I’ve officially been in Cairo for one week now.
How crazy. Eight days ago, I was home with my family and my pets in Massachusetts (and even that’s weird, because a little over three weeks ago I was home in California). I miss them more than eight days worth. It feels like a month since I’ve seen them, but it was only a few days ago. How will it be when I say I’ve been gone for a month? Six months? A year? Ah, but it is too hard to think about that now.
Today was a good day! It was the first time I ate a real meal. My appetite from being sick hasn’t really returned yet, so I’m not eating much. But this evening after we finished CELTA for the day, a few of the fellow trainees and I ate at Beano’s, the cafe inside the British Council. Just simple sandwiches and stuff, but hey, first real meal in days!
Before that, we had “unobserved teaching practice” in our class of refugees. Which meant myself and another teacher in training taught the students without Nick, our tutor, in the back. It went…alright. It is very hard to co-teach, and when you are just figuring out how to teach yourself, trying to work with someone else’s teaching style is twice as difficult. So it could have gone much better, but in the end, the students got the target language: the use of the phrase “So do I” when they’re in agreement with someone. Win!
After I had dinner at Beano’s, I got in a taxi and went to the Hardee’s (Carl’s Jr. for you California folks) in Mohandiseen, the next neighborhood over. There I met Hayde (pronounced Heidi), a Greek woman who is a part of an expat women’s group I joined on FB. She was wonderful; she’s lived in Cairo for almost two years now and speaks ammiyya (Egyptian colloquial Arabic) pretty well. She did what I am doing, essentially: picked up and moved here with nothing in place. She lives at a Greek school in Masr Gedida (New Cairo) on the other side of town. We walked around and eventually went to a cafe, where I got an apple shisha and some hibiscus juice.
A note on shisha: While college students everywhere take part in shisha, in Egypt, it is still largely for men. Most cafes (the “local” cafes) are for men too. Women just don’t go to them. Anyway, even though I will occasionally smoke hookah doesn’t mean I smoke as a habit – I can probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve smoked hookah.
We chatted, and the table next to us had a family of five: a father, a mother, a teenage girl and two younger girls, around 12 and 6. The younger ones started talking to us, and it turns out they go to a British international school in Athens! So they were able to chat with Hayde about Greece. Small world.
It was a good day, overall. Tomorrow, though Thursday, is Egypt’s Friday (weekends, once again, are Friday and Saturday). Who knows what’ll happen tomorrow?
(Hopefully me doing some laundry. Which will be an experience on its own.)