Living Off the Nile

Welcome! Ahlan wa sahlan!

August 22nd, 2010 by asmetana · No Comments

Hello Everyone!

As I will be leaving for Egypt in just a few days now, I am tying up loose ends, savoring moments with friends and family, and busily packing. The hardest thing to pack is clothes. Since Egypt is 90% Muslim and a more conservative society than the U.S., I’ve been searching for clothes that would be appropriate. Shirts with the combined elements of high necklines, longer sleeves, and loose fabric are rare creatures in the U.S. Now whenever I see women in a restaurant, a store, or at the library, I’ll find myself mentally labeling their clothing.  Oftentimes the clothing is “Not Egypt Approved”. Yet, regardless of the way women dress in Egypt, they are still subject to sexual harassment (mainly verbal). Seeing and experiencing this will probably be one of the biggest shocks for me. However, AUC will teach me and the other students how to deal with it. Of course, this is only one aspect of Egyptian life. They are better known for their great hospitality, sense of honor, and lively sense of humor. Interacting with Egyptians, navigating the boundaries of gender, and relying on my limited Arabic will be  both exciting and frustrating.

On a more material note, I am also beginning to anticipate all the places that I will see. Most people immediately think “pyramids” when they hear “Egypt”, but there is so much more. There are Roman ruins, mosques, Coptic churches,  slender TV towers, dense apartment buildings, and bustling coffeehouses. With buildings spanning centuries and even millennia literally casting shadows on each other, what relationship does Egypt’s antiquity have with its modernity? Perhaps I’ll find out once I get there.

Ma’a salama!

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