My friends leaving was sad, but all of their departures were incredibly strange and almost awkward at times. Think "I've hung out with you every day for the last couple months but I might never see you again." Weird, right?
Christmas was pathetic. We had a delicious dinner at our friend Omar's house on Christmas eve, but that was definitely not a foreshadowing of how the next day would go. I had some pretty good plans but they didn't really pan out; I spent the day shopping at City Stars, the massive mall in the outskirts of the city, with Tamera. I felt it was somewhat ironic to spend Christmas shopping, both because everything in the US is closed and because we were being, as we liked to cal it, "materialistic whores" lol. I spent the evening (and into the morning) with my few friends that were still left in town, wearing santa hats, eating chinese food and at a bar. Sadly the chinese food was as Christmas-y as my Christmas got. Well, actually Tamera and I bought each other Arabic music CDs at the mall and wrapped them in whatever we could find and gave them to each other. lol. Certainly different.
In the days between Christmas and new years we spent a lot of time at Horreya, which is a difficult place to explain to those of you who have never been there. Technically the place is a bar, because its basis is the drinking of alcohol, but it's more of a place for socializing than for actually drinking (though don't get me wrong, you can't really go there and not drink, the overly assertive and obnoxious host [I guess that's what you'd call him] Milad will make sure you always have a beer or I.D. [in my case] in your hand). Literally translated as "freedom," Horreya is a great place to meet interesting people. Tamera and Mostafa and I made some friends there and hung out with them several times this past week.
On new years eve I met Greg, who is studying here from Tulane next semester and for the winter term. he had just arrived the previous day and so I showed him around Zamalek and then he joined Tamera, Mostafa and I for our new years plans, which hadn't actually been made as of that point. After a somewhat infuriating day of dealing with different shit, we finally got to the place that we had chosen a bit before 11, only to be told that there were only VIP tickets remaining, so we were forced to pay 250LE instead of the 100 we were expecting, but we got an extra drink and some decent tasting Lebanese food. Whatever. We were dancing at midnight, but the countdown was... I guess as new years countdowns tend to be, less dramatic than expected and somewhat off-time. We then ended up on a houseboat on the Nile, where Tamera accidentally dropped one of her heels in the Nile (lol), and then proceeded to throw the other one in after it (What's the use of one shoe?).
I've now fully moved into my craptastic apartment (as of the 24th). Let me tell you some of the ways in which it is craptastic, not for the sake of complaining but for the sake of illustrating. I havent taken a real shower with hot water and/or any decent amout of water pressure since moving in. Today, our kitchen sink started leaking everywhere. We have ants, and cockroaches. Our internet still isnt set up. We live in a walk-up, when every other building in the city basically has an elevator. The walls are paper thin, aka i can hear every sound on the street 4 stories down. My heater doesn't work. The washing machine is from the 50s (no joke, I described it to my dad and that's what he said) and there's no dryer. But I'm not letting it bother me, and so far I think I'm dealing with it pretty well. It's just one of those things that I need to get used to, and one more reason that I will be excited to go home in May. I do have to say that if this is living like an Egyptian, I am glad that I'm American. As shallow as that may make me, technological advances have happened and they make life easier and I like being able to take advantage of them.
Oh, I forgot to mention that Tamera got a kitten. her name is Jasmine. Well, it finally got to be Jasmine after going through several others for about a day each. Its adorable.
On a final note, I'm leaving for Turkey, Spain and Morocco on Wednesday. I won;t be able to call anyone via Skype until I get home, most likely, so I will try to update this blog regularly. As always, there should be regular Facebook updates. I would put out my plans for what I'm going to be doing on here, but I don't really have cemented plans, so it will probably work better if I just update about things after I've done them.