Sunday, April 28, 2013

April update

Like I said in my last post, sorry I haven't been posting so much lately.
I guess it's just been a mixture of writer's block, lack of note-worthy activity, laziness, and just plain procrastination on my part.
I will try to post more regularly in my remaining months here.

In any case, I will now update you all on all the things I've done since April 7, the last time that I made a legitimate blog post.
Soon after my April 7th post, I finished my third quarter exams, and I've since gotten my report card back. I'd say I did a pretty good job, thankfully. :)

My report card, ladies and gentlemen. As usual, please disregard computer, music, and art. 

On April 12, I went with my host mother and some colleagues of hers to a park that's actually quite close to where I live, called Qariet el-Asad, which means something like "the Park of the Lion." It was a nice place with some wide fields, a restaurant area, and some animal enclosures containing an eagle, a vulture, porcupines, dogs, pigeons, monkeys, ostriches, camels, and (in a separate enclosure) lions.
We sat around chatting for quite a while, had something to eat, and then headed to a place where there was a sort of small circus, in which the lions were featured.
Overall, it was a nice place and a very fun day. The only thing that I didn't feel so good about was that the animals didn't have a whole lot of space in their enclosures, but other than that, I had fun.

                                     *No pictures from this one, unfortunately. Sorry!*

On the 17th, I went with a group of people from my school to an event at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The group and event were created for the people with the highest chemistry grades.
Initially, I was quite confused, as I had understood that we were going to the library in order to hear a well-known Egyptian scientist speak. But instead, when we arrived, we found a kind of science fair comprised of people from various schools and a few faculties of the University of Alexandria. Even so, it was interesting to see, as some people made some very interesting projects and were very clever presenters, and I had fun with the people from my school that I went with.

*No pictures from this one either, because, although there were pictures taken, one of the people there requested that they not be uploaded anywhere because they value their privacy, so I will respect that request. Please imagine a picture of me in front of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina with a group of classmates. :P*

On the 18th, I went out to the movies in a very upscale mall complex called San Stefano with a group of my Egyptian American friends from my school - Youssef, Hashem, Hashem's little brother Fares, and Fares's friend Adam. We saw an American action flick called "Olympus Has Fallen." In my opinion it wasn't particularly original, but it was very suspenseful and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Overall, I'd say it was a pretty good movie.
Afterwards, we all pitched in to buy some pizza from the food court, and enjoyed it together, laughing it up and having a great time. :)
I waited with them as they caught their trams to head back to their respective neighborhoods, and then hopped on a taxi and headed back to my home in Smouha.

From left to right: Me, Youssef, Hashem, and Fares (Adam had to leave earlier than the rest of us, so he's not pictured).

And again. :) 

Then on the 21st I went with my AFS returnee-volunteer/schoolmate/good friend Adham, who went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with AFS last year, to a play practice for a play that he's in to meet some of his friends.
Overall, in spite of the fact that I found the parts of the play itself that they practiced very hard to understand (it was in Standard Arabic), I had a good time, and I was able to catch a glimpse of something that I've very frequently seen in events at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina - a very energetic, creative, dynamic youth that create and enrich culturally, and give back to the community. It's something that I love to see, and something that really gives me home for the reformation and regeneration of this country after the Revolution and all.
I also met a few people who I really liked and was glad to have met.

                                                *No pics again. Sorry.*

Then the 22nd at school, there was a kind of celebration of Earth Day for the little kids (if I've failed to mention it before, Taymour is a K-12 school) that mostly consisted of playing games, painting, and just relaxing and having fun. Since my close friend Nehal, who I've surely mentioned before, was a volunteer, and I was free for most of that day since my class had Arabic subjects, she invited me to come along and see what was going on, and we helped the present teachers and volunteers keep the little kids in check and play games with them.
That was quite fun, a cool little memory, like many others I have of my time here. C:
          *No pictures of this since it was a school day and I hadn't thought to bring my camera.*

Other than that, same old-same old.
School. Having lots of fun with my friends there. Forming ever-closer bonds with my lovely host family. Learning more Arabic day by day. Skyping family and friends back in the USA. Going for walks in the lovely not-too-hot-and-not-too-cold Egyptian April, wandering aimlessly around the pretty little residential neighborhood of Smouha that I have come to love and call my second home. Going to calligraphy lessons, having interesting discussions in Arabic with my friendly and wise teacher, watching Turkish soap operas dubbed into Lebanese Arabic that he keeps on in the background, sipping a kind of instant coffee made by Nestle called Nescafe, all while writing rare and beautiful styles of Arabic calligraphy, gradually improving my abilities regarding that.
In other words, living my new life.
My Egyptian life.
Although after almost eight months, I suppose it's not really new anymore. It's almost become...simply life. Except life exactly 5825 miles and 9374 kilometers from the town where I was born and grew up.

My three day trip to Cairo merits another post all for itself, so I will make one for that soon and then after that, finally get cracking on that list of post ideas that I wrote in my March 10th post, and such.
Thanks for reading everybody!
And sorry again for my prolonged period of silence.
Bye for now,

PS: I'll leave you all with a song, one that I like a lot. I've been listening to it quite a bit lately, and I feel that it embodies my experience at this point pretty well. :)

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