The Honeymoon… Continues!

28 September, 2009

Set exaggerates. The cockroach wasn’t that big. You’d think after a summer in NOLA and two years in NYC she would be used to- actually, no, roaches are something one should never have to get used to.

We are done with our second day of courses here. The lessons are fairly interesting: by far, the most difficult/engaging lessons are the ones on grammar and phonology. As a native speaker of English, I never appreciated how complex the language is until I started to learn how to teach it to others.

The teaching practice feels a bit mundane and elementary, though. Perhaps it’s because Ive worked with kids for most of my working life. Whatever the case, Im looking forward to our actual teaching practice in two weeks.

Egypt, however, continues to fascinate at every turn. I’m glad to be staying in El Agami as opposed to some expat neighborhood in Cairo or Alexandria, as it feels like we are getting a much more authentic experience. Barely anyone speaks English here (save for the friendly old couple who run the produce stand by our place, thankfully) so we are more compelled to speak Arabic (poorly.) People are genuinely friendly and don’t seem to begrudge us for being foreigners.

One thing that has struck me is how varied the styles of dress are. Most of the men our age wear Western-style t-shirts or collared shirts, whereas the older men wear full length tunics. The women’s dress is even more diverse- some women wear a simple black or white veil that covers their hair, while others opt to wear ornately patterned coverings that are color coordinated to match their outfits. Some women wear long, black gowns that cover them from head to toe, and more than a few wear gloves and full veils that obscure all but their eyes. I would say at least 98% of the women wear a covering of some kind, but the few that don’t appear to not be harassed.

Sitting in a cafe, I can look around and see multigenerational families representing all of these styles.

Note: right now there’s a soccer game going on. The locals are honking their horns, cheering and lighting off fireworks in the street. Let no one say that Egyptians don’t know how to party.

Postscript: a few hours after I wrote this, Mustafa (our little neighbor who speaks English better than I do) informed me that Egypt lost in the last minute of the game.

I’ve taken a lot of photos that Ill be uploading as soon as I get a chance!


One Response to “The Honeymoon… Continues!”

  1. […] October, 2009 In an earlier message, I spent some time talking about the varying styles of dress I observed in Egypt, paying particular attention to the varying vays in vich vomen vere veiled […]

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