We've been in Cairo for 10 days and so much has happened that it feels like at least 100. For those who know me, you know the last 3 have been the hardest. We found out the pregnancy wasn't viable any longer so I have to have an operation yesterday. No one likes to have surgery, and surgery in a foriegn country is even scarier. Nurses who don't speak English wanting you to strip down in front of them (at least that's what I think they wanted), everything is stored in glass bottles and rubber tubing like it's 1953, and there are people smoking. In the damn hospital. In the damn maternity wing. Which, by the way, is where they put me, quite literally adding insult to injury. Now the good news, I feel ok and I can already tell that I am going to have more energy and feel more like myself in no time. The even better news? Ira and I leave for a resort on the Red Sea in 3 days!
So what else goes on here in this city BESIDES half assed medical care, you might be asking??? Here are my initial impressions in "blunt" format...
1. It's freaking hot. If you're on the east coast (as I know many of you are) you are well versed in the god-awful humidity that we experience there. That's oppressive and all, but feeling like the sun might just make your skin bubble up and fall off of your body is a whole different experience.
2. Our immediate area called Maadi, or more specifically "Maadi Digla" is a little like a cross between a posh suburb and a third world city. And it's a little confusing to get around...some of my favorite quotes about Maadi...from our upstairs neighbor the doctor "...and just because you've found road 15, it doesn't mean that road 16 is anywhere near it!" and in very sweet broken English from an AUC driver "...someone was I think drinking wine when they made the plan" Someone was drinking something! In spite of all of that, we have great places to eat, markets that will deliver our groceries, nice shops and even nicer owners, and there are a lot of trees.
3. We have found the best taxi driver in Egypt. His name is Mema, he speaks great English, and he is really funny. He calls everything "crazy". "Crazy driver!" "Crazy traffic!" "Crazy house!" and my favorite, when we were driving past a movie set "Crazy cinema!" Now he does point out the same tourist attractions to us every time, but that's ok. We love him!
4. This is actually an observation of a friend of ours...but I'm going to steal it because he really put in to words what I had been feeling. There's a lot of down time in Egypt. First of all, I wasn't on a good sleep schedule until about yesterday and I'm still waking up after only 5 or 6 hours of sleep. So that meant that for the first week or so I was sleeping and eating at weird times and the rest of the time kind of just hanging around. I thought I was just being lazy, but I think it's like that for a lot of ex-pats. It's either too hot to go out, or it's sabbath, I can't even imagine what Ramadan is going to be like! Now having said that...my husband is of course the exception to this rule. He will go out at the hottest part of the afternoon and stay out for hours and love very minute of it. But we all know that he's like the poster child for living in a foriegn country. But it's nice to be getting settled into our new place and making it feel like home.
5. Everything is truly inexpensive. Now, I have travelled quite a bit. Mostly in the U.S. but I 've been to Europe and Mexico, etc. You think you know what "cheap" is, right? It's those pants at the Gap that used to be $58 and they are now on sale for $19.99. That's cheap! Or paying $5 for 2 pints of blueberries at Giant. Cheap! Ira and I have been here for 10 days and I don't think we've spent more than $150 on food including meals out and all of our groceries (and including me accidentially over tipping the delivery guy). That's cheap.
6. Pardon the schmultz, but I have fallen deeper in love with Ira on this adventure. I adore that man with every bone in my body. He is caring, attentive, loving, the truest, most honest human being I know. He loves it here, and even though I'm still on the fence, he doesn't push me or try and make me see the city the way he does. He's giving me the space and time to figure it all out for myself. That's some love right there. That's why I (over)use the "best husband in the world" phrase. And I know that's why he's going to be the best dad in world too...
7. Everyone does their own thing here. It feels like everyone has a purpose, or at least they do things purposefully. I need to find my thing and I'll be right there along with them.