rather interesting adventure as there were boy scout-type people dancing and singing. Some of the kids on the trip with us danced with them and I caught it on video. There were also a lot of people taking pictures of us as we toured the fort. For some reason, Egyptians think it's ok to take pictures of us without asking, but if we take pictures of them, they get angry. It's kind of annoying actually. I did get some really pretty pictures of Alexandria from the fort though. 

Our last stop for the day was the Library. The one thing that I had been hoping to see since I arrived in Cairo 2.5 months ago. It was gorgeous. I looked around in the antiquities museum first and that was much more enjoyable than the Egyptian Museum as everything at least had a small label of some kind. I then went and into the library and stared in awe at the books. It was beautiful. The tour we took was quite enjoyable as well.
The library from the inside down on the floor with some of the books.
 Inside again, but from above. Taken during the tour. 
A part of the library from the outside. This place is huge
We left the Library of Alexandria and headed back to the hotel exhausted. We only had about an hour and a half to kind of just chill, so I took a quick nap, but ended up cutting it short as the hotel was working on painting a room and the paint fumes had started to make me sick. So, I left and went downstairs to wait until dinner time, which was only 15 minutes away anyway. 

Dinner was at the Greek Club and I got some pretty delicious Shrimp Alfredo. I don't really know what to say about dinner, it was a pretty average meal. I talked with people and we joked around. And for once I felt very comfortable and like I fit in again. 

But, as usual the cliches resumes after dinner and I don't know where the other half of the group wandered to. I got ice cream with Ann, Shruti, Haley and Professor Sherinne (one of the professors on the trip with us) and spent the rest of the night hanging out with Shruti, Ann and Lindley watching Once Upon a Time in Mexico before crashing for the night.

Breakfast the next morning made me extremely happy. I got an omelet made for me with roast beef bits and cheese, plus a pastry. So delicious! I once again enjoyed the view so very much, but I could have done without the wind that had started to blow a little bit. 

We left the hotel around 9:30am or so and headed to go and see the old walls of the ancient city(see right), which were pretty cool to look at. Sadly, though they have been kept in disarray and not really kept like a historical site. There is not much to indicate what they are except a small sign with bad English. We wanted to see the cisterns of the city too, but sadly they have been closed to the public.

We then headed to see the palace. I'm not talking about an ancient Egyptian palace, but a more modern one built by King Fuad in 1932. It is known as Al-Haramlik Palace  (see left)and is a Presidential residence. We were not allowed to go inside, but looking at it was beautiful. And for those who know me well, you know that I judge a country based on their castles/palaces and this one just bumped Egypt a little higher on my list. 

After seeing the palace and taking pictures of us in front of it as we normally do when playing tourist, we headed down the road a little to the beach. 

This was my favorite part of the trip. I sat on the beach and watched the waves roll in and I even went swimming in the Mediterranean Sea with Garrett, Will and Tyler (no one else would get in). The water was cold at first, but the more you stayed in, the more comfortable it became. We swam for about half and hour or so before getting out to lounge on the beach with the others. 
The beach along the Mediterranean Sea. It was so blue!
 Ann plays with Mohamed in the sand.
A little bit later, Dr. Riham (our new academic adviser here), Professor Sherinne, Mohammed (Dr. Riham's little boy) and myself rented a paddle boat and went out on the sea for a little bit of time. None of them really knew how to steer the paddle boat, especially when some of the other boats in the area started creating more waves than necessary (boating rules obviously don't apply here either). Luckily, my years of paddle boating experience took over and I prevented us from falling over board and such. 

We returned to the shore and then shortly after left for lunch at Chili's (ahhh...chicken strips and delicious American food) before heading back to Cairo. 

The ride home was pretty standard. Lots of sleeping, lots of people planning out where they were heading once we got home, and lots more sleeping. We did make a stop on the way home for a quick bathroom break and the place we stopped had a playground. Naturally, we all became 5-year-olds again and had to play before being called back to the bus by Dr. Nicole. 
Everyone playing on the playground like we're 5.
We made it back to Cairo around 7:30pm. It was dark and the city was abuzz as if we had never left. And that was the start of Spring Break Egypt.

07 April, 2010

Greetings from Spring Break Egypt

I feel like I haven't written anything in this blog in a long time, but it's not been that long at all. My last official entry was on the 28 of March and it's only the 7th of April. That's really not that long of a time to break between posts, but I guess when I haven't really written about the current stuff going on, it makes a difference. 

So, I need to back track then...a lot. Let's return to when Will and I made our way to the Egyptian Museum to find out artifacts for class. That's approximately two weeks ago. The following Wednesday held nothing really important except the lecture to the access program about American football, which I believe I already mentioned. I do like working with the access program, I just wish I had known the topic a little better.  And Thursday was nothing too spectacular, except going to work of course. I really feel like I'm getting a lot out of working with Past Preservers. I get to write press releases and put all of the skills that I learned in my silly Writing for Mass Communication class. Glad to know that they are actually applicable in internships that I get. 

This brings us to Friday, March 26. I woke up and figured it was going to be a lounge weekend while I worked on my presentation for Customs and Habits, but I was very mistaken. Instead, I ended up going with Garrett, Ann, Haley and their friend Kareem to his villa on the outskirts of Cairo where we proceeded to have a cookout and swim by the pool. His house was gorgeous and I'm pretty sure that this not the way normal Egyptians live...actually, I know that for a fact as I'm living the way a normal Egyptian would live...in an apartment, not a secluded villa away from the noise of the city. 
The swimming pool at the Villa. 
 Garrett being thrown into the pool still in her clothing.
Well, even though I didn't go swimming, I did sit and enjoy myself. We grilled steaks and vegetables, which were absolutely delicious. Sadly, we had to leave the party a little earlier than intended as I had a Skype interview with a possible internship over the summer (I'm still waiting to here back as to whether or not I got the job), but I thought it went rather well. 
 Haley grilling the steak and vegetables. Yum, eggplant!!!!!
The following week was close to an absolute nightmare. Midterms week normally is, but it is always made worse when you feel like you want to be out exploring the city as opposed to inside writing papers and preparing presentations. And then it becomes even worse when your program manager goes on vacation and one of the kids in your program has friends come to stay for the week. 

But, I survived. I presented my presentation on Sunday for Customs and Habits about magic in Ancient Egypt versus magic in the United States and then on Monday my International Relations class took a field trip to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where we met with the Deputy Ambassador and she discussed the current issues of the Middle East with us. It was really nice to be able to hear someone actually explain what I've been reading about for the last nine weeks. I understand why it is such a threat that Iran is working on a nuclear plan, beyond the Cold War mentality of things and I understand in greater detail Egypt's position on the Palestinian-Israeli crisis. But, I won't bore you all by explaining it. Just know that this field was incredibly useful and if you want to know more, just send me an e-mail and I'm more than happy to go through all the notes I took during the meeting. 
 Ryan, Rebecca and Moose sit at the table waiting for our professor and speaker to arrive. 
 Sitting around in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The room was super fancy!
Tuesday was pretty normal, and then came Wednesday. The day before the big Spring Break and I had an Arabic mid-term and a museum catalog project due. Luckily, I was able to relax after I turned everything in. And I learned a lot about some of the lesser known queen of Ancient Egypt as my catalog contained two objects were from these queens, a statue and a canopic jar. 

After class, I taught the access program again. Sean and I decided to do it as a team and Will helped us out as Ryan went to meet some his friends who were in for Spring Break. This week we talked about movies, but sadly the conversation was not all that great. I still can't get them to talk. They just want me to do all the talking and I don't know what to talk about. Some of them are also really annoying as they have side conversations and continuously snap pictures of you while you're trying to teach. I just don't understand, this is a volunteer program and if they don't want to be there, they shouldn't come. 

After teaching, we met with our Egyptian friends and had a dialogue session about religion which was moderated by Dr. Riham. It was interesting, but a very uncomfortable topic to talk about because religion is involved with every aspect of life here.

As Wednesday approached a close, Spring Break began. I met up with some of the other kids in my program, Garrett, Shruti, Will, Tyler, Moose and some of our other friends. We were originally going to go salsa dancing, which made me super excited,but sadly we did not the chance to go. I'll get to go sometime, hopefully. Instead, we hung out at the "man-cave" for a bit and then tried to go to this dance club, but sadly it was too expensive. So, instead we went to a small bar and then headed home. 

Thursday began the weekend trip to Alexandria, which officially kicked off Spring Break. But, in order to not overwhelm this post with pictures and stories, I'll write a post tomorrow. I promise. So, keep reading and feel free to comment. I love comments!

01 April, 2010

"The Last Entry"

So, I figure now is as good a time as any to tell everyone that from this point forward, I will be no longer blogging about my study abroad journey.

Just kidding. Happy April Fool's Day Everyone!

Now, seriously, I will be leaving in about an hour to begin my spring break in Alexandria. I've been looking forward to this trip ever since I got here and it's here! So EXCITED! I promise there will be an actual post upon my return. No joke.