After a wonderful visit back in Cali, I was a bit reluctant to return to Cairo, thinking mostly the things I was not looking forward to here as opposed to some of the great things that Cairo has to offer. I thought of being lonely, stared at, harassed by Egyptian men, and having to argue and negotiate through every exchange of money I make.
Once getting here, I have seen so much of the good that is here, making me more excited for the year, which at this point looks like my last here – but we’ll see as the year goes on. Here’s some little blessings that God has shoved in my face recently, basically reminding me to chill a little and that He does have things under control and there is a reason for me being here.
Blessing #1 The first thing I was not looking forward to was finding a way home from the airport. I was not in the mood after 24 hrs of straight flying and layovers to argue with a taxi driver to take a $WHITE GIRL$ from the $AIRPORT$ to $MAADI$ for a reasonable amount. I was revving up the arguing skills in my head as I waited for my luggage, then looked over and saw a man holding an “American International School” sign. The sign brought me right back to a year ago when I was walking off the plane having no clue what the-h I was doing moving to Egypt, even though I had good experiences there before, and meeting up with other teachers who also had less of a clue. I talked to the guy with the sign and he said they could give me a ride in the bus to Maadi for FREE!!! (moocher…). I walked out and met about 12 new teachers and got to meet up with all the principals from last year who were making fun of me for leeching off the free ride (which I still haven’t heard the end of). It was a great opportunity to get to know some of the new teachers and answer some of the questions they had. There are some great new teachers coming in that I think I’ll get along with really well. And, the bus took us to a hotel about one block from my flat. Crazy!
Blessing #2 – there is an overpass by where I live which I like to call the “piss overpass” because it smells like; well… anyways it’s really dark and goes over the metro. It was the site of the “attempted ass-grab” from last spring that sent me into a great deal of frustration and made me a little apprehensive about walking through there which I have to do multiple times a day. So my first night crossing, I realized they have put a ton of bright lights up and down both sides of the stairs that shine through the tunnel as well! It still doesn’t prevent ass-grabs completely, but I hope it makes it a little less tempting!
Blessing #3 – Today I was at City Stars, walking by myself when a group of younger Egyptian men come walking the other way. As they passed I could feel their eyes on me and they started hissing the stupid hiss that sends my hairs on end, makes me mutter profanities under my breath and gets me ready to regulate. They started calling after me “miss, miss” and hissed louder as they passed me. Then I could hear them turn around and walk after me, so I started walking faster and faster, the profanities becoming more frequent as my blood began to boil. Despite my power-walking efforts, one caught up to me. I turned and saw he was holding a wad of money that had fallen out of my pocket. I looked down and said “shokran” sheepishly as they walked away. I felt like an ass. But I needed that.
Blessing #4 – I’ve been helping out with orientation for the new teachers. I really have gotten to meet some great people, most of whom are young, active, and a lot have been talking about going to the church I’ve been going to! It’s been great to be on the other side of things, helping people with the simple activities of everyday life – getting a cab, going to the market, finding your way around, buying phone cards… stuff that has become more second nature than I realize. I think we may have already created a Maadi running club, and potentially a girls rugby team! I’ve also got to meet up with a lot of staff from last year and it’s good to see those friendships persist past the summer.
So that’s not to say that there aren’t giant beast ants parading across my apartment floor that crunch when I step on them (sometimes on purpose, sometimes not), or that the temperature is not stupid hot and sticky, but there is a lot of good here and I’m hoping to be able to see it a little better