Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the day before i leave

I leave the Middle East in about exactly 24 hours.

Ah. I've done a pitiful job at blogging since host families and for that I apologize. I has been an amazing few last weeks, and I have really enjoyed my group and all the activities... Well today was a bad day just because I was physically harassed for the first time and that totally threw me off emotionally. I pretty much hate Cairo right now. It happenned this afternoon and tonight I went for a walk with Linda as we have done on a number of occasions and when I got back my body hurt from being so tense. Just anytime I would pass by a man I'd be afraid one would come up behind me again and the yells and wistles and comments and stares were just a hundred times worse today. It makes me mad because I make it a point to dress modestly (heck I dress more modestly than Egyptian women except for the higab as my clothes are SO much looser and covering than theirs) and I still get the attention. Why? Cause I have light skin and blue eyes? I really don't get it. And it really makes me mad. It's sad cause I was just thinking yesterday that I had gotten used to the men and they really didn't bother me anymore, and that I really did love Cairo and would miss it a lot. Now just because of one incident I'm so hateful toward it all. It's messed up.

I finished all my papers and everything academic is finished. They were hard to get through.
I'm basically packed. Except I need to repack everthing to make the glass things safer and to distribute the weight. I got such cute suveniers for my loved ones, I'm pretty excited.
Yesterday, I was not ready to go home. Today I am. I'll be sad to say bye to my people and honestly maybe Ill be less mad tomorrow and be able to leave still liking Cairo, but they have some serious social issues to work out.

I have a lot of pics to post, and I'll do that when I get home. Right now I want to spend as much time with my flat mates and get packed so stuff wont be stressful tomorrow.

I say my host family today again and said good bye... Ah, I like them so much.
I was also able to get my secret santa gift. Flat 2 exchanged names and we're gonna take a trip to "Costa Caf'e" our hangout spot and exchange them tomorrow. I love love love Christmas and I am really not in the mood yet, which is sad cause I feel like I'll have less of a Christmas season just cause it will be so short. Yet, it will be 12 days of Christmas, as I get back on the 13th and that plus 12 is the 25th. It's kinda apropriate. Maybe I'll get a mint hot chocolate and that will help me get in the mood tomorrow.

If this post sounds so boring, I'm sorry. It's almost 1am and I'm pretty tired but I know I need to update you all. I'm so excited about a lot of stuff... I've learned so much about myself and grown this semester... I can't believe I actually survived a semester in Egypt. It's empowering, thinking about it. It was really hard at points and in the beginning I often thought I wouldn't make it through. After being on travel component I found out that Cairo really is a hard place to be compared to the rest of the Middle EAst. It's a tough country. Just it's dirtiness and harassment. Also the disorganization of everything. It looks like a third world country in some places. That's not typical of the Middle East. Well. Not the cities I visited in the MIddle East.

Guys, going back is not going to be easy.. please give me time to process everything.. Don't expect great things right in the beginning. I've learned and been exposed to a lot of new ideas about things politically and religiously, and I'm still sorting everything out. I don't really know what I believe in some areas, so don't push too hard. I guess just give me space and let me process though things. If I make some out of the blue comment about something and it seems proposterous to you, just know that I'm grappling with a lot of issues right now and just cause I discuss something doesn't mean I actually believe it. For example.. I was introduced to the idea of a Suffi Muslim Follower of Christ. What to do with that? I'm working through it. I bought a book written by him. Does that mean I believe he's a true follower of Christ and that he's right with God? No, I'm just exploring. So pray for me and show me grace to explore ideas in the next.. say... year? I don't know how long it will take to process it all. But I've come too far this semester to go back to the old me pre-Mesp. If I go around wearing my "Free Palestine" t-shirt, please still talk to me. It I pray with prayer beads sometimes please don't stop praying with me. If I vote democrat and tell you, please don't think you need to pray for my soul: I still love Jesus. If you hear an occasional "mumkin" or "aywa" or "la" or "ilhamdulela" in my speech, just bear in mind that I'm now trilingual. ha. ha. Ok I'm not trilingual but honestly one more week with my host family and I'd be able to understand Arabic almost fluently. Seriously, I can't believe how much I understand what I hear. Speaking is different, but heck if you understand a language you're half there. Guys, know that I have not lost my mind and that I am still Juliana. Love me as such and show me grace in my times of seeming insanity, cause this semester that been just that: INSANE. And how is a person to cope with that? By being insane for a little bit.
So there. I love you and I'm coming home.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I'm sitting on the floor in my room in my dear flat 2. Thank God. Travel component was a-mazing, but boy does travelling for a month get tiring. Amanda is here writing papers next to me. Or... haha as I see on facebook. We basically live on facebook here. It's just hard to be away from family and friends in this Christmas season.. but alas, we need to stay focus and keep our heads HERE cause only have..... thirteen days left?! =) She's actually a resident of flat 5. They all came down at 7am because they smelled gas and saw that gas from the stove was on. So they ran down and we had a slumber party.
I need to write my Iraq paper. It's due tomorrow. I have four papers due tomorrow:
1. Body and Blood, by Gelvin: Why are Christians dissapearing from the Middle East?
2. Iraq: Solve it. (yikes!)
3. 9 Differences between Egypt and Turkey
4. 5 Effects of globalization on the Middle East.
They're all either 6 or 8 pages.
So... I should get to that... Just thought I would give you an update on whats goinon with me today.

For future reference, my favourite Christmas character is elves. And lately I can't get them out of my head. I think bob is an elf secretly, though he fervently denies it. But an elf would.

Merry First Day of December everyone!