Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mafeesh mafia fi Chicago!

I spent the day finishing my book review and then beginning some preliminary research on my various paper topics to make sure they are feasible to write about before contacting professors to write recommendations for me to participate in the Arabic program I'm hoping to do next summer. I had a wonderful evening when I finally got out of the apartment and joined friends Erin, Amanda, and Phil for pizza at Maison Thomas after we discovered that Erin's favorite Thai restaurant was still closed. A man suspiciously sitting alone in the darkened restaurant told us it would reopen tomorrow though, so we'll try and go Tuesday, hoping for the best. Erin and I split delicious four cheese pizza (literally split into four separate sections including bleu cheese, goat cheese, gouda, and something more standard) and a lemon tart pile high with meringue while Phil got the Hawaii which had pineapple and ham, which is hard to find in a Muslim country where it's against the religion to consume meat from pigs. Amanda rounded out our rather American spread by ordering a burger. We talked about movies, schoolwork, and, as always, politics. Erin's going to write one of her three papers on the effects of forced migration on marriage selection. She said it was really interesting to see people in camps from particular ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds taking spouses from entirely different backgrounds and she wants to explore the reasons for it.
After dinner, once I'd returned to my building, I ran into the guy who's in charge of the contact lens shop on the ground floor my building and, on a whim, went to greet him in Arabic. He invited me in and I met his two co-workers who shared some of their delicious dessert with me. I struggled to make conversation with my handful of Arabic words, but it was fun. Once I'd told one of them my name, he asked if I was from Washington. "Laa," I said, "Chicago. Enta eiref?" (No, Chicago. Do you know it?) He did and began making shooting gestures and said "mafia! mafia!" I laughed and then said "um, laa. Ana min medina soghayara, mish Chicago. Wa mafeesh mafia fi Chicago." which (hopefully) means "um, no. I'm from a small city, not Chicago. And, there's not mafia in Chicago." That was as close as I could come to explaining that organized crime had changed iterations a few times since Al Capone's days.
Heading back upstairs, I went over to return a book to my neighbors, and spent the next hour or two chatting with the lovely French girl who lives across the hall. We talked about the educational systems in France, the States, and Egypt and about our experiences here and our mutual disdain for our landlord. We also made tentative plans to visit an oasis, which would be a nice escape from Cairo.
This week is likely to involve research, Thai food, and fun. The rest is up to fate.

More on Egyptian billionaire tied to the murder of Lebanese singer
Egypt applauds establishment of diplomatic ties between Lebanon and Syria
Egypt to assist Sudan in eradicating malaria

No comments: