Running on Egyptian Time
Crazily enough, it’s been over two months since I have arrived in Cairo. Like everything else in Egypt, I’ve been writing blog posts on Egyptian time. That means that everything is at least an hour or two late (or in this case a month and a half late). But like time in Cairo, everything is a whirlwind and you get there eventually. I’m halfway through my time here and I’ve concluded that if I didn’t have to actually graduate, I would never leave Egypt. Here’s a summary of all that has been happening:
- I spent a weekend at Ain Sokhna, a beach on the Red Sea.
- I spend Eid break in Luxor and Aswan:
- Eid al-Adha is the celebration at the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca, so we got a week off of school.
- Aswan and Luxor are home to the oldest pharonic temples and ruins in Egypt, so we spent the week exploring them while cruising up the Nile.
- I spent a few days in Sharm el-Sheikh, snorkelling and riding ATVs in the desert. Sharm is on the Sinai Peninsula, but the only way to get there is to fly or take a bus. It’s not as safe to take a bus lately, as there is a branch of Daesh (The islamic State) extremists operating in the north.
Between trips I spend week days in class, taking intensive Arabic classes. Although I’ve taken Arabic for two years in Seattle, having small intensive classes is really helping to advance my skills. In addition, running around Cairo and speaking with my Egyptian friends has really improved my colloquial skills. I can now direct a taxi, order and generally discusses daily life in 3amiyya. I’ve also picked up quite a bit of slang and often switch between the two, as do my friends. Some words to know:
- 7abibty or 7ayati = Terms of endearment meaning “My dear” or “My life”
- Enta fein? = Where are you?
- Shwaya = a little or kind of
- Khalas = enough or a term to denote resignation
- Insha’allah = “God be willing” or hopefully, the meaning is a little more flexible and abstract than that however.
It even rained here a bit (which caused quite a bit of traffic trouble and flooding) but it was absolutely amazing! The rain is the only thing I miss about home.
In the next two months I will mostly be in class or exploring Cairo more. Insha’allah I will also visit Alexandria over Thanksgiving break (which is a thing here weirdly enough), and then prepare to take finals and come home.