So, it turns out life happened and I haven’t updated in months. The past few months involved finding the man of my dreams, finishing Arabic, and moving to Cairo. And I’m happy to report that I have survived so far. There have been a few hurdles and a few surprises, but I’m just trying to go with the flow.
I’ve officially been in Cairo for a week now. My first impressions and expectations were vastly different. Many people painted a very bleak picture of Cairo for me. I am more than happy to report that Cairo is nothing like my expectations. The streets are clean, the people are friendly, the traffic is manageable (except for a few nights ago), and as a single woman I’ve been mostly left alone. The food has been a real treat. I’ve tried something new every night. My neighborhood is quiet, lined with trees, and I often feel like I’m living in Lawrence of Arabia or Casablanca times. Last night I went with a few coworkers and other random folks on a felucca. Feluccas are small sailboats that cruise the Nile. For 100 pounds, you can sail the Nile in style for less than the price of a cocktail in DC. It was glorious to say the least. But the best part was the array of conversations aboard our vessel.
One colleague is also well versed in Faust. One person knows a friend of me and Mike. Another person is also a huge fan of South African pinotage wine. And the best coincidence of them all? Someone served in Peace Corps Ghana in the town right next to me, just 2 years before me. Everyone has been incredibly welcoming and friendly. It is a real treat to walk into a new country, a new house, a new work environment and instantly feel at home.
I know that consular work will be draining, exhausting, and emotionally difficult. But I also know that it will be completely worth it. Every single person that comes before you wants to travel, work, or live in the United States. They all want what I was born into. It seems rather high and mighty to look at consular from the 30,000ft level, but it makes the experience much more humbling for me. I can’t go a week without a good ole slice of humble pie, otherwise I’m just dead inside. Also, pie is tasty.
In other news, I moved into my permanent (for two years) place. It is gigantic in comparison to every other place I’ve ever had. The largest place I’ve ever had was in Wenchi and that was two rooms. Now I have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two storage rooms, two closets, a giant kitchen, a dining room with more table space than my silverware can accommodate, and a lovely living room. The space is insane. At first I thought it felt a little cramped, but then I rearranged and now it feels much bigger. My only complaint is the paint smell. It was so strong last night/this morning that I had ginger ale and crackers for breakfast; it was the only thing I felt safe eating. But, I felt incredibly lucky that I only had to run over to the PX to buy American crackers and ginger ale with my credit card.
Cairo (and the Embassy community) truly has it all. I miss my other half every second of every day. I wish more than anything he could be here with me so we could experience this great place together. Alas, life has different plans. For now. With my first week of work under my belt, I’m ready to see where this great adventure takes me!