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 :)