Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Carrefour Experience

I would describe Carrefour as being something akin to a Super Walmart. It is bigger than Super Walmart, but I think Super Walmart may have Carrefour beat on the variety of things that can be purchased there. Also, Carrefour is not open 24 hrs a day.
Imagine this. . . you live in a city of 20 million people and there is only one Carrefour for all 20 million to share (I could be wrong on this, but there is only one that I know about). So needless to say, Carrefour is always, always, always crowded. But going to Carrefour is a necessity from time to time because you can find nearly everything there and nearly everything for the best price. So last weekend Sara and I embarked on our journey to Carrefour. When we get there we decide to get something to eat. So I stand in one line to get our fries and onion rings, while Sara goes to get a milkshake and a cappucino (yes, we are a picture of healthy eating here). I'm standing in line and minding my own business when I feel a hand on my butt. I froze for a second and prayed that it was Sara feeling me up and not some creepy man. I turn around ready to start flailing and find that my creep is a three year old boy. Sigh. I can handle that. The boy is standing hand in hand with his father and mom is close by. They seemed to not notice, so I turned back around to think nothing more of it. But the kid keeps grabbing my ass. Come on mom and dad. . . control your child!!!!!! So anyways, I got the food and got away.
After finishing our "meal" Sara and I commence the shopping. Carrefour is wonderful. I bought enough groceries to last easily for three weeks and only spent in the neighborhood of $25. In GA I could spend double that in groceries for one meal for my family (6 or 7 people depending on who shows up). Anyhow, one thing I find particularly funny about shopping at Carrefour is that Egyptians will blatantly stare at you for about two or three seconds and then look into your cart to see what you are buying. You wonder the thought process. . . "Look a white person! What do they eat!?" It was so ridiculous. It wasn't just once or twice that people did this it was constant. I had to stop myself from laughing more than once.
The trip was great. We ended our voyage by stopping at Cinnabon to split a cinnapack. By the way, I'll be 50lbs heavier when I come home.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Walk Softly, Carry a Big Whip

Yes I am alive and well. Still no internet connection at work. Still stopping by my local internet cafe in attempts to keep up with emails, blogs, and all that jazz.

Sara has started carrying a large stick with her for crossing over the creepy bridges near our apartment. I'm not too far behind her, though I always envision myself carrying a whip.

I have made steps towards freeing up my schedule so I have more study time. So far, I am not quite out of leading a home group, but I will be in the next month (as soon as we can find someone else). And this week will be my last week on worship team for the main church services. I'm sticking with helping out with music for kids church and a once a month youth worship service. I'm proud of myself for actually admitting to myself and the rest of the world that I actually cannot do everything all at once.

My apartment is still great. We currently have two friends living with us until they get a new place. Their last place was infested with bugs.
We live across the street from a hospital, which is quite interesting. This morning I ate breakfast to the sounds of a woman howling as if she were being tortured to the brink of death. Here, if someone dies, there are mourners. These mourners don't just go to the funeral and look very sad as if their world can't go on without the recently departed. They stand out side of the deseased's house and/or hospital and wail and moan as loud as they possibly can. This shows that the person was loved. So anyways, I was inspired to contemplate my mortality as I munched away with my muesli and yogurt.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Latest and Greatest

I bought some minutes at an internet cafe and soon the school should have internet access again, so I am officially back online.
I've been back for a week now, it actually feels like longer than that. I guess I have been busy enough and jet-lagged enough that my sense of time passage is not what it should be. So anyhow, here's the latest and greatest with me.
My new apartment is wonderful. Perhaps it is a little cold with no central heat, but I do have a perfectly good heater in my room so no complaints there. My roommates are great, as if I even needed to mention that. I feel like I am living my high school fantasy of living with two of my best friends, only I don't think I ever pictured it being in Cairo. The only bad thing about our new place is the location. I don't feel particularly at risk while I'm in my apartment, but there are these bridges I have to cross just about anytime I want to go anywhere. These bridges are really a bit sketchy and I hate having to cross them by myself.
My job is really good. My kids are all doing well, even the one kid who has given me a hard time all year. So things are looking good there. Today I started working on a teaching certification, which I hope to finish by the end of July. It won't qualify me to work in public schools in the States, but it my help in my continued education either at UGA or ASU. It also may be enough to work in some private schools. We shall see.
Church is good, but I am working on minimizing my commitments and responsibilities there. With all the extra work for this teaching certification, I just don't think that it would be wise to continue with everything I have been doing in the past. I think I devote about 20 hrs/month to my cell group (at least). And I give approximately another 20 hrs/month to various music/worship team commitments. So cutting those commitments down to about one fourth of what they are right now would be ideal I think. So wish me (the girl who can't say no to anyone)luck with that.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm back

This is a quick blog to let you all know I have arrived safe and sound back to the craziness of Cairo. I am without internet access for the week, so I'll blog more at that time. I am already storing up things I want to blog about.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream-- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Truimph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch and toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can walk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving freinds can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run--
Yours is the earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a man, my son!

-Rudyard Kipling

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Reverse Culture Shock

Everybody in Cairo warned me about reverse culture shock. When I came home this summer, I only experienced a very slight case. The driving strategies in Cairo are nothing like the driving strategies here in GA. So even though I didn't drive in Cairo, when I came home it felt weird to be in traffic that made such sense. Now I am home again and of course the traffic here still feels a little too organized, but there are other things I am noticing too.
The first one was southern accents. I used to not really care for the southern accent. I was always pleased that my accent was not too southern (though I admit I do use some southernisms such as "fixin' to"). Since I have been in Cairo I don't often hear the Southern accent. So when I come home the sound of Southerners speaking has truly become music to my ears. I have actually found myself commenting on how wonderful certain people's accents are. It's almost like when you hear British people speaking and you just want them to keep talking so you can hear how it sounds. That's how I've felt about southern accents.

The second thing that shocked me was clothing/modesty. I was at a birthday lunch for a friend at IHOP the other day (Happy Birthday Jen!), and two teenage girls were coming out of the restaurant. They were wearing shorts!!! I couldn't believe it. Shocking. Scandalous. Did their parents realize how short their daughters' shorts are? Have those girls no sense of decency or modesty? I looked around at the people sitting near me. No one else even noticed these girls. No one else thought it was weird. And I realized that I was the weird one, not these girls. Their shorts were of a perfectly acceptable length for walking around in public here.