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