Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nile Cruise

just a little update...
(sorry that theres no capitalization in this post. im at an internet cafe and the shift button is sticking terribly)
i got back from the nile cruise last night.. the cruise part of it didnt impress me, but i loved watching the scenery along the nile. it was absolutely beautiful. we took a 13 hour train ride to aswan then took the cruise four days to luxor where we went and saw the valley of the kings and the valley of the queen among other sites (a million temples) and then took the train 10 hours from luxor back to cairo. it was a long trip, but i like traveling as it gives me thinking time and time to wrestle through things in my mind that i otherwise wouldnt have time to think about. i could look out the window for hours just me and my thoughts and the view. and i did. and it was good. it was like a picture book. a fairy tale. men in their galabeias 9 robes that they wear here)... donkeys.. palm trees....mud houses....cement houses...clothes lines...little gardens...fields and fields.... the nile... i loved it. i also loved the tombs. they were so colorful, and the hylographs so preserved. the ceiling was my favorite. it was cobalt blue with gold stars, and there was a woman and her body was encircling them, to keep the stars from hitting the earth. it was beautiful and i think i will paint my room's ceiling that when i get home. it was just so beautiful.
tonight i meet my host family, and they take me away. my main concern is them stuffing me with food cause i already got sick once this week and im still coming off that, so being stuffed with foreign unclean food is the last thing i need. ana kwais! shokran, shokran!
im excited about my host family. i dont even know what to expect... i dont know how to imagine it will be like, so i wont. mostly thats what i do here. nothing is really as you expect it and there are always new situations so i just go with it and dont think about it so much before it happens. i think its better that way. better for my sanity. speaking of my sanity, i have 3 papers due this week, plus an arabic final next monday. pray for juli. =) it's gonna be tight.
i love you all.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


It's Sunday. Here our weekends are Friday and Saturday. Too weird to think that people are going to church today, in the States. I'm a bit homesick today, but I keep telling myself that when I'm there I'll wish I were here. Doesn't really help a lot, but it keeps me a bit more focused.
What do I miss of home. Let's see... I miss driving. Man do I miss driving! AH. I don't mind taking taxis everywhere here, they're super cheap. But I miss the act of driving. The speed, the convenience, and the thinking time. I miss my family. They're super cool. I miss American cereal. Ah... how I long for my Lucky Charms. I miss uncrowdedness. I'm a person who needs space. Give me trees. And oh it's fall! Ah! Give me beautiful trees! North East US. Ah, gorgeous. I miss the piano. I don't play horribly well but I practiced over the summer and just love sitting down and playing some chords. I miss music in general. My ipod and my cd player both broke the week I got here. =( I miss my Christian friends. I miss the stablility and comfort of my school and chapel. I like being challenged to think and test my faith but a heart gets weary when there's too much doubt going on. I've learned so much through this doubt though, and I will come out stronger.
I miss rain and cold. Juli have you lost your mind, you hate the cold! No but seriously there's something raw and exhilirating about walking out to fall chilliness. I'll be excited for the snow in January in Ohio.
So yes. I am homesick today. It makes me appreciate all I have back at home.

I just finished my Islam paper for the Islam final. The exam is tomorrow at 9:30. Pray for me if you think of it. It has been Islam bootcamp for the last month and my mind hurts with so much info. Pray that I will do well on my final. Tuesday is service projects, then Tuesday night we take an all night train to Aswan and take a 5 day cruise trip to Luxor! Ah! Coolness. Actually I'm so tired now Im not so excited about it. I've had sensory overload for the past long time and I am tired! Tired of new things. Tired of new people. It's true. I had a cultural missunderstanding a couple days ago and right now I'm not so interested in talking to Egyptians for a while. It was with my friend Aya, and she totally misread something I did and was a bit mean about it. She said she preferred one of my friends over me cause my friend is "kinder". Ah!. It was because one day, the day I got my nose peirced, I didn't want to hold her hand the whole time. I held it for like 30 min and then it got super hot and I let go and so now apparantly I'm not friendly. It's true that I'm not totally a touchy person, and in this culture, that part of me got me screwed. Way to be, Juli. She kindof ignored me the rest of the night and only talked to my flat mate. Hm. Sometimes I miss being around people who know me and my ways.
So after the cruise is home stays, and after homestays is a month of travelling which I'm super exctied about. Then a week to de-brief, then home. And that's whats going on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mt Sinai pics

I stole Bob's Mt Sinai pictures.
Thanks Bob.

We were tired after the three hour hike so we napped after watching the sun rise.
I wont post a picture of the ledge I slept on. lol.

How beautiful.....? Are there words?

These pics don't give it justice. It was out-of-this world. It was weird though I couldn't get the song by John Denver (?) about being on top of the world out of my head...."I'm on the top of the world, looking down on creation and the only explanation I can find, is the love that I've found ever since you've been around, you're love's put me at the top of the world."

Yay! Juli at the top of the world.
I think this is the most peaceful place I've ever been at.
The only thing missing was all the people I love. I wish I could share with you all the feeling of being there.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Sunday night we went to an African Cup semi final game!!!! It was so much fun.. It was just like in the Azores when we'd go to Santa Clara football games. The everyone was dark skinned. heh. Really, the men look so Portuguese. The fans (including us) were nuts. Some of our group had jerseys (I didn't cause I didn't go to Siwa and that's where they got them) and a lot of us had Egypt flags. The teams were Ahly and Tunisia. We (Ahly) won 1-0. It was a sweet goal. The coach (Manuel José) and fitness trainer are Portuguese!!! woohoo!
heres a youtube video i posted:

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Without Condition

You find this situation just a bit uncomfortable;
You'd rather stay far away from reality.
For you to understand would be clearly impossible;
So you shut your eyes and swear you can see.
Claiming there is a God, but does that mean anything?
So condescending to those that you don't understand;
Just too easy to make them your enemies.
Like an ostrich, you bury your head in the sand,
And then shout about all the things you believe.
But if there is a God, don't you think you can see
What you really mean? What you're doing?

You can't find the answers
Till you learn to question;
You won't appear stupid
Just ask for directions.
You're insecure and it clouds your perception
So stop and listen
And learn a lesson in love without condition.

So place all the souls that you know
in their own little box;
Quite convenient to handle them that way;
You're the only one you know who carries a cross
You don't care what they care about anyway.
And You talk to your God,
Prayin' for those who sin,
For their eyes to be opened.

by Ginny Owens
(you'll get her music if you know whats good for you)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

ana mineen... ?

I hate it when people ask me where I'm from.
I don't know what to say. Just ask me where I live! Ana sakna fi Agouza! I know where I live. I know how to answer that. But where I'm from... Do you mean where I grew up? Do you mean where I study? Do you mean where I go when I'm not studying?
Maybe it's weird, but sometimes I feel like I don't exist, because I don't have a place I call mine. I'm a freaking nomad.

On to less depressing news... I went to a coffee shop today a bit far away from the flat with Allison. We were there for an insane number of hours, writing papers and getting expresso highs, and then she went home and I went to the store and on the way back I got lost for an hour. Oh wait that's depressing too. I finally got a taxi and there were two men in it and I asked for Agouza and the driver nodded so I figured he understood. K well we're not exactly supposed to get taxis alone at night but I was desperate and my feet were cursing at me and the men's eyes looked safe so I got in. So then we start driving and we go over the bridge... Oh good, now I know where I'm at.. Um, Agouza's back that way, why are we going over the bridge... Oh God where am I going.. "Agouza???" I ask. The driver smiles."Zemalak". =| God, they've taken me hostage. For about 10 seconds I thought I was dead. Then the other guy turns around and in perfect English says "He's dropping me off in Zemalak first and then he'll take you home." Thanks for letting me know that when I got in the car, punk.

I'm in Agouza alone with Allison and Amanda and Tony, the rest went on a weekend trip to Siwa. Oh wait did I say that in my last post? I can't ever remember what I posted about last. I'm happy to be here. I need to get studying done and some serious sleeping. I wake up at weird hours though, and then can't fall back to sleep. Last night I got no mind rest. I woke up thinking about what I fell asleep thinking about. Bugger. I hate it when that happens. It's like, did my mind even rest? I did dream though. I dreamed that I broke a cat's paw. It sucked. Then I dreamed that my baby brother was dating and that was insane. Well he's not a baby anymore, he's a teenager. But still, that is just too weird. Both of my brothers are insanly good looking though, so they'll be hooking up soon prolly. Ah.

I'm writing a paper on a book, "Civil Democratic Islam" by Cheryl Benard. It frusterates me a lot because it isn't personal. It's all about US foreign policy and how we can conform the Middle East to satisfy our national interests and how to make it look appealing to them. -You won't have to wear the higab (head dress)! Oh actually, you won't be allowed to, cause we're going to give you freedom from religion!-
I am not an expert, but I'm going to say this anyway: Democracy is not for everyone. Not now, anyways. There are places not ready for democracy. Maybe one day they will be, but not now. The US foreign policy is in such a mess right now... Between our support for Israel and her human rights violations, and our presence in Iraq, our credibility is the lowest it has been for a really long time. In my opinion we need to get serious with Israel and make them accountable for how they're treating the Palestinians and we need to stick it out in Iraq untill there's stability. If we pull out of Iraq it will be a vacuum for Syria and Iran craziness and will destabalize the region even more than it is now. Egypt is scared spitless of Iran, by the way. I heard a top guy (I'd tell you who but... it's pretty much top secret. =) ) speak about the ME and it was insane how much he talked about Iran.

Oops, I'm out alone past my people-who-are-alone curfew so i need to go now.

My neck is feeling better. I can acually turn my head to the right now. We had a dance party (it's ok dad, it was girls only) at our flat last week and I was air guitaring behind my head and then I pinched a nerve and I couldnt turn my head or this pain would shoot up from the bottom of my neck to my skull, it was insane.

Ramadan karim guys! Only 8 days left and kosheri restaurants will be open again, halelujah.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I have been here a month and 4 days. Amazing.

Haven't posted a lot lately... Been really busy.... I'm taking a long weekend off though. Thursday through Saturday with nothing planned. Nada. Nothing. I cannot wait. The rest of the group minus one of my flat mates are going to Siwa, an oasis in the desert. They'll be in the desert sleeping under the stars, and while I'm a bit jealous and have reconsidered going a lot, I know I need this time. I'm learning I just need to respect myself and my limits, and stop pushing myself till I crash. I'm planning on coming back here one day for sure, and I can go to Siwa then.

Basically nothing exciting has happened.. Life has finally seemed to develop a routine which I am so thankful for. In two weeks that will change though. The week of the 15th is the Aswan cruise and then the week after is our home stays. During our home stays we will still be having classes as usual but we will be sleeping and spending our evenings with an Egyptian family some where. I'm really looking forward to that a lot. Like, a really lot. It will be the true cultural immersion and I can't wait to get to know the family... Its gonna be quality. The only down side is the whole classes-still-going-on thing. It'll take longer to get here in the morning which means we'll have to wake up earlier (like 6:00) and I hear that the families keeps you up really late. Oh well, it will be so worth it. I teach English to refugees in about a half hour so I need to go and meet my group soon. I will post again soon... A lot has been going through my head and I feel the need to write it out so Ill do that soon.
Please be praying for me.. I'm doing well in general but am a bit discouraged today.

grace and peace