Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Two Battles

Yesterday was quite a productive (and successful) day in a number of ways. I started off by heading to the main downtown campus to complete the process for obtaining my student visa. Leaving my passport with foreign nationals has never felt like such a relief. Ha! My next stop was the campus bookstore, where I picked up some cards and postcards in order to send correspondence to people I've neglected. After this, I hopped over to the Greek campus where a letter from my grandma was waiting for me. Getting mail is always nice, especially when it arrives in one piece and unopened; my mom is sending me a package and I'm not holding my breath for its final integrity upon arrival. Back at home, I polished up my midterm and began a reflection paper before classtime rolled around.
After three hours of nervous fidgeting in class, wondering how the election was going, my classmates Phil, Erin, Brandy, Mary-Anne, and I headed to Zamalek, first for Cairo's best pizza at Maison Thomas, then to a professor's apartment to watch the battle for the presidency unfold. Meanwhile, back in my apartment building, something equally dramatic was taking place. The attempted eviction of my Danish neighbor, which had raised the hackles of her American flatmate, Catherine, turned into a full-blown and mildly violent event involving lawyers and police. In fact, after some physical altercations, the inhabitants of apartment 8, my landlord, and the rest of those present ended up at the nearest police station. My histrionic landlord apparently was shrieking wild threats at the girls across the hall, reminding them that his uncle who lives upstairs worked for the Interior Ministry (think intelligence, national security, immigration), that he was an auspicious doctor and Catherine just a lowly novice lawyer who, because she was American, did not have the advantage legally. His upperhand proved non-existant as Catherine managed to get a restraining order on him, a promise he would return her deposit, and final month in the apartment before she has to move out. Craziness.
Compared to this, the other battle going on between Senators Obama and McCain seemed far more tame. I was glad to have been in Zamalek watching CNN International with other Obama-supporters (as I've said, McCain supporters are few and far between here), a Palestianian-Australian, a Brit, an Iraqi refugee (who, incidentally is a McCain fan), aFrenchmen, etc. I returned home around 4:30 AM, staying up a while longer in hopes of seeing the results. I caved, however, and went to bed, waking up to find out that the candidate I supported was now the president-elect. Realizing the implications of this for our foreign policy (a main issue in my decision to vote for Obama) and a whole slew of other arenas was so invigorating. I did not feel the same way four years ago when I helped re-elect our current president.
Well, I could babble on a lot about all of this, but I'm meeting an old friend that I knew from Dunlap High School who happens to be in Cairo and I've just spent too much time watching the Obama victory speech and the McCain concession speech. McCain was exceptionally gracious, even if some of his supporters were not.

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