Ay el-helwa di?! Habibis, Azizis, besos y abrazos de Masr! Just wanted to share a couple happy days with you...
This past Thursday night, a week after the actual date... drumroll... I celebrated Turkey Day in Egypt. Can cross that off my list! One of the best holidays ever, with some of the yummiest food, and some of the ishta-ist people. Many of us spent the day running around Alex searching for ingredients, carrying pots and pans from one apartment to another and battling with shitty Egyptian stoves. The day's toils culminated in a successful feast, AlHamduLillah! Almost impossibly, we ate turkey, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet and mashed potatoes, corn bread, pumpkin and apple pie!! The group before gorging:
After the yumminess, some girlfriends and I decided, since it was officially Christmas month, it was now appropriate to cuddle up on two beds pushed together and watch Love Actually. We "aawweed" a lot and squealed.
Funny thing: Friday morning, I was elatedly listening to Christmas music (de Puerto Rico, claro), when the call to prayer ricocheted through my open window, drowning out José González. I chuckled out loud at the slight clash of civilizations.
I met up with Lizz & Eric midday at the dorms, and we headed out on our touristy adventure. Our first stop was the cemetery of a Coptic church, a stone maze of Celtic-like crosses draped with Arabic calligraphy and flowers of mourning. We wondered through the tombs, trying to decipher inscriptions, appreciating the non-Muslim side of Alex we had come across. Islam is so prevalent in daily life here, that I sometimes forget there can be anything else like the saints prevalent in Coptic foundations. We were graciously welcomed into the exquisite church's sanctuary, where we admired the Coptic-style icons infused with more European style artwork. Truly beautiful:
We then trammed westwards to explore the only Roman amphitheater in Egypt, as well as the baths and other excavations surrounding it. We ran into our dear friend Doctor Matta, who accompanied us on this goofy historical tour. Excavations are still being done on this site, which looks like a pile of rubble at the moment, but apparently underneath it are Muslim tombs, and some houses and schools. There wasn't a ton to see, but we made the most of our exploration, entering every nook and posing with sphinxes dredged from the Alexandrian harbor (there are possible plans to make an underwater museum of all the ruins there!) Check out more recent photos to narrate, but here's ya girl:
I topped off my day by watching some awesome American & Egyptian boys play soccer. Lying in bed later that night, I was overwhelmed by pure euphoria. My base line here has always been happiness, so tangible and honest, and then it comes welling out of me after extraordinary days. I love my life here. Today, I used that energy to write 3 short essays for an application to a government-funded language program called CLS. I will come back here next summer, in whatever capacity.
Despite my infatuation with this place, I still get thrilling jitters every time I think of going home. I am looking forward to the simple pleasures: lazing around with la familia, fires in Goshen, bundling up and walking downtown Northampton, vegetables. You all better be missing me lots!