Saturday, October 20, 2012

An update of my recent adventures

Well, once again it's been a while since I last posted. But there is much to talk about!
The school week was a very normal one...Nothing really worth mentioning happened.
However, at the beginning of the week, Regina, Melanie, and I decided that we should hang out a little, because we haven't been able to hang out before or after our calligraphy lessons lately, since those have been temporarily suspended due to our teacher's month-long trip to Russia for some kind of nifty photo expo there!
So, on Wednesday, I headed over to Regina's home, and then we walked together to the tram station, and met up with Melanie in the tram station in Sesinia, the neighborhood where she lives. We then walked over to the Corniche, and had - wait for it - Starbucks. XD
It looked pretty much exactly like the many Starbucks that there are back in Ann Arbor. I think that, if I had ignored the Mediterranean behind me and the Arabic being spoken all around, it would have felt exactly like the U.S.A.
I selected the caramel frappucino. And it actually was quite good. I will admit that I have been craving it for the past few days. XD
Anyway, after that little slice of Americana, we went to the nearby San Stefano Mall, which is basically just a huge, fancy, upscale, Western-style shopping mall. 
We wandered around, browsing, looking for anything interesting to buy. 
After much deliberation, I decided to buy Skittles. XD I had been craving those too...Don't judge!
I also was desperate to get a new book to read, since I didn't bring any novels with me out of an exaggerated fear of overpacking, which, I realize now, was a huge mistake. So I bought another Paulo Coelho book, "The Fifth Mountain." Until now, I have only read the foreword...
But yeah, that was a really fun day, and I'm so glad that we decided to hang out together. :) And we got there and back all by ourselves! :'D

Then, on Thursday I didn't have school, because my class was going on a trip to Cairo, but since my host family is planning to take me next week during the Eid al-Adha vacation, I decided not to go with them, which meant that I had a day off! :D
So I went out with Regina, Youssef, and Youssef's awesome half-Egyptian-half-Lebanese friend, Karim, basically the whole day!
First, we went to the Montazah, and we wandered around the park surrounding it, and eventually to the beautiful sea shore area. 
I will confess that, because it was a very hot, sunny day, and the sea looked so beautiful and inviting, I really wanted to just give in to my desire and dive head-first into the water. I came dangerously close to just saying "Ehh, what the heck?!" and doing it several times, but I decided against it. XD I wanted to soooo badly, though!
One really awesome thing that we did was go and sit on the hagiz al-amwag, which are basically these huge, sculpted hunks of cement that are used to prevent excessive erosion. 
We sat on them, and took some pretty awesome pictures.
We were SO close to the sea, and sitting there with the sea barely four meters away, I had this wonderful, dream-like feeling wash over me. I couldn't stop laughing or smiling. It was a wonderful feeling. :)
Afterwards, we walked back to the car...and got lost looking for it for a while, but caught up with it eventually. XD
After which, we grabbed a quick lunch, and went to this pretty community of summer homes on the sea called Mamoora, and rode bikes there, which was FUN. :D We raced up and down the beach several times.
And then headed on over to Carrefour Mall, another upscale, Western-style shopping mall, and met up there with Nehal and her friend Aya, who I also know from Taymour. :D 
I didn't end up buying anything in Carrefour though, because I was running dangerously low on money....XD
But it was awesome to have people from my two most important groups of friends meet each other!
All in all, that was an incredible day, and I think that I can safely say that it's made its way onto my list of days here that I will never forget. :)

Then the next day, I didn't really do much, except go with Loay and my host mother to her aunt's house to have dinner with her and her friends. 
It was a great evening - kind people. awesome food, and lots of laughs and smiles! :)

Then today I went back to the gawazat with my host mother to fix up the last little details for renewing my visa, and it was a very quick process, elhamdulilah! I can now legally remain in Egypt until the end of the program! HOORAY! :D
After that, my host mother and I went to her uncle's house, since he lives close to the gawazat, and I got to meet him and see his beautiful apartment. I'm glad I got to meet him, he is a really, really good man.

And...that is all.
As usual, I will now post pictures and take off. 
Ma as-salama!

Arabic Hunger Games! 

San Stefano Mall 
Ahh, how I've missed you. XD
Arabic Starbucks. XD But this isn't even the one on the Corniche, it's inside Carrefour. I just wanted to post pictures in some kind of relevant order. :P

The Fifth Mountain :p
the bay surrounding the Montazah

From right to left: Kareem, Regina, Youssef

The hagiz al-amwag we were sitting on, with the palace in the background 

Our little seaside photoshoot. :D
Hagiz al-amwag
I think that this picture perfectly sums up why I wanted so badly to jump into the sea. XD
The palace in the distance.
A close-up of the palace :)

Regina and I at the gates of the palace
More Carrefour

The awesome view from my host aunt's friends' apartment :)

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