Saturday, November 29, 2008

Three months in Cairo & here is what I've learned:

Five things I learned about the city I love:
  1. “za7mah ya dunya za7mah” is not just a song.  Cairo traffic is really as bad as they claim, and rush-hour can be any time of the day.  If you want to enjoy living here, you must give-in to the power of traffic, because there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.  How? By being prepared at all times, with a book, ipod, chocolate, or breakfast bar just in case you are stuck for hours.
  2. Egyptians survive through laughter.  No matter how life is treating them, people are smiling, laughing, and telling jokes.  It is quite remarkable.
  3. There is no such thing as privacy.  The entire neighborhood will know anything and everything about you.  But, at the same time, the neighborhood becomes your family.  They will know you, ask about you, and will be there for you whenever you need.  A sense of community still exists in this large city.
  4. Crossing the road is as dangerous as it looks.  Yesterday I saw a man get hit by a car; and a week ago an acquaintance of mine was hit!  The ironic thing is that a week before she was hit, her and I were rejoicing that we have become pro’s at crossing the road! Oops, maybe not.
  5. Egyptian society, like most Arab countries today is extremely polarized politically and religiously.  The middle is shrinking and disappearing from the public sphere.  Because of this polarization, people tend to pass enormous amount of judgment against each other.

        Here is what I’ve learned  about myself:

1.     I’m finally comfortable eating alone in public. 
2.     I can live without a microwave; I didn’t even notice that I didn’t have one.
3.     I can’t live without Internet; it’s an addiction.
4.     I’m no longer afraid of being alone with my thoughts.
5.     I learned that I’m more “emotional” than I portray.
6.     As much as I love social gatherings, I learned that I need time to decompress, energize, and be alone once in a while.
7.     I learned that I am so blessed to have amazing family and friends.
8.     I also learned that I love the “arts” so much.  Cairo has given me the opportunity to explore that side of my self.
9.     I learned that I need to work on my “indecisive” nature.
10. I learned that I can cook, but I don’t enjoy doing it often J

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