It’s been over a month since my last entry. I know a few people have been wondering how I’ve been. I was glad to hear that people were concerned. It can be a bit lonely and isolating being a stranger in a strange land. But my friends and family have kept me going and I’m grateful.
I have a lot of writing to catch up on. I’m now in Egypt and I have a lot more day to day contact with people on the streets. Contrary to what some Egyptians say, ‘Amiyya Masriyya is not close to Fushah. After about three weeks, I am beginning to understand Egyptians more. That’s even if many like to mumble or swallow their consonants. Let us not begin to talk about guessing whether it a word included the “qaf” (which becomes a hamzah stop in ‘Amiyya) or if it was an actual hamza.
Egypt is not the best place to polish up your fushah. Most Egyptians refuse to speak fushah and you will get laughed at. Unlike Morocco, where many educated Moroccans will know fushah and try to understand you, Egyptians will act like you are talking nonsense. Even if you are fluent, in their mind if you are not fluent in ‘Amiyya, your Arabic is poor. Sometimes you have to remind Egyptians how terrible their English is as Zay say sings like zis. The most positive things about not fully comprehending ‘Amiyya was that I couldn’t really understand what men said to me on the street. As my comprehension increases, I have to work harder to not be annoyed.
As usual, I’ve been following events both internationally and in America. People have asked me about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It is intersting to see how Egyptian media covers it. Speaking of that, the whole country went nuts when Egypt won the Africa cup. Lots of honking and fire works.
I’m learning a lot about life in Egypt. Things I’ve learned:
1. That my lungs are filling up with cab and mini-truck exhaust, soot, and dust. Meaning that I have to take claritan everyday just to feel like I’m not dying.
2. what Hagga tani means.
3. How to play the extreme sport of crossing crazy Cairo traffic. Such an adrenaline rush
4. Be really silent in cabs so that the cab driver doesn’t think me and my friend are foreigners and rip us off.
5. How to not fall while someone is pushing me from behind into a mob of Egyptian women rushing at me getting on or off the metro
I have so many things to write about. I’ll continue to write about the same themes. I still have a few series to finish up, such as “maids in Kuwait,” ” if you don’t know,” now you know, and “diseases of the heart.” There are of course other series I’d like to start. I’m hoping to make my writing a regular part of my routine. But as I said, this blog is hopefully about quality over quantity. It is not a travel diary and I don’t plan on putting my personal day to day interactions in blogosphere. So, if you’re looking for updates on my travels or want to know how I’m doing, I’d appreciate it if you ask me personally. I’m open for email correspondence.