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Study Abroad Archives - Away She Goes
Mata los Indios

Mata los Indios

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Zebelline

The Zebelline of Cairo is the trash city.  We drove through it the other day, on the way to the most beautiful, amazing church I have ever seen.  I had never heard about the Zebelline before coming here and it’s not on wikipedia, so I’m willing to bet some of you haven’t either.  All the trash of the city is brought there, and the people who live in this largely Coptic Christian neighborhood sort everything.  They then recycle it for money.  Apparently the place has a mob structure.  Those at the top are making millions of pounds, and those at the bottom literally live in filth. If I ever thought Cairo was dirty, I had no clue what was coming.  We saw the zebelline on what was considered an exceptionally clean day.  The smell is pervasive, and was even worse a week or two ago when all the pigs were slaughtered.  If you haven’t heard, Egypt is wicked scared of swine flue.  They took all our temps on our way in (and redid mine several times, looking just freaked out enough to make me think they were gonna throw me in quarantine) and I’ve heard some people may have been x-rayed, but I haven’t been able to validate that claim yet. When swine flu first came into the public discussion, President Mubarak decided to slaughter all 300,000 pigs in Egypt, just in case.  There have been no cases of swine flu in Egypt, and no scares.  Muslims do not eat pork, so it is the Coptic Christian population that raises pigs, with tourists and Copts consuming them.  The pigs...

Back to school, back to school

…to prove to daddy that i’m not a fooooooool. Sorry, I can’t help it, we were talking about Billy Madison today and it just seemed so fitting. Today was the first day of classes and I had a ball. We are in three separate classes, and mine is the largest with eleven people.  Our ustadtha (oostatha, teacher) is a woman named Khowla (like cowla, but with a gutteral, phlegmy khhhh going on) who is really sweet.  She is pretty much letting us set the pace for the class, and she plans a lot of activities to break it up and keep us always speaking.  We have class monday-thursday for four hours a day, 9-11, with a fifteen minute break partway through.  We take class in the dorms of AUC, just down the street and around the corner from the Flamenco, our hotel.  Khowla gave us an impromptu lesson on how to effectively ride a cab in Cairo (read: not get ripped off) and I can’t wait to practice. Class is a little difficult for a few reasons.  First, I’ve only been taught traditional, which is the Arabic of the Quran.  Every country has its own colloquial, and the idea is that if you know traditional you will be understood everywhere.  But really, think about how silly you would sound speaking in the language of the Bible.  Now picture a child speaking in the language of the Bible.  That’s approximately how dumb I sound on a daily basis.  The second difficulty is that at NU the focus was on reading and writing, not vocab.  I didn’t even know how to...

Walking Like an Egyptian

Ahlan wa Sahlan!  A warm Egyptian welcome to you! Yes, I am that lame(see title).  But so is my camel-riding tourguide, who told us that if we ride all the way to Libya via camel, we will in fact walk like egyptians.   After a day of trekking through the Sahara, I believe him.  My legs are still aching!   Ahh, I kinda can’t believe I’m here!  So we had a crazy flight/journey.  On the way into Frankfurt, we had a couple times where we free fell four 2-3 seconds.  Scariest thing ever.  So needless to say, the entire group of us got pretty close on the flight.  No dying confessions or anything, but we were all seated in groups of 3-6 people from the trip, so it was a good bonding experience.  The layover in Frankfurt was bizarre, since for us it was partytime on Thursday night, and for them it was wicked early on a friday morning.  Weird.   So we rode camels through the Sahara, went to the Papyrus Museum, have eaten all kinds of crazy things, and FINALLY found tubes.  We always travel in a pack, which is good for safety and the whole bonding experience, but it’s weird to be 20 and not allowed to wander off alone like I normally do.  Start breathing again mom, I’m not going to, it’s just something to get used to.   Class starts on Monday and I can’t wait!  My ustadtha (teacher)  is really nice, and the class only has 11 people in it.  There’s one for people with no Arabic, another for those with some (me),...

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