Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm in love

Two years ago, in a visit to Cairo, I understood what “love at first site” meant but my rational mind would not accept this type of love. I finally had to move to Cairo to “test” whether it's true or not.

October 20th marks my two months anniversary in Cairo. I can now announce that I am officially in love … with Cairo… :) I know it’s not a person, but at least I’m in love right? hehe

I am still on a Cairo high, and I love every second of it. Well not every second, as there are moments when I want to scream and yell!! Whether its when I’m stuck in traffic, or when the guy insists on honking the horn NONSTOP for no reason, or when my NEW water heater tank breaks for the SECOND time. In the past two months, I wake up everyday praying that I have water in the morning. Sometimes there is no water at all; sometimes there is water but no hot water (I’ve learned to take VERY quick cold showers). Sometimes while I’m taking a warm shower, the water shifts between hot and cold, and sometime it just stops (reminds me of Yemen). I miss having reliable hot water anytime I wanted.

There are also days when I am so furious with my job. I work at a research center in one of the “best” universities in the country, the American University of Cairo. Before I arrived here I expected some disorganization, but nothing prepared me for the level of carelessness and disorganization that I found. (I hope no one from work knows about my blog, it would be quite embarrassing!). It took me about two months to get an email account and an AUC ID (which I need to enter the university) and I still don't have a bus pass!

Despite all this, I am greatly enjoying this lovely city, and I believe this is what unconditional love is all about. Accepting the “negative” because there is a greater good. Like any other city, Cairo has a lot of negatives, the pollution, the traffic, and the disorganization. But I will learn to live with that because Cairo is worth it, as it offers much more than that. And maybe this is what relationships should be like.

I love that my neighborhood has become “home” now. The pharmacist next door knows me by name now and insists on calling me “Dr. Atiaf” because I sometimes wear glasses and I work at a university. The man at the grocery store asks why I haven’t been there in 3 days, and the woman at the internet café asks if my father is enjoying his time in Cairo. Humanity is alive here.

I alos love that there is so much to do everyday. If you want to visit historical sites there are plenty to see, if you want to attend academic lectures, there are many everyday. If you want to pray and visit religious sites, you will find a place in every corner, and if you want to enjoy some music or party you can do that as well. If you want to do a little of everything you can certainly do that.

Yesterday the taxi driver said to me, “you’re not from Cairo right?”, and I said yes that’s right. He then asks if I’m from Alexandria? That made me very happy. He assumed I am Egyptian. J

9 comments:

Susannita said...

Unless it would be Alexandria, VA!!

Riz said...

good piece... sounds like you're letting it all in... and i like your description of love :-)

Nadiya said...

:)

Dalal said...

Habibti, if you wanted to experience all of those frustrations, bad driving, lack of organization, etc. you could have just come and worked with me at the Free One. No need to leave the country. Also, sometimes our hot water doesnt work. So there. COME BACK ALREADY!

foofoo said...

I love this city even I have not been in there, I loved from the Egyptian shows, movies, and the interesting stories in Najeeb Mahfooth and ehsan abedulqados books, but your article got me more to this city, I will go to that city no matter what in the next summer inshallah ....Atiaf you are always one of the best Yemenis women I have met....good luck

Chocolat Egbel said...

Makes me want to visit and get to know this new Love of yours :)

woman from Yemen said...

Chocolate Egbel.. glad i was able to convince you to visit :)
Foofoo, that is TOO kind, thank you so much :)
Dalal hehe... but no city is as loud and full of life as this city...
Riz and Nadiya thanks for commenting
and Susannita... ummm i didn't think of THAT possibility! hehe

Sherine said...

So the driver thought you were from Alexandria!!!!!!!!!!!! This has probably to do with my influence on you, some of my alexandrianess rub off on you!Lovely piece! With a literary twist!

Man from Egypt said...

بالطبع قطعة جميلة الاسلوب لا تقف عند مجرد تدوينة لخاطر ما ولكنها ترتقى لمصاف المقطوعات الادبية ذات الاسلوب النسائى بسيط الألفاظ جميل المعانى ... بالنسبة للقاهرة ومصر كلها فهذة هى خصوصيتها التاريخية فبرغم كل المساوئ تجدى لها حميمية خاصة وبرغم ان اهلها يلعنونها ليل نهار ويندهشون من حب الاخرين لهذة المدينة الاانهم يعشقونها وفى غربتهم يحلمون بها وبموعد العودة انها تسرى فى عروقهم فالقاهرة هى المدينة الوحيدة التى ليس بها اوقات خطرة لا يخرج الناس فيها كما لا توجد مناطق خطرة فبإمكانك التجول فى اىوقت داخل اى حى بالقاهرةواذا كنت اجنبية فانت اولى بالرعاية خاصة اذا كنت من بلد يحبة المصريون ولهذا تجدى عدد من شبابها النابهين لا يستبدلون بها مدبنة اخرى مهما كانت المغريات ولكن دعين اسالك عن الحب من "اول نظرة " بالتاكيد هو الحب وليس نوع اقل نضوجا من الحب المعتاد فكل الحب يبدأبنظرة لعلك خلطتى بين مفهوم " الحب الاول " الذى يعتبر نوع غير ناضج من الحب وكلنا مررنا بة ومفهوم الحب من اول نظرة الذى يعتبر البداية الطبيعية للحب .... يبدو ان قصتك فشلت او على وشك الفشل وفى مقطوعتك يبدو انك انت التى قررت الانفصال لكنك لم تبينى هل تصارحتما؟؟ لا اظن . اليس من الممكن ان تكونى انت ارسلتى اشارات فهمها الطرف الاخر بطريقة خاطئة؟؟ورد عليها هو الاخر بطريقة اكثر خطأ ام انك تفترضى فية انة سوف يعطى نفس ردود الافعال التى يعطيها لحبيبتة للآخرون وانتى فى هذة اللحظة من الاخرون طالما لم يتم التصارح بل من الممكن ان تكون ردود افعالة اشد عنفا تجاة من يحبها ولا تشعر بة .... يا سيدتى الحب سلعة فائقة القيمة ولا نقدمها الا لشخص واحد فقط هو من نحبة فلا نقدمها لكل مار او جالس بجوارناواحيانا يتحمل المحب تصرفات لا يتحملها لو صدرت من غير المحبوب وعموما قد يكون عدم التصريح يتحمل هو مسؤليتة ولكن اليس من الممكن ان يكون هذا الشخص جاد فى حبة لدرجة تجعلة يخاف لو قوبل بالرفض فالشخص الذى يلعب ولا يحب حب حقيقى ما اسهل ان ينطق بهذة الكلمة الجميلة والجليلة لاية فتاة فماذا سيضيرة لو رفضت ويا سيدتى ادخلى التجربة بطريقة صحيحة حتى تحصلى على نتائج صحيحة تصارحو وشجعية على التصريح فالرجل منا يكون فى اضعف حالاتة عند هذة النقطة ويجب ان تكونى انت ايضا قوية فى التعبير عن مشاعرك فالحب هو اكثر الاشياء التى تستحق الدفاع عنهااصنعى حبك ودافعى عنة ولا تدعى الدخلاء يغتالون من يحبك على مذبح الاهتمام المزيف بك اما اذا كنتم قد تصارحتم فلا مجال لكل الحديث السابق واللة معك