This blog was originally designed to keep me sane as I began learning Arabic. It morphed into a blog of musings about Arabic, the Middle East, and the Islamic World, as well as book reviews about those topics. Then, the blog became a place to keep my family and friends updated on my adventures while I was living abroad. During May and June of 2012, I had a 6-week long internship in Cairo, Egypt through a international student organization called AIESEC. I taught English at the Awladi Orphanage in Cairo, home to several hundred children. I lived in an apartment in Nasr City before moving to Maadi (each is a distinct area of Cairo). I experienced President Mursi's election, camped in the western desert, rode camels by the pyramids, and had countless other experiences. I have since moved past this blog, on towards new endeavors, but if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! Enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pre-Departure

 Departing 5/14/2012 at 1:50 P.M.

Last minute details are coming together... I have an iPod full of new music, a suitcase full of long skirts, and a mind full of anticipation.

I hope to capture my memories on film and share my insights as best I can. However, I find that usually, I do not experience the full benefit of having traveled abroad until about six months after returning home. At that point, I find myself reflecting on small details that I picked-up subconsciously; like the way that solar panels are used on German homes, the way that Swedes encourage travelers to respect nature, and the way that Israelis conserve water. Obviously, my insights are biased, because, if we're being honest, every insight is (everyone is innately ethnocentric to some degree, but I try to have as open a mind as I possibly can). Among the things I wish to learn about in Egypt: Islamic finance, human rights, sustainable development in the desert setting, and government building. We'll see what I pick up on. :) If you're in my classes next semester (especially Wedig's Governance or my "Global Inequality and Social Change" class, I'm sure that I will have some comments relating to Egypt).

Anyways, enough rambling. It feels a little weird to know that I'll be posting a link to this for everyone in my life to read. Just so you sort of know what to expect for the next six weeks, here's what will be on this blog:

  • Lots and lots of stories/pictures/videos of little kids. Specifically, the orphans that I will be teaching at Awladi. Indulge me. I love kids, and I am sure that they will teach me more about life in Egypt, and life in general than I can imagine.
  • Many political commentaries. I will be in Cairo a week before the Egyptian elections, only the second presidential election with more than one candidate running in Egypt's history, and the first Egyptian election after the Arab Spring of 2011. I am not super familiar with each candidate at the moment, but I'm sure that I will be by the end of next week. I am quickly trying to catch myself up on Egyptian politics. Why should you care? Egypt has a huge influence on the rest of the Middle East as far as culture. This election will shape Egyptian direction and policy for years and years to come. This, in turn, will impact the broader Middle East, the rest of the world, and, ultimately, you (oil prices, anyone?).
  • There will be many mentions of my Illinois travel partner, Sherin. I met her in Arabic class, and she's awesome. Besides her, there will probably be lots of other people randomly mentioned. I plan to have a link at the top of the page to a list of people's names and who they are. I know that names are hard, especially when you look at the names Mahmoud and Muhammad and don't see much difference. 
  • I will be gone until June 29th, so you basically have 7 weeks to enjoy following my adventures to and from Egypt! 
P.S. I do get pretty good traffic on this blog, believe it or not, but not too many people leave comments. To whomever leaves the most comments, I promise to bring you back something awesome from Egypt! Be sure to add me to your favorites bar and check back often :)

3 comments:

  1. I want something awesome from Egypt! OK, actually, I'll just follow your adventures and live vicariously through you!
    I can't wait to hear every last word- I would have been reading since January, but didn't know you had a blog!
    Good luck and have a blast!!!

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    Replies
    1. Hahah thank you so much! I hope to have plenty of adventures to share!

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  2. Your mom sent this link...I look forward to reading about your summer journey. Enjoy!

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