Today was a useful day socially, but not academically. I blew it academically by going to a b-day party that I only meant to show my face at and then return and hit the books. I ended staying there for an hour and half to two hours. I then did something I rarely do… I went to the Greek club.
What is the Greek Club? It’s a restaurtant (well a bar really) made out of this house that used to belong to some Greek people. It was an interesting experience because I had only been there once before, and because of the kinds of people that go there. The artsy or anarchist Egyptians, the ones that break the rules by drinking and smoking and not wearing hijab. I saw an Egyptian woman gulp down a Heneiken and for a moment, I forgot where I was…
I met two Egyptian men, who happened to be acqaintences of some of the guys in the program. They both remarked that my name was Arabic… Well one called it an Arabic name, the other called it an Islamic one… Talking to them made me realize just how cut off I am from the world of Egyptian men… and women for that matter. I have trouble relating to the Egyptian women I meet. My Egyptian roomate is in her late teens (19) and many of the Egyptians affiliated with our program are not much older than she (21-24). Plus many of them just don’t have the same interests that I do. Making life long friendships with locals is not neccessarily a major goal for me, if friendships happen, Allhamdullilah, if they don’t oh well.
Allhamdullilah بردو (as well).
But it is important to foster relationships with the people that I am connected with, the expats who all share with me the journey to Arabic proficiency, the elusive, but not impossible dream of fluency… We really are a hodge podge of people and backgrounds and goals.
Nothing serious happened, but it was nice to relax and talk about silly things. I fanned off a classmates encouragement for me to alcohol at least once in my life, argued about some text we read for Islamic studies class, complained about the first year of our graduate program, encouraged other students to come with me to Morocco for the summer, was told by my closest friend here that she agrees with college friends: the thing with “the boy” is not going to work out, watched people build models of ancient Egyptian temples out of empty Stella beer bottles and cell phones, avoided the craziness that was this old Egyptian guy walking out of the club in a drunken stupor and nearly hitting some of us with the wall dividers and laughed at terrible tipsy and drunken references to Egyptian mythology (what in the name of Amon-Ra are you doing?…. ok it was funnier in context).
I had a friend who lives with a host family decided to stay over at my place rather than go home. We were walked home by some guys from the program one of which helped me open the main gate to my building… Too bad our bawab and local convenience store owner saw us (I hope there won’t be gossip about us later… it was 1;30 in the morning :0 Before reaching my apartment building though, I discovered that Egyptian guy that I assumed was Muslim the whole night was also a Christian and Copt, I will attend his church service at some point (never felt comfortable just walking into a Coptic church, seems to me that I will always look like I don’t belong)… He explained the Coptic Church’s stance on alcohol consumption (there was some lack of clarity on the issue before… heck there still might be as far as I am concerned). I don’t know how I did not notice the cross tattooed into his wrist… probably because he was wearing long sleeves and it was dark?
I came home and talked with my friend and my roomate while I sent off another email to “the boy.” and decided to write this post.
This was a much needed break from the hum drum formalities of life. I have been feeling pretty down these past few days, for a variety of reasons. The stress of problems that were all out of my control had be feeling overwhelmed and depressed. But tonight was a good night. I had a change to forget about the sorrows of life, my anxieties about my studies and my future overall and just live in the moment. I took a deep breath. I need more nights like this one.