Sunday, March 10, 2013

...I don't blog enough...

Sorry for really slacking on blogging since the new year everyone...
Like I keep saying though, not tons of riveting things have been happening though, so that's my excuse.

And for the most part, it really does continue to hold true.
As usual, I've got great things to say about how I continue to have heaps of fun with my friends in school, and I continue to feel increasingly relaxed and settled in, in school, with my family, and in my life here in this country - and this country itself - in general.
But for the most part, no particularly interesting new things to report have gone down since the last time I've posted here.
Until, that is, last Wednesday.
So, last Wednesday holds a bit of an interesting story. Basically, it started off as a completely normal day. Granted, I did see a group of people chasing each other in the streets near to my school from my school bus window, which was a bit nerve-wracking and startling.
But school started off quite normally and that whole incident was quickly pushed far back into my mind.
Until, that is, the break that we have in the middle of every school day, in which it was very randomly announced to the student body that there was a gas shortage crisis due to unwise spending on the part of the government, so the school buses would not be operating that day after school, and then neither Thursday nor Sunday (today).
Very confused and concerned about how in the world I was going to get myself back home, I called my host mother and averted her of the problem. We talked of how I could get home, and she suggested that I try to get back with one of my AFS volunteer friends that are in school with me. But fortunately, before I even had a chance to go asking around, my always-amazing friend Nehal offered me a ride home (seeing as our two apartment buildings are easily within 500 yards of each other), which I, of course, gratefully accepted.
So, after the break, the two of us, along with the big group of Egyptian Americans that I've mentioned before - Youssef, Hashem, and Hashem's two younger siblings, Fares and Farida, all crowded into the library while we waited for our rides.
I was very confused, and under the impression that I was skipping. But everyone else assured me that after that sudden announcement of the absence of buses, the entire student body had surely notified their parents and asked to be picked up as soon as possible, so the school day was as good as over.
Once Nehal's mother had arrived, the two of us left the library and then fetched her two younger sisters from their classes, met up with her mom, and then as soon as she had gotten the necessary permission to take us, we crowded into the car and made our way over to Smouha.
As we waited outside the registration office, and then walked out of the school gates to get inside the car, I realized that what the others had told me about the school day being effectively over was no joke: parents galore were lining up inside the registration office to get the permission slips required to fetch their children, crowds of kids were hurrying over to the registration office to get picked up, and cars were lined all the way up and down the entire entrance lot outside the school.
In any case, we all had a pleasant chat on the way back, and the drive back to Smouha was much shorter than usual (technically, we only live ten to fifteen minutes away from Taymour, but usually, with all the stops our school bus has to make, it takes about thirty). Once we arrived, I thanked them all profusely for their beautiful and much appreciated kindness, and then got back home, and...didn't do much at all. I canceled my calligraphy lesson that had been previously planned, since there were apparently some protests against the government for their wasteful spending that had initiated the gas shortage crisis. So I instead just stayed home, relaxed, and Skyped with my friend from back home, Shauna, who, since she was staying after school, carried her iPad around a bit so I could see the school and say goodbye to other friends. :D It was definitely quite strange to see my school again...
In any case, after that I also had the chance to Skype with REGINA! :D Hearing from her always makes me feel really happy inside. It just feels great to catch up with my "sister" and know how everything is going for her. It still feels weird not to have her here...:(
But it was amazing to catch up as usual. :)

Then Friday I went out with my AFS returnee friend Adham, and we went out to this really lovely area of Alexandria near a place called Stanley Bridge, and met up with his friends in a McDonald's where they were doing a math project, ate some ice cream, and then met up with some nice girls who are going to travel to the US with AFS this coming school year. :D

On Saturday (yesterday :P), I had the pleasure of meeting two really awesome people who I've been in touch with for some time now: a former AFSer named Lucie who went to Osny, France, in the 2009-2010 year, and is currently studying Arabic in Cairo for a semester of university, and her roommate, a really sweet English girl named Zoe.
(They're on a week-long trip here in Alex.)
We met up in front of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and then sat in a cafe next to it called Cilantro, where we then all got something to drink, and then were treated to a really lovely sunset over the sea (which unfortunately then morphed into a notably chilly night), and basically talked endlessly about our experiences in this country - things we've learned, things we love, things we don't so much, people we've met, et cetera.
It was really amazing to get to meet two such amazing people, and I'm so happy I got the chance. :)
After that, once I got home, I was able to Skype a friend of mine from my school back home, and then two close friends of mine that I've known since my childhood, and then my parents. :)

And today was devoid of any strenuous activity. xD
Although I did have a really nice and rare opportunity to have breakfast together with my host father. :) And then the weather outside was quite nice, so I did go out for a short walk around while buying some lemons from a street vendor for my host mother.
That's all there is to really report these days.
I promise to post more frequently. :P I already have three ideas for posts that I will make in the near future, especially as fillers until I have something really eventful or interesting to report:
  • A post about the view from my host family's balcony (corny, I know, but I really love it)
  • A post of nice, miscellaneous pictures that I've taken in the past few months that I haven't posted here
  • A post talking about the emotions that one feels on exchange 
  • A post about Egyptian food
And now some pictures from the first of my two major outings in this unplanned four-day weekend, to Stanley Bridge: 

And now for some pictures from the second of my two major outings this weekend, to the Bibliotheca with Lucie and Zoe:

And now I'll leave you with a song!
Now, I know that this is a bit of a corny choice on my part, but hear me out: I've been, for whatever reason, watching clips (and will get around to watching entire) movies that I loved in my childhood lately, and one of those that came up was "The Lion King 2," which this song comes from. And while it is corny, it really did remind me that, since I really have started to feel completely at home in my family here and increasingly close to my friends at school, in many ways, we are one. :3
So, first, here's the English version:
Now, since I feel that the language of the country I'm living in should rightfully be represented, here's the Arabic version:
And this might seem a bit more random, but in honor of my amazing German friends that I've met here via AFS, I'm also going to post the German version:

Well, that's all for now.
I'll try to be back soon enough with one of those future posts that I mentioned earlier in this one.
Hope that you all thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, because I quite enjoyed writing it. :3
Be back soon!
Love from Alexandria as usual,
Nico ^^

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