Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas?

**** This is an edit to this post. I swear there used to be a post here, but when I viewed my blog recently there was no post. The post title will remain to show that I did indeed intend to say something, but apparently the internet did not approve of such an idea.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I have PLANS

I just bought my plane ticket to go to Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, and Morocco this January. Y'all are very jealous. I can't even begin to place my excitement in this box. It was my reward for finishing my paper. Which is my other yay. So much yay today. Hehe, rhyming.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I am so over this semester

Dear Santa,
I know that I haven't written to you in awhile, but I think that this year I'll write to you in hopes that I get just something off of this rather impossible list of things that I'd like for Christmas.
I'd like the immense amount of drama that my friends have created recently to go away.
I'd like to go home.
I'd like to see a face from home.
I'd like a Reese's Cup. White or milk chocolate.
I'd like all of next semester to be as awesome as the middle half of this one was.
I'd like to be able to keep in touch with the true friends I've made this semester.
I'd like everyone who stabbed me in the back, lied to me, or made me feel like crap this semester to realize that they're assholes, because if they don't realize that now they might go through their whole lives thinking they can treat people the way they treated me, and eventually someone won't be as much of a doormat as I am and might actually put them in their place. I'd like to say I look forward to that, but I'd actually rather that that didn't happen, because that would mean that they're truly as mean and hypocritical as they've seemed this semester, and if that's true that means other people will have to put up with what I've had to deal with this semester.
I'd like to get some mail from friends back home, so I don't forget that they exist outside of a computer.
I'd like a really great hug.
I'd like some crab rangoon.
I'd like to be able to keep in mind that this is not my real life.
I would like to be able to go somewhere by myself and not have people doubt my safety.
I'd like a back rub. I have terrible knots in my shoulders.
I'd like a really plush mattress.
I'd like my life to stop being a bad Lindsay Lohan movie.
I would like one night out to go as planned. As I planned.
I'd like to be done with finals
I'd like to finalize my winter plans.

I guess some of these are more likely than others, but that's what I want for Christmas. So Santa, I hope that I've been good enough this year to get at least a few of these. Thank you very very much,

Happy holidays,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I should really be writing a paper

I got the keys to my apartment today!! I forgot to take pictures, but Tamera did and she's gonna tag me in them when they go up on Facebook. I had to sign the lease because I'm the only one who had a photocopy of their passport with them. It's in Arabic, so I have no idea what I signed, I'm gonna have someone Egyptian read it to make sure all the information is correct and that I didn't just sign my soul over to the devil.
I'm having a really hard time focusing on my work, though. I want coffee, but I only have 15LE on me because every pound I could take out of the ATM today had to go to rent and deposit on my apartment because one of my roommates is broke so I'm paying her rent until she gets her disbursement. I don't mind at all, she and my other friends were more than amazing when I was broke earlier this semester, but I can't take any more money out until tomorrow, so it'll be koshary for dinner tonight and whatever's in my room (corn flakes) for breakfast tomorrow. But I want coffee. Hell, at this point it's moving more toward need. I just can't seem to get any writing done. And I think coffee would help. I'm gonna borrow money from someone so I can get coffee.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Apartment hunting in Egypt: definitely a new experience

This afternoon was crazy in a completely Egyptian (and less sketchy than last night) kind of way. I got a call from a realtor person around noon asking if I could look at some apartments with him at 3. Thanks for all the notice, but yeah ok, sounds good. I call Tamera and Matt to make sure they can come, then call him back to confirm. We meet at the Dokki (pronounced doh-ee) metro stop at 3. We look at a place that we really like, but it's too expensive. We look at a place that felt like the 70's puked on it. And it was wall to wall carpeting throughout. In purple. And one entire wall of the living room was mirrors. It was an odd place. Think we'll pass. We look at a place that seems okay, but I didn't really like it. They we're ready to say yes, but I just didn't really want it. I felt bad, but I would've been unhappy there. That was it for the afternoon, the next places we wanted to look at the landlord wouldn't be home until this evening. So we went back to Zamalek for a few hours.
We decided to order Chinese food. MISTAKE. We called the place to order because I had been having trouble with the website. Based on the website what we ordered would cost about 130LE for the three of us. We waited the hour for it. No food. We called. "Five minute." Twenty minutes later. No food. We call. "One minute." Twenty minutes and another call later, it gets here. LE 250. UH, NO. We bring out my laptop, which shows the menu. We call and argue with the restaurant. At this point we only have a half hour until we need to be in Dokki. We tell them where they can put their food. We were ripshit. And starving. We had waited almost two hours for this food by the end of it. And we didn't even end up with it. We got koshary and rushed to Dokki, fuming.
We are taken to an apartment a ways farther from the river, by Dokki's second metro stop. first impression: it's an alley. It turned out not to be, it was actually decently paved and private/too small for cars. Upon entering I notice something else: no elevator. We climb up to the fourth floor (not too bad, at least) and discover an apartment that I like at least somewhat better than the last one before dinner. this one has seafoam kitchen cabinets, rock hard mattresses and strange couches and chairs. There are two columns in the living room, which are hella cool, I'm totally a fan. And thw color of the kitchen is adorable. And its CHEAP. We were sold. We asked all the technical questions, turned on all the faucets, inspected (and questioned the realtor about) the strange looking thing that claims to be our washing machine. We gave our landlady (who seems nice) a 500LE deposit and we'll be meeting up with her on Friday to give her first month's rent and a one month deposit, and give the realtor people their commission (a half month's rent). I HAVE AN APARTMENT. It's very exciting. And we can move in anytime after Friday afternoon when we give her the money.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In which I learn to love corruption

The beginning of my week went by pretty uneventfully, there was a book sale on campus and I bought some textbooks and a couple of novels all for around 100LE ($17.50). I'm excited for the novels, I'll be reading them over break hopefully.
There was an African dance thing on campus yesterday to promote the MAU, the model African Union, and it was pretty entertaining, especially because there was a man dressed in a gorilla suit which seemed to have nothing to do with anything. As I said, entertaining.
On the way home my wallet got separated from my things and ended up getting left on the bus. After a short freak out session the desk people called the bus people who called the driver and he found it, but today is a holiday so I can get it from school tomorrow. Crisis averted, but I have no ID, debit card, or room key until then.
Last night began one of the holiest days of the Islamic year, the new year. This means that last night in Cairo was dry. Except that we'd been having a crazy couple of days, so we weren't really feeling the "no alcohol" thing. If you're not Muslim it's not actually a problem, the only problem is that nowhere sells it. We found a place (which is not as sketchy as it sounds) and set of to a place to drink. Here's where the love of corruption part comes in:
Some police men came by and were obviously looking for trouble, but since most of us were foreigners we were safe (we weren't actually doing anything wrong). Unfortunately our one friend was Egyptian and they were giving him quite a bit of trouble. He's not actually a Muslim and so from what I've gathered he was allowed to drink, but his name was a Muslim one and so they assumed he was (and if he had denied it they would say he was lying). At this point we call our other friend who had left to get some cigarettes, and he comes back. Now this guy is apparently connected in all the right ways because he calls up someone and has them talk to the cops. Problem solved. Living in a place like this really makes you appreciate networking.

Monday, December 6, 2010

When did it get to be December?

This past week was pretty uneventful as far as class goes. Finals are approaching and everyone knows it, but no surprises. Tuesday my Egyptian Colloquial class took a trip to al-Azhar park in Islamic Cairo, which was nice, the park was pretty. We got to meet my professor's 2-year-old daughter, who is PRECIOUS, and we had conversation with some Egyptian women and some special needs kids, all in Arabic, of course. So that was cool. On the way home a bunch of us grabbed some koshary from the most famous koshary place in all of Cairo, Abu Tarek. The place that Anthony Bourdain went, for those of you who watch that show at all. I thought it was certainly not the best I'd ever had, and it was rather pricey by koshary standards. It was still cool to walk in and think "Hey, Anthony Bourdain was here. Right there, at that table."
This weekend my friends/ roommates-to-be were planning to do some apartment hunting, but we never actually did any calling. we did narrow down where we want to live, a neighborhood named Dokki, the far side of the river from downtown (so slightly farther from school) but only one bridge from the island of Zamalek, probably a 5LE cab ride. Also, Dokki has a convenient metro stop, which means I could get downtown (or considerably farther) for 1LE!
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it, but I'm living with my friends Tamera and Matt, who go to UC Davis and UWashington, respectively. If I'm not careful I'll be saying hella rather frequently by year's end. Our maximum budget of about 5000 LE (which is more than we'll pay, I'm sure, unless our place is AMAZING) per month for a 3br will bring us in at about $500 less for the semester than would living in dorms. I really need to get planning what I'm doing for vacations this vacation, because I need to get out of this country, which means I need to buy plane tickets.
I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S DECEMBER. All of my friends are leaving in less than 3 weeks! =(