In the fell clutch of circumstance…

8 November, 2009

It’s been too long since our last update.  Here’s a brief rundown of what’s been going on lately. I’m making a conscious decision to start with the bad first, just so I can end this on a happy note:

The Bad: Someone broke into my locked apartment and stole my beloved laptop. They most likely did this by climbing a tree onto my neighbor’s balcony, hopping over a wall onto mine, and jimmying the lock open- thus avoiding the wall with the broken glass embedded into its top. The guilty parties must have been in a hurry, because none of my drawers (and even some petty cash) were untouched. I found my laptop charger lying on the ground just underneath my balcony, with one of the prongs on my converter broken off. It’s somewhat doubly ironic because I dropped it off to charge up a bit before heading out to dinner, and with the amount of time it could have charged, they’d be looking at no more than 60% of the battery’s capacity. My computer is also password protected, so essentially, these stupid crooks have a secured computer with a dead battery- or essentially, a very expensive paperweight. The cops have been informed, my Egyptian neighbors are extremely upset, and even better: there’s a sizable portion of the neighborhood out looking for both my computer- and the culprit. I don’t know what the chances are of me getting my laptop back is (admittedly, I think it’s low) but it’s nice to know I’ve got some people looking out for me.

Unfortunately, if I don’t get the computer back, that means I’ve lost about 2,000 photos that I’ve taken since the start of the trip, the final drafts of my personal statements for graduate school, and a lot of other things that will be a royal PITA to replace.  Putting it in perspective, no one was hurt, I didn’t lose my money, camera or passport, and obviously, it could have been much worse. However, this isn’t going to deter me from spending the next few sleepless nights rewriting my personal statement wishing great bodily harm and/or death upon the mugrim who jacked my stuff.

The not-so-great: Either Egypt is really sending me a strong message, or I came down with a wicked case of food poisoning last week.  Mish baheb de.

The good: things on the job front are looking up. We’ve got a few recruiters interested in us from all over the ME, so hopefully, we’ll be able to stick around and improve our Arabic. Ideally, we’d love to stay in the region until May or June, get teaching or development jobs, refine our Arabic to a 2/5 rating on the US government’s assessment scale (the minimum level for proficiency in a critical-needs language) and then make our triumphant return to a job market that will hopefully be more appreciative of our skills and degrees. Lofty ambitions? Yeah, but that’s how we roll!

The great: Egypt still continues to amaze. We’ve really enjoyed our experiences with the locals, and have made some good friends with a number of them. They range from the well-educated professionals who speak with the English accent taught to them by years of tutoring to kids who can barely speak a word of English, yet seem to have a never-ending supply of patience for our paltry Arabic.

Last weekend, we went on a tour of Alexandria and visited the Catacombs, the old Amphitheater, the National Museum of Alexandria and other sites. It seems like Egypt’s main historical attractions are from the Pharaoh’s days, but lately, I’ve developed the opinion that the country’s most interesting stories come from the pre-Islamic area up to the end of the Ottoman Empire and the final reign of King Farooq. The Pyramids and the mummies are of course incredibly interesting, but they’re nothing but a drop in the ocean that is Egypt’s story.  Once you scrape past the touristy nature of what’s commonly presented as Egypt, a whole new world opens up.

So, in short, it’s been a little bit of a rough week (for myself, at least.) But, as always, for anything that goes wrong, there’s always so much more to appreciate and look forward to. I’m loving the Arabic language training, and at the very least, we’re getting to experience one of the most interesting places in the world on a level that most casual tourists do not.

More updates to come, as I’m sure Set will chime in with her always-astute observations.

p.s. thanks to William Henley for the title. Invictus!


3 Responses to “In the fell clutch of circumstance…”

  1. Prianka said

    A friend of mine in Egypt told me that they bought a MAC keyboard from this shady bazzar for like $2. Just kidding! 🙂
    AAAAaannnddddd have you tried to control the pet population by having some of them spayed or neutered? 🙂 Thought I would pass on the famous and wise words of Bob Barker to the feline infested Egypt. Miss you guys!

    p.s. I am seriously considering TEFL in Kolkata, India!

  2. Prianka said

    Kenny, sooo… Uhhh so i came online to delete the comment I wrote before because I realized (with the help of Set) that the jokes are too soon! but i can’t delete or edit. sorry buddy :-/

  3. laura nisbet said

    I looked at the Invictus poem again, and see why it is a source of inspiration and comfort to you.

    You ARE the master of your fate and the captain of your soul…

    All of this cruddy stuff will pass…
    Love you!! Miss you too much to say…

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