History repeats itself

It's kitten season in Cairo.

Cairo is a city of 20 million people and 20 billion cats [I counted]. When I decided to get an apartment with a backyard, I unknowingly adopted a family of cats as well.

There is a humorous assortment of abandoned furniture in my backyard, and the other day I was sitting in my living room, smoking no doubt, when I heard frenzied mewing coming from outside. I rushed to my backyard, and discovered a litter of kittens milling about the base of an old dresser on unsteady little legs. Since then, I have been the vigilant protector of the kittens, most notably acting like a ridiculous white girl waving my arms and yelling to keep away the evil, gigantic, kitty-hungry crows who live in my backyard tree and frequently inch up to the kittens trying to look inconspicuous and un-hungry, much like a stranger in a car offering a 3rd grader candy.

Last night I decided the best way to send off my two best friends would be to have a small get-together at my apartment. After a few frenzied shopping trips, four of us arrived in Dokki piled down with beer, Kahlua, ID vodka, milk, and aluminum foil [or "silver paper"..Egyptians get straight to the point when they name things, don't they?] for my brand new shisha. As soon as we opened my apartment door, I heard an urgent mewing from the backyard. Called again to serve and protect, I grabbed Megan and sprinted to the backyard. But this kitten was not in the dresser, or anywhere around in it. After playing a bizarre interspecies game of Marco Polo, I was led to an old cardboard box on the opposite side of the yard from the dresser. Inside was a tiny white kitten, one of the adorable babies I have spent the past week protecting. In true Cairo alley-cat style, it was dirty beyond belief, so much so that its little eyes were crusted shut. Because I have little to no self control, I scooped the pathetic little thing up.

Upon further investigation, it seemed the [utterly negligent] mother cat and the other kittens had disappeared from the backyard completely.

So the little kitten set adrift in a tattered box came inside. We named him Moses.

After spending several hours musing over how he possibly could have gotten into the box by himself, trying to keep him warm, and Googling furiously, we realized we had no way to keep Moses alive. Kitten formula? Pshh. This is Cairo. Eyedropper? You might as well ask for a teleporter [which, coincidentally, I have asked for on several occasions since moving to this side of the world..] in this city. Tears sprang to my eyes as the realization dawned on me: Moses was a runt, and had been abandoned, and there was nothing I could do to help him. Sipping on my beer and taking a drag of shisha, I tried desperately to think of something we could do with him.

Just as all hope seemed lost, a scratching on my living room door alerted us to the reappearrance of Mother Cat, who will henceforth be known as Dina Lohan. Quickly, we raced outside with Moses and pushed him under the dresser, crossed our fingers, said a prayer that Dina Lohan would take him back, and went back to sipping our beer with our ears open should tiny Moses call us.

Two hours later, his tiny mews pulled me from my shisha stupor and all four of us bolted to the back door. There was Moses, toddling around by the dresser with his sister as Dina Lohan looked on from a few feet away. Relief flooded me, and I sent up a silent "thank you" to Bast [Google it; this is Egypt, people] and returned to the living room with my beer.

"Well, this was certainly not on par with our wild nights in Cairo..taking care of an orphaned kitten is hardly the appropriate sendoff, is it?" Said Megan as I hugged her goodbye for what turned out to be one of the last times as she picked up her things to go shortly thereafter.

Wiping away a tear and hugging the other two hard, holding on to the smell and the feel of them for as long as I could before they vanished into the dusty night, I looked at Megan and let out a tiny laugh, "It's the most appropriate ending there's ever been. Moses came to lead you out of Egypt."

It's very nice to just wander
The camel route to Iraq
It's oh so nice to just wander
But it's so much nicer, yes it's oh so nice, to wander back

Dooler, Frankie, Megan, and Becky, I love you all. Thank you for being such strong, inspiring women, each in your own way, and helping me to grow and learn so much this year. Know you always have a home in Cairo.

[Welcome to all of my new readers who found their way here via Yes and Yes!]

this may hurt a little, but it's something you'll get used to..

The Cairene night is warm and stagnant, the air so still that my cigarette smoke hangs lazily above my head, a cyanide halo. Suddenly I feel as if I am drowning in it, the smoke engulfing me until it mingles with the tears fogging my vision. What is this feeling?

Everything is about to change. The people who helped me to make Cairo home have all left, and I'm still here...still sitting in my backyard, listening to the dogs fighting in the distance, wondering about the Egypt I will come back to in July. I miss you all already. I miss Port Said, and Turkey, and everything in between.

And then, a breeze blows through the night and carries the smoke away, along with everything I have known about life here. Suddenly everything is new.


I just turned in my last paper for Advanced Scientific Thinking. This means...

Spring Semester 2010

Reflections on my first year at AUC

I smoked too much.
I drank too much.
I didn't cry enough, even when I needed to.
I didn't find my Prince Charming- American, Egyptian, Mauritian, Honduran, Indian, or otherwise.
[...but really, who's looking?]
I didn't study enough.

But I did gallop an Arabian stallion fast as it could go through the desert, in the shadow of the pyramids at sunrise.
I held a lion cub.
I went to Dahab three times.
I went to Alexandria, Hurghada, Bahariyya, and Port Said.
I spent Thanksgiving in Jordan and Easter in Turkey.
I learned how to navigate my way through Cairo.
I camped in the desert.
I camped on my bedroom floor.
I mummified a chicken.
I caught swine flu from an ostrich.
I went spelunking in a pyramid that dates back to before Christ.
I saw my first Egyptian Istanbul.
I had my heart broken by someone I thought would be in my life forever.
I fell in love.
I fell out of love.
I missed home.
I stoped missing home.
I started missing home again.
..and then, Egypt became home.
I stayed out dancing until sunrise- alot.
I got alcohol poisoning.
I swam in the Red, Dead, and Med[iterranean] Seas.
I rode lots of camels, a stallion, a donkey..and a giant tortoise.
I met people who would give me the shirts off their backs.
I made friends who will be in my [proverbial] wedding.
I realized I'm stronger than I ever knew.
I learned a little about history, a little about literature, a lot about bureaucracy, and even more about myself.
I was changed.
I will never be the same.

Thanks, AUC. It's been an amazing, incredible, heartbreaking, eye-opening year.

Two more years of this? I think I can live with that.

So I guess this is growing up

I looked at her face flickering on my computer screen and laughed as I said,
"Are you crazy? There's no one I would rather go with than you."
And as the words escaped my lips, I realized that I actually meant them.

I say this with love, I swear.

To all of my 20-something friends who just can't seem to stop getting married/impregnated:

Guys, I love you, and I suppose I'm happy for you, and I will pretend that the rock on your finger/parasite growing in your uterus is the best thing ever, but to be honest...'re all really creeping me out.



Ok, I officially feel like a grownup.

Today, I negotiated and signed a lease in Arabic for my first grown-up apartment in Cairo. That's right- after a year of no booze and no boys allowed, I am finally moving into a real apartment!

I found a great place in Dokki: a groundfloor 2 bedroom/1 bath flat with a private entrance and a private backyard. It has brand new furniture, a brand new oven and washer, AC, and satellite TV. It also has a full dining room set, is pet friendly, and the master bedroom is huuuuge. It's also a two-minute walk from a Metro station which will take me to the AUC bus stop in Tahrir, or a fifteen-minute walk from the Dokki bus stop.

I feel so grown up, and so in awe that my parents trusted me to find and negotiate on an apartment halfway across the world. I am so blessed that they are so supportive of me, to the point of rushing around last-minute making sure the funds were in order for the downpayment from half a world away. I am absolutely dumbstruck that I was somehow lucky enough to be born into such an amazingly supportive family. Also, my friends Becky and Megan were great about going apartment hunting with me, and being my voices of reason when I got too swept up in the excitement of a new place.

My landlady doesnt speak much English, but I'm trying to see that as an added bonus: by having to communicate with her on a semi-regular basis, I will be improving my Arabic since I don't have room in my class schedule to take Arabic classes anymore.

Have I mentioned I did this all after not sleeping for 30+ hours? I hate to sing my own praises, but I'm really proud of myself.

Anyway, I move in tomorrow at 3pm and will probably spend the rest of the weekend getting settled. And if you were wondering, yes, this means I will be spending most of the summer in Cairo. At the end of May I will go home and stay for about 5 weeks [my mom is taking me to Vegas to celebrate my 21st birthday!] before I head back to the sandbox in the first half of July.

Phew! That's a lot of news! Yall take some time to digest that, readers, while I start packing up my dorm room [I might actually miss it a little] and then promptly pass out.

Pictures to come soon!

salaam wa hubb,


ps- completely unrelated, but i officially must have these leggings.

Here's to Pretending

So I'll pretend that I was made for you
while we're here.
I am so tangled.
And the sun will come up and
I will take the stairs instead.
Step into the street where
the sun brings all my mistakes
into blazing, brilliant clarity.
And I will swear to change, to be
But I won't.
I will do it again next time-
Answer when I shouldn't; go when
I know better.
And slowly, slowly you will chip
away at me, until there is nothing
left to give, and nothing
left to say. But I'll
still answer,
still go;
Because what more is there to do?
I am so bored, and we are so tangled
Here, where there is nothing but
breath and dark and feigned affection.
You'll never give me what I need
But I'll take what you have.
My face is raw from scrubbing
the makeup from last night.
As if that erases things.
I know better, but I'll pretend.