Friday, August 31, 2007

Agouza, Cairo

Today the call to prayer woke me up in the middle of the night and for a second I was startled, but when I realized I was in Cairo my heart was so happy.. I felt such peace and just leaned out my window untill it was over, then fell back to sleep.
I arrived Wednesday night. It was a loooooong trip. Left Dayton at 11:40am on the 28th and had stops in Detroit, New York, and Frankfurt before arriving in Cairo at 8:00 pm on the 29th. I met my team in New York. It was weird to me cause Im going to be closely living with these people for 3.5 months. I hate the pressure of first impressions. But after an hour and confusing names a million times, we ate and were friends. There are 29 of us. Seventeen girls and 12 guys. It doesnt seem like that many anymore. We're getting tighter. On Tuesday night we're having a community service where we commit to each other for the semester, to lift each other's burdens, to love each other, to serve each other... I'm in the planning committee and will be playing the violin accompanied by a guitar. I brought my electric violin and am pretty pumped about it. Every day we start out by having devotions on Dr. Dave's (our director) roof. Its covered, and we sit together on these cool legless rug chairs on the floor and there are colorful rugs covering the floor. The roof is covered and there are ceiling fans... it's very pleasant. I love it up there. I'm seeing that the poeople in my group have very different denominational backgrounds. I find that freeing. I'm going to learn a lot here.
From what I've tasted the food here is great. Karina, an Egyptian woman, cooks for us at the MESP vila where we eat most of our meals, and she does a good job. After this week we'll be making our own dinners in our flats and I think then Ill only be eating vegetarian. All the food in the market has flies on it... except the meat.... cause it's been sprayed with bug spray... =D We eat "aish" with every meal... it's thin pita bread. It's growing on me though the sawdust filler makes me a bit uneasy. Today I pulled a little peace of wood from a peice of aish. Nothing like splinters in your tongue. I like it with nutella though. And jelly. Or you can fill it with anything.
So for best stuff, here are my pics so far:

I saw the pyramids from the plane!!!! It was a pretty smoggy though. Cairo's a dirty place!

So far I've seen a Cinnabon, KFC, Mc Donalds, Chillies, TGIFridays, and the Pizza Hut and Hardies in the picture. It's a mini America. Well not really, but it's all there. No Walmart, but some pretty cool little shops that will be fun shopping at. We need TP in the flat so thats our next mission.
Whatever ground that is not being built on is being farmed on.

The buildings are generally cruddy. People almost never walk on cross walks. There arnt really lanes in the streets. Cars just go and then honk when theres something or someone in their way. I like it.


We went hijab shopping for our mosque visit. There were so many and they were beautiful all together.

Heidi and I with our teal hijabs. They looked pretty on us the next day.

The veiling.

Hookah!! Or Shisha, as it's called here. (J was immpressed with my skills haha)

We packed the place out. Got a 50% discount too.

I had a picnic on a boat on the Nile today.

Lop sided. =) picture of the Hyatt hotel... one of the (if not the) most expensive in Cairo. We want to go to the round restaurant above and see the view and sip 20 Egyptian lb (4 dolars) tea. Things are pretty cheap there. You can get a meal for $10 in a nicer restaurant on the Nile.

No one fell, yay. We got warned about parasites in the Nile if you get in the water. Gross, Ill wait for our cruise to Luxor to swim. =))

This Nile was once blood. Many years ago. When God was freeing his people.

I was there. It's true. If I didnt have these pics, I'd think it was a dream.

Well, more later.
For now, know I know that miss you all and wish you were here.

Monday, August 27, 2007


This morning I woke up and all I could think of was "Tomorrow, it's happening tomorrow". Needless to say, I'm pretty pumped. At the same time, I just want my suitcase to be zippered up and to be on my way to the airport. I hate good byes. I have to say them a lot, but they don't get easier. Yesterday I missed my family a lot. We're pretty tight. AND my little brother just started college at PBU in Philly so I hate it that I can't be closer to him.
While I don't exactally feel as prepared to go as I should be, I feel like I'm prepared as I'll ever be. I feel emotionally prepared but intellectually lacking. This summer I studied Arabic and I know some basic words... man, child, milk, in, on, under, walk, run, jump... Words like that. But not much conversational Arabic. Like "Hi, how are you?" Which is kind of crazy cause that's what I'll be really needing in the beginnig. eh. Oh well, there's always thumbs up. I learned to read Arabic though, and I can do so pretty well. I just dont know what half the words mean. heh. It's a beautiful language. I have to say my favorite words so far are "salaam" (peace) and " hud-hud" (pronounced 'hood-hood')(humming bird).
I met a sudanese refugee in a coffee shop this summer and I got together with him a few times and he gave me some pronounciation tips and Egypt tips (he lived there for a while) and we talked politics and God. It was crazy, really. After I get my undergrad at CU I want to get a Physicians Assistant degree and then I'm planning on working in refugee camps. So, I met my first refugee, but I didn't help him... he was the one who helped me. I think that applies to the rest of my life really. I will be helping other people, but at the same time, they will be helping me. They will be teaching me, as I help them. I think I will learn soooo much in my career. I just hope I have an attitude that is teachable, that I wont be proud and think that people need me, but that I dont need them. My going to Egypt is partly about the classes and the credits and the sites, but, I'm going for more than that. Honestly, I want to find God there. Maybe God will find me there. I want to be away from all that keeps me comfortable and keeps me planned and I want to find my Lord. I want to feel the cleansing heat of the desert, the rawness of living where Christianity was born, I want to meet the people that will teach me about the world. Arabs, Jews, Muslims... I think they're more like me than I realize. I think we make differences between cultures bigger than they are. We are all in God's image... we are all human, we are the same deep down. God loves us all equally, and passionately. God who gave the Arab breath is the God who gave me breath.
Tomorrow... it's Cairo or bust!

Friday, August 17, 2007

So, this is my current feeling:

Someone pinch me. Am I really going to Egypt?
Hah. I told myself that I'm leaving for PA (my fam's taking my little bro to college, then I'll be in OH till I leave for Cairo) tomorrow so that I'd pack today and not have to stress about it tomorrow. I packed but there's still laundry to do and a trip to Wal Mart and the mall to be had, so I'm not really packed yet. But, I have in front of me a medium sized suitcase and it is full but def not busting at the seams. They keep telling us to pack light, so thats what I'm doing, but I'm afraid of getting there and regretting not bringing stuff. But hey. Basically I can buy everything there I would need except cosmetics so I think I will be ok.
I had a semi stress atack about a week ago and had to visit a friend and as we say in Portugal "desabafar"... basically means unloading with someone. Then I talked with God and we got some things worked out and had an attitude check, and since then I havent been very stressed or worried. More excited and expectant. I don't even know if "expectant" is a word, but it means that I am expecting great things to happen in me when I am there. I am preparing myself to be changed. Searching my heart and giving every area to God. And doing that everyday, as a way to prepare for this adventure. I've also been reading my Bible and doing word searches. I love I go there and type in a word and read all the verses that talk about that subject. It is very enlightening. I'm finding that when I submerge myself in the BIble and in meditation on God, it is not hard to "bring Him up" in conversations. It just comes. Memorizing scripture leads to meditation so I've been trying to do that too.
I hate the media. It's always so negative and it makes me hate the world sometimes.

This is my Father's world
Oh let me never forget
That though the wrong seems oft' so strong
God is the ruler yet

Eleven days.