No, this isn't a delightful moment with Buttermilk and her friends ... its me that has gone viral. Or I'm finally facing the digestive adjustments necessary to get used to Egyptian food. Either way, I feel like crap
I've known for a while that the candle was being burnt at both ends. Between:
- Getting my major apartment issues dealt with (and losing 4 hours a night doing so)
- Getting some of the b-level apartment items purchased
- The typical day to day stress of a new teacher compounded by
- The typical day to day stress of teaching courses with which I'm not familiar
- My questionably-nutritious asap meal choices
My body finally screamed enough. One nice thing about being a teacher - I'm typically healthy for 3 - 80 minute blocks per day. The moment I'm in front of my students, my focus shifts to them and my health issues tend to vanish.
So unfortunately, there aren't too many exciting updates for this week. As I've been sleeping a ton (multiple 3 hour naps per day are commonplace), I've just a couple point form items of interest to share:
- Egyptians don't really have last names. Their names consist of a first name and a string of patronyms. Given that names such as Ahmed and Youssef tend to be popular, most of them end up with nicknames that may or may not have any discernible connection to their legal name. One of my students chose Bonty as he liked Bounty chocolate bars ... and the name stuck.
- Egyptian traffic never ceases to amaze me. One day last week, we encountered some significant traffic issues on the highway. Cars would turn around and drive the other way on our side of the highway. Some cars drove over the 4"-6" high concrete divider / sidewalk to turn around. And at least one elected to drive down the middle of that concrete divider (with about 2" to spare on either side of his tires).
- Egyptians really are thrilled when westerners pick up a bit of their language. When I said hi to someone washing a car as I walked during the morning to our bus pick-up, he replied "good morning" in Arabic. When I replied "good morning to you. how's it going" he broke out into a huge smile.
- Egyptian handshakes tend to be critical. When you meet someone or complete a purchase, you give handshake #1 - the typical business handshake. Once they get to know you better - the handshake is preceded by an emphatic slap (think horizontal high-5).
- It's tough to justify washing shirts when the laundry price is 5 LE ($.83) each. As soon as I fully develop my Egyptian sensibilities, I'll be calling to get my laundry picked up.
- Otlob.com is a fantastic organization when you're feeling under the weather. Log on to their website, choose a restaurant, choose your dinner of choice and for $1 it will be delivered to your house within an hour.
- I can call my pharmacist next door and describe my symptoms. They will have the prescription medication delivered to my door. If the general stomach antibiotic that I purchased doesn't do the trick (I am feeling slightly better), I may pursue that option.
Finally, for those of you who might be concerned about the current protests surrounding a poorly made US film ... please don't worry. The majority of the protests are occurring the US embassy at Tahrir Square - 9 subway stops away. Also, Egyptians desperately want to see the return of Western tourism $s so the people are surprisingly protective of us. Even though the protests are becoming slightly decentralized at the government's request, I've yet to see any protests at mosques this far south. As with many events, the papers are misrepresenting the amount of violence in Egypt (check the location of the photo - it is likely from a protest in another country) as the reality is not sensational enough for mainstream media. This is not to say that I don't keep my wits about me ... but there is nothing to worry about. I've become known by many of the doormen and storekeepers in my area ... so I always have people that can vouch for me. Plus, I do know the important phrases (I'm from Canada, I'm a teacher) so were I to get into an uncomfortable situation, I always have someone to turn to in my neightbourhood.