Thursday, May 7, 2009

Since my last post of a quarter day ago, I've gone to my (rather helpful) advising appointment.  Ray explained that he doesn't suggest trying to do my thesis and two courses all at once next semester, but I think I'm going to try and get as much of my research done as possible this summer.  I'm really not inclined to spend Spring 2010 at AUC, but we'll see.  In any event, I'm not the least bit worried either way and am reenergized about my thesis and how dynamic and engaging the process of research and thesis-writing promises to be.
Following my meeting, I made a pit stop at home, chatted with the ever-changing group of people in my living room, and walked to Doqqi.  In between the two bridges, that is to say past the Mohammad Mokhtar museum, I was approached by a grinning Egyptian who I guessed was around my age.  I'd made it that far without any remarks or hindrances thanks to my power-walking and iPod-listening, but the chap was insistant, so I took one earbud out and greeted him tersely.  Over the next ten minutes, however, I realized he wasn't trying to show me his cousin's shop or sell me hash or take me on a tour.  He turned out to be from the countryside, but commutes in to take classes at Cairo University.  He was walking there from downtown as I was heading to get my haircut.  We chatted and inevitably America (I was picked out as American for a change, usually I'm mistaken for a German or an Englishman), George W. Bush, and Palestine came up.  I elaborated my views briefly, apparently to his satisfaction.  He then told me about his American friends and all the English they'd taught him, producing a notebook filled with obscenities and other "useful" phrases to enrich his academic English.  He inquired what the phrases "freak me out" meant, as he'd seen it somewhere and written it down so that he could later look it up.  I wanted to use it in context when he asked if I had Skype, but recognized that it's common for Egyptians to be so gregarious and socially straightforward.  I gave him my Facebook info instead.  Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to meet for coffee and pick up a little more Arabic.
  My haircut was great, as last time.  Getting all the massaging and shampooing and conditioning and cutting and styling for the equivalent of just over twenty bucks with tip included is fantastic.  I had a different hair-cutter this time, but he was just as good and also French.  I left feeling lighter both for having spent an hour relaxing and because he took a whole lot of hair off.  After a funny little discourse with the Ethiopian receptionist, I took off for the supermarket I raved about after going there last time.  More of my meagre funds spent on food.  Ma3lesh!
  I walked all the way back home, glad that my taxi-eschewing, in my mind at least, makes up for not exercising much.  I've just finished dinner and am going to a house party that's raising funds for an AUC organization offers a variety of courses to refugees.  Somewhere in there I hope to get some time for myself and to make a dent in my papers and projects!


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