Tiny Update

Classes have been suspended again and will resume on Dec 6, as opposed to the 1st. Not much of a difference, but it's nice to know that I will still have time to get all my stuff done after I get back from Jordan on the 30. Alhamdulelah!

Leaving for Jordan in about 12 hours! See you kids on the 30th!

Exciting News!

Thanksgiving break [it's actually a break for Eid al-Adha* here, which conveniently falls over the same period as Thanksgiving] starts tomorrow night. I had pretty much made up my mind to be boring and stay on campus to get work done, but I started changing my mind yesterday..after all, I'm living in Egypt. Yes, my schoolwork is important [and I'll get it all done], but the life experience I'm getting here is just as important. So tonight I took the plunge- Will and I splurged** and bought tickets to Amman, Jordan! Our flight leaves at 8am on the 26 and we will spend two days in Amman, and two days exploring the ancient city of Petra. We get back late the night of the 30. I am so, so excited for so many reasons..I have wanted to go to Petra for years! Also, while in Petra, we are planning a trip to the Dead Sea, which is something on my Life List. We were originally throwing around the idea of doing this trip the old-fashioned way: taking a bus from Cairo to Sharm el-Sheikh, then catching the ferry from Nueba, Egypt to Aqqaba, Jordan, and finally a taxi from Aqqaba to Petra. All of this would take an entire day each way and leave us with limited time in the country, as well as being fairly expensive. It would also be a fairly stressful process and our nerves would already be wearing then by the time we got to Jordan [I don't do well on long bus rides- they are uncomfortable and usually smelly, and a bus to Sharm is around 8 hours, plus the ferry to Jordan is supposed to be a pretty stressful experience]. Granted, the airfare was more expensive, but we will be saving countless hours and arguments. I am so, so, excited and cannot believe that in less than 36 hours I will be in Jordan! I will be back with lots of stories and pictures on the 30th! Take care!

*Eid al-Adha is the Muslim holiday which translates to "Festival of the Sacrifice". It is celebrated to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God.

**I should note that it was not I who splurged, but rather my parents. I am so blessed with parents who are so gracious and generous and who really believe in my passions and support my obsessive wanderlust. They are truly incredible people and I am beyond lucky to have them as my parents. They will never know how much I appreciate them and everything they do for me. This blog would not exist if not for their willingness to send me all over the world to learn and absorb all that I can. I am so very thankful. I love you Mom and Dad!

The Life List

Before I moved to Egypt, I started a list that was meant to be something like a "Bucket List", but was also intended to be a sweet joke for my parents promising I'd be okay living by myself in the Middle East which I planned to craft into a bittersweet, tear-evoking letter entitled "Reasons Why I Can't Get Blown Up Yet". Later on I decided against that, but the list has been growing and evolving ever since then. I have a page of notebook paper which contains the list, and also some quotes which I hold near and dear, that I keep folded up in my wallet. Most of the things will sound like random, cliched, idealistic bohemian tree-hugging wannabe-flowerchild, early 20's rambling, but each of the things on this list really mean a lot to me. Some of these things will take only seconds to accomplish, others years. But I genuinely plan on doing each and every one of them. So, without further ado, here it is:

The Life List

-Go to the Sudan and see the Nubian artifacts [which will all be destroyed within the next 5 years because of the dam being built there]
-Hike Kilimanjaro
-Walk on hot coals. Brag for years.
-Join the Peace Corps. Proceed to do awesome things for the world.
-Lie on a bed of nails. Brag for years.
-Live in a teepee in the jungle. Be dirty.
-Hike Tiger Leaping Gorge, China
-Study with Buddhist monks in Bhutan
-Spend at least a year gallavanting around the globe
-Hitch-hike from Cape Town to Alexandria
-Publish a book
-Study yoga in India. Awaken kundalini power. Possibly go insane..?
-Go to the Holi Festival. Get dirty colorful.
-Float in the Dead Sea
-Grow dreadlocks. Be dirty.
-Be completely alone for at least a week. Preferably in the woods.
-Camp in the High Atlas.
-See Alabama win a National Championship. Roll Tide.
-Spend an extended amount of time on a ship.
-Be a nomad in the Gobi
-Work at a baby elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka
-Ride an ostrich
-Practice capoeira
-Race a camel
-Spend a week in the African savannah.

What are your Life Lists, readers?

An Open Letter to the Love of My Life

Dear Skype,

I know things have been touch-and-go with us for a while; sometimes I'm satisfied with you and sometimes I'm not. Being out here in the desert, where it's blazing hot and then freezing cold, tends to make you moody and fickle, and believe me, I understand. But these past few days you've really shown me the scope of your commitment. You've really buckled down and worked hard for things you know are important to me, and because of that, I have to say, I think I've fallen for you.

In the past few days, you've helped me talk to my two most important non-family members in the world on several occasions. Not only that, but you've made me feel as if I were there in the room with them. It almost feels unfair, as if I'm cheating on the distance that separates us, the invisible wedge of time and space that has kept us apart these past few months. Because after a few quick rings, there I was, sitting on Kenny's bed, talking with him like I would have after any given school day last year, laughing with him, bickering with him-- it was familiar and comfortable and everything I don't usually have. And then suddenly there was Murph, and he and Kenny and I all bickered back and forth good-naturedly for a while, which hasn't happened for a long, long time. After an hour and a half of talking to my two best friends a world away, I was left with an overwhelming, all-consuming feeling that threatened to fill me up until it began spilling out of my eyes. Home.

And that's when I realized, Skype, that I'm in love with you. After spending the past week on my death bed [or in a hospital bed] with a lung infection [I'm only exaggerating slightly, mind you], you must have known that this was exactly what I needed. You know me so well. I know with this sudden talk of love and committment, you may turn and run, but I really hope not, especially because I need you desperately, if only to finish making my New Years plans with Kenny [wow, I feel like I'm in this situation every year..]. But really, I need you, I do. I know that now. Don't ever leave me; it means too much to me. I love you. Completely, always and forever.

Until they invent a teleporter. In which case, you're f-----.



Other news, aside from lots of recent Skype time with my very best friends: Egypt lost the final World Cup qualifier in Sudan 1-0, there are riots in the streets of Cairo, my scantily-clad roommate finally got in trouble for being scantily-clad [thank you Sachi!], there is no water at AUC and there is limited electricity. Gotta love Egypt.


I know that I've gone native, for a few reasons. The most convincing argument though, is Egyptian football. Yes, I mean soccer, Americans.
Egypt is battling to get the last spot for Africa in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Tonight the battle came to a head in Cairo, in a match against rival Algeria. Egypt had to win by at least 2 points to stay alive and have a tiebreaker match, or win by 3 points to be assured a spot in the World Cup.
Our tiny common room filled to the brim about an hour before the game even started. Face paint, Egyptian flags, and the national anthem were abundant. The tension had been building for days; the Algerian players were even stoned as they rode their bus into Cairo. I don't support that, but I sure do love passionate sports fans.
In the first two minutes of the match, Egypt scored an incredible goal. The common room was deafening. However, the next 88 minutes were all filled with disappointment. Algeria wasn't scoring, but we weren't either. After the regular play time expired, 6 extra minutes were added to the clock to account for play time which was consumed by injuries. That was all Egypt needed. With seconds to spare, we scored and secured a tiebreaker match which will take place on Wednesday in the Sudan.
Afterwards, footage of the streets of Cairo were shown: things were on fire, people were waving flags everywhere, everyone was screaming and singing and random explosions were going off. Now this is fanhood. I loved every second.
This is significant for a few reasons.
1. It was f*****g awesome. Close games are my absolute favorite things.
2. I hate soccer. And I was still jumping out of my seat screaming at the television.
3. I wish I was there. My parents would have had aneurisms if they knew I was around explosions in downtown Cairo, but MAN, do Egyptians know how to celebrate!
4. This is perhaps the most important: I felt a familiar swell of pride when time expired and the score was Egypt 2-0 Algeria, not unlike the feeling I get watching Alabama football. Granted, it was not quite as strong of overwhelming, but I felt it; that quiet stir in my heart signaling the beginning of a love affair. It felt similar to the feeling I had watching Morocco's olympians march in the opening ceremonies of the 08 games.

It's funny, because as I write this, I am lying in bed wearing a shirt that says "I am not a tourist, I live here" in Arabic and for the first time, it feels true. I do live here. Egypt is home now, and will be for the next few years. And I am so happy.


It's been cold here lately. And grey. And the annual mid-semester breakdown where everyone contemplates saying "f--- college", running away and joining the circus is bearing down upon us here at AUC.

Tonight I let the shower run for 15 minutes before I got in. I wanted it to be good and hot. Scalding would be ideal.

Being the champion of water conservation among my friends, my normal shower lasts 5 minutes, no preheating.

Tonight, to hell with the water shortage in the Middle East, I lingered around in the shower three times longer than usual. As I stood in the midst of all that heat, the sand-colored tiles around me, the foggy shower glass, the sensation of itchiness which has been my constant companion since August 28, all melted away. It was only me and the water, cascading down everywhere, and I was somewhere warm and safe and happy.

Yesterday in class, freezing, I snuggled down into the shoulder of the t-shirt I was wearing. I was taken aback by how comforted I was, feeling the soft cotton rub against my cheek. Suddenly I was somewhere else where I was not stressed about midterms, or tired of my friends, or itchy. Home.

Yes, I'm finally feeling some twinges of homesickness.

I miss my mom and dad.
I miss the Cult.
I miss you all.

Sending my love from Egypt tonight across the Atlantic. 51 days until I get to feel warm, and safe, and loved, and welcome, and familiar.