Wednesday, December 22, 2010

first last day in cairo

So, in less than an hour, I'll be on my way to the airport to fly home for winter break. That means in less than 24 hours (I think) I'll be at home. That is a good thing.
Today didn't really consist of much outside of packing and worrying about packing, but I did get to hang out with friends, so that was a good thing.
I figured out how to store my extra luggage (which can be done easily by finding an English speaking housekeeper and saying 'store' or pointing at a suitcase), and I hope that everything will still be intact when I get back to Egypt.
In order to finish out our semester on a traditional Egyptian note, we ordered out for dinner and had Chinese. Mmm.
I'm really not looking forward to navigating the airport and figuring everything out, but I know it will be okay. At least I'll have a bunch of AUC friends with me and we can help each other figure it all out. I don't know who I'll be sharing a cab with to the airport yet, but if I end up going by myself that will be okay too, it won't be the first time.
So, as of posting this, my first semester in Egypt is over, and I'm on my way home, laden with gifts and things that turned out to be useless. I don't know if I'll keep up with blogging while I'm home, it will probably depend on if I do anything interesting at all. I definitely would have blogged if the original vacation plan had gone through, but as it is, I just don't know. I'm not used to blogging in America.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the reverse bel-air*

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside-down. And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there, and I'll tell you how my entire winter vacation trip to Europe was cancelled and now I'm going home for a month instead.
So yeah. The weather in London cancelled my family's flight, and they can't reschedule until it's too late to have a real vacation together. Instead, I'm flying home tomorrow night. I'll be home by the morning of the 23rd.
Today was spent in a kind of frenzy of Skype calls and flight booking and packing. I'm really really tired, which of course is why I plan to go out with my friends tonight for a last hurrah which may or may not include a belly dancing club.
That's really all I have to say today, except that I guess it's nice that my flight home is the same as most of my friends', so I have an extra ten hours or so before I have to say goodbye.
The only other thing is, go watch this, please. Shawn Ahmed and the Uncultured Project decreasing worldsuck in Bangladesh:


Monday, December 20, 2010

laundry day

Today was actually meant to be "get up and leave the dorms and go shopping day" but it didn't quite work out like that.
I put my first load of laundry into the washer around 11 am. Then I watched tv and didn't do anything for a while, until I switched it into a dryer and put the second load in, then ordered lunch. By the time lunch arrived, it was almost time to switch laundry out again, but I ran into a friend downstairs, and talking to friends is always more interesting than laundry.
And that was pretty much my whole day. I sat in the courtyard with a bunch of friends coming and going, talking for a really long time, and it was really really great. I don't like thinking about me leaving and everyone else leaving Cairo, and then me coming back, and most everyone else not coming back. I know I'll make new friends, but gosh darn it, I like these friends.
During one short trip upstairs to take my last load of laundry out of the dryer, I found that the third floor dryer, which I have avoided since my first week here, still really sucks. So, I had to lug a bag of wet clothes to another floor to find an open dryer. The sixth floor was taken, so I went down to the fifth. I was halfway through the door, when I heard a shout behind me. "Cloze double-you see. Man cloze double-you see!"
I turned around to see an angry waving security lady behind me. At first I thought she meant "clothes" and I was thinking, "Yes, I have my clothes," but then I realized she meant "close." So I reached out to close the door, and protect all the innocent fifth floor girls from the scary scary man in the w.c., but she intercepted me, and pretty much forced me back to the stairwell door, wet clothes bag in hand. Then I ran away. (The fifth floor dryer, by the way, was open and empty. It would have taken about thirty seconds to put my clothes in, turn it on, and leave. But no.)
Luckily, the fourth floor dryer was free as well. If it hadn't been, I would have been a good deal more pissed off than I already was.
Speaking of man on the floor, I had another crazy experience this morning. I had just headed out with my first load of laundry, when a cleaning lady looked at me up and down, and said gently "man on the floor." And I immediately turned around, went back to my room, and changed out of my shorts and tank top into something more appropriate. I didn't even think about trying to get past her, or about why I was suddenly wearing a cardigan that covered my arms to the wrists, a higher cut shirt, and a long skirt. When I walked back out and past the same cleaning lady, she nodded approvingly. What has Egypt done to me?
So, it was a frustrating laundry day, but a good hang out with friends day. It ended on a kind of sad note, though, because the first of my really good friends in Cairo is leaving tonight, and we all had to say goodbye to him. And I have nothing more to say on the subject.
Also, I'm just going to leave this here. You're welcome.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

gun museums and *blank* stores

Okay, this is going to be a long post, because I actually went somewhere and did something today. Surprise!
Three friends and I headed downtown with the intention of visiting a few places that we hadn't been yet. Our cab ride from Zamalek was pretty interesting, because as our cab driver informed us, President Mubarak himself was downtown today. Doing what, we don't know, but the streets were covered with soldiers wearing uniforms with shiny shiny buttons and belt buckles, looking bored and not very protective, but threatening nonetheless. So that slowed down our drive a bit, but it was still really interesting to see.
The first place we walked to was the Abdeen Palace Museum. Basically it's a presidential residence, part of which is now a museum for awesome things that Egypt owns. The best part of this was the knife and gun collection, which was massively ridiculous. Ridiculous in that it included things like a pistol with four barrels and guns disguised as swords disguised as walking sticks and a jewelry box with doors that swing open to reveal guns in case of thieves. I simply cannot describe the amazing ridiculousity of this museum, so I'm not even going to try any more. I wish I could show you pictures, but no cameras were allowed inside.
Other rooms in the museum were filled with shiny things given to President Mubarak including a solid gold palm tree and a fighter jet pilot's helmet. On our walk through the museum grounds, we saw some Daleks, which was surprisingly freaky. Again, no pictures, but I swear. Daleks. (A gift from Davros and Skaro to President Mubarak, I presumed.)
After we left the museum, we headed by cab to a supposedly pretty garden, which turned out to be not very pretty at all, so we decided to skip it and get lunch. We went to Gad, a big Egyptian fast food place, where the food was cheap and good, but definitely not fast. Then we tried to visit a synagogue, but it was closed and the guards kind of laughed at us.
Then it was time to head to Khan el-Khalili to get some Christmas shopping done. First we went to a *blank* workshop, where we learned how to tell real *blanks* from fake *blanks*. I bought a *blank*.
Then we wandered for a long time, getting hassled and trying to make good bargains with not much success. It was fun, even though my feet hurt. (They didn't hurt as much as my friend's who had just climbed Mt. Sinai, though, so I'm grateful for that!)
After we had bought everything in the market proper that we wanted, we went to another *different blank* shop. The store owner was very nice and gave us good prices for two *blanks*. They were awesome.
It was about dinner time, so we walked a ways to find a famous sausage restaurant we'd heard about. It was called Zizzo, and the food was delicious and the service was great. For dessert we had some bread and cream and honey thing that was amazingly good. The best part of the night was learning that the gentleman we'd been sitting near was Mr. Zizzo himself. He was very nice and we complimented his food extensively. He liked that we were Americans, because I don't think he gets many foreign customers at his restaurant since it's a bit out of the way.
We took a cab back to Zamalek after getting some after-dinner juice, and went our separate ways. It was a really really fun and productive day, but I'm completely tired out, and my lungs kinda hurt from breathing in downtown air all day. It's totally worth it though: I bought some really neat *blanks*.
p.s. And I was also stampeded by cats in Khan el-Khalili. True story.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I spent most of today doing the Project for Awesome again, and it was really really fun. Now my commenting fingers hurt, of course, but I think I'm actually a better typist now than I was two days ago. Go figure.
When I wasn't p4a-ing, I went to Coffee Bean and had chai and read Harry Potter, which was really nice. I also hung out with friends for a while and made plans to explore some museums around Tahrir Square tomorrow, which should be really fun. I'm also going to Khan el-Khalili tomorrow to do my Christmas shopping. [Note to self: do not reveal on blog what you purchase at the market tomorrow. It's supposed to be a surprise.]
Tonight I also went out with friends to hang out and drink tea on the roof of a building somewhere across Zamalek. It had a really pretty river view, and it wasn't too cold to enjoy being outside. We talked about all sorts of things, and I had a really great time. I'm really going to miss all the new friends I've made this semester when they all leave Cairo to go back home.

Friday, December 17, 2010

project for awesome

So, I'm officially done with AUC until next semester. It was a little anticlimactic, but it still feels awesome to know that I don't have any two hour long bus rides lurking in my near future.
But AUC isn't what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about the Project for Awesome. It's an annual YouTube event that brings together video creators and viewers to trick YouTube's algorithms into featuring videos about charities instead of videos about kittens on roombas. (Although who doesn't love kittens on roombas?)
Basically, participants in the P4A (which is you, if you want) like, favorite, and comment on as many P4A videos as many times as they can, in an effort to raise awareness of many different charities. Hank explains it all here or you can click here to go to the P4A website, where you can donate money by purchasing raffle tickets to win cool things, or you can just watch some of the videos I'll put below and donate to any charity that you feel a connection to. Please do what you can, this is really an amazing event, and we've already raised $15,000 for charity through the P4A website in the five hours since the project started. It goes on for another nineteen, and I know we'll accomplish so much more.
I didn't get to make a Project for Awesome video myself this year, thanks to finals week, but here are some of my favorites:

I know that's a lot of videos. Sorry. I can promise you, they are all worth your time. (And your money, don't forget! If you can spare even just $5 to one of these charities, you'll help make a difference.)
p.s. I've been commenting so much on videos tonight that YouTube has become convinced I am a robot, and has been making me prove my humanity after every comment by typing a captcha. Some are hilarious, some are completely unintelligible. Bonus points to anyone who leaves a comment giving me a definition for their favorite captcha (or even just deciphering one)!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Almost almost almost done. Right now, I have one final, one presentation, and one essay left to turn in. Then, if the University of California were sensible, I could go home, and be done with Egypt. Unfortunately, they're not sensible, and I'll be back at AUC next semester, much better prepared to deal with everything that I'm sure it will throw at me.
But before that, I have to take a test. I have to give a presentation. I have to turn in an essay. Tomorrow.
And then I'm done. Then it's winter break, and I get time off to read and hang out with my friends before everyone flies home. Then I get to fly away to London, and see my family for the first time since August. Then then then. Almost.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

study study

Too much to do. Lots of work. Really sleepy.
Got a B+ on my Egyptian Lit paper. Yay.
Can now tell Senusert III and Amenemhat III apart.
Arabic final tomorrow will be scary bad.
Longest bus ride home yet: 2 hours, 10 minutes.
Got delicious cupcakes, finally. Pumpkin and carrot.
Anthro presentation postponed due to kindness of classmate.
Much ado about everything today. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

hit the books

Lots of studying today. Maybe not enough to make me feel amazingly confident about my finals, but definitely enough to make my eyeballs hurt.
I also read Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett, today. It was a good play, but I think it didn't come across very well just through reading. The two main characters are too much alike for me to be able to tell them apart just from their words, I needed to see their actions to really understand. Also, the entire play is ridiculous. But I liked it.
I spent a lot of time reading through my Art and Architecture notes, then downloading and going through the slide shows from after the last quiz until this week. I'm pretty sure it will turn out fine, but it's a bit frustrating when slides still say "look up which Amenemhat" or are unlabeled or completely blank. Except for the white pyramid slide. That's forgivable.
Tomorrow I've got my Egyptian Lit final, and I'll get my term paper back, sadly. I don't really want it back, just like I don't really want to take this test. We're allowed to use the textbook, but since I have a different textbook than the professor, I'm not sure how useful it will be. At least that's my only final of the day, so hopefully I can finish it early and get a start on my anthropology presentation/essay, which I have to present on Thursday. Maybe I left that one a little late. We'll see how it goes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

cold again

Boring, kind of depressing day today. Finals week is usually like this back in SB, but not as bad, because home is a lot closer, and I actually get to go there. Not that London Christmas with the family is in any way regrettable. It's just not home.
In Art and Architecture today, we played a review game, which wasn't as fun as it might have been. I don't learn well in situations where guessing or getting an answer wrong is semi-punished with ridicule. And that's pretty much what I have to say about that. (Aside from the fact that our team name was the Meidum Geese, symbolized by a hieroglyphic goose, which was awesome.)
three of the meidum geese
After that was boring anthropology, where I got back my first paper, finally, which I did well on, but not as well as I think I should have, given his general grading standards. It almost seemed like he needed to take gratuitous points off, and chose me, because he didn't really mark anything wrong with it. Not that I really care, I'm just ready to be done with that class forever.
Arabic was confusing today, mostly because I didn't really focus, which seemed to be a problem with the entire class. I think the end of the semester is getting to all of us.
Tonight was fun though, because I went out with friends to hang out and talk and eat free popcorn, a privilege earned through the purchase of one Stella. The popcorn was delicious, the Stella not so much. This is Egypt.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Today I met up with a friend for coffee in the morning, and more friends for museum/downtown adventures in the afternoon. It was a pretty satisfactory day, except for one thing: the smog.
I don't think I can honestly say that today was the worst I'd ever seen the smog in Cairo, but it was up there. Also, I'm not usually walking around outside in really smoggy areas like I did today. Honestly, my lungs hurt by the time we got back to the dorms, and my contacts were foggy.
I had to go to the Egyptian Museum today to complete my sketch for my Art and Architecture essay, which was hard. I am not an artist. I did meet a little boy who liked to draw, though, and who wanted to see my picture. I showed it to him, but I was embarrassed. He wasn't bothering me, not really, but his dad apparently thought he was, and took him away. Maybe I should have asked him to draw the statue for me...
After I was finished sketching, we wandered the museum for a bit, but the lack of explanations for anything was more frustrating than usual, so we detoured to Tutankhamum and then left.
The three of us wandered downtown for a few hours, getting lost and finding our way repeatedly. Unfortunately, we didn't find any of the kind of shops we were looking for, but I think we still had a good time. My favorite parts of the afternoon both involved food. We found a bakery where we bought fluffy roll things and some date (I think) cookies for two pounds total, and then had a late lunch/early dinner at Felfela, which was delicious and also cheap. We washed that down with fresh juice, pineapple and fig. I'd never had fig juice before, but I was pleasantly surprised.
After we got back, I relaxed in my room, watched some tv and read my book. I honestly didn't have any work that needed to be done. Well, I hope I didn't. That would be a nasty surprise tomorrow. I suppose I could have spent the time studying, but it felt so good to not have any work to do that I didn't bother. Study later, sleep now.

Friday, December 10, 2010

a productive day (complete with ice cream and jedi)

I was productive today. On a Friday. Something is clearly amiss.
I went to Coffee Bean in the morning, and wrote half my paper and outlined the other half, while enjoying a terribly delicious breakfast of a chai latte and a croissant. The fact that Coffee Bean has no internet is simultaneously extremely frustrating and extremely helpful to my productivity. I think that's why I keep going back. That and the chai. So good.
When I got back to the dorms, I started to watch some tv online, read some blogs, then realized I really had nothing better to do than to finish my paper. So I did.
I ended up downstairs in the courtyard, which was good, because it meant I got to hang out with friends all afternoon and evening and night, with pretty much all of us being productive, sort of.
I say sort of because I was already done with my essay, so I was just reading a book I bought at the campus book fair a few days ago. Oh, Dean Koontz. No other author rivals your ability to write thoroughly engrossing terrible books. This one was about a dog of alarming intelligence, a phrase which I took it upon myself to say as often as I could throughout the day. 'What's your book about?' people asked. 'Oh, not much. Just a dog of alarming intelligence,' I replied.
The best part of the silly book was the setting: Southern California from Orange County to Santa Barbara. Pretty sweet. My favorite bit was when I caught Dean Koontz out in an obvious lack of research: when the evil monster slaughtered a police officer in the hills behind Yorba Linda, he had the 'Yorba Linda Police' go to investigate. Silly Dean Koontz. We don't have our own police force, we just borrow Brea's!
We vacillated about ordering in or eating out, then failed terribly to come to a consensus and ended up eating at the cafeteria. A while after dinner, one friend pointed out that it was now 'time for dessert!' so we headed out with cupcakes in mind. The cupcake store was completely empty of anything but ginger cookies, so we went to the grocery store for ice cream bars, which turned out to be really melty and gross. So we headed over to Mandarine for good ice cream, which was delicious. I had caramel&hazelnut, and the other two had lemon&strawberrylemon and hazelnut&darkchocolatewithweirdpossiblypeachsaucewethinkmaybe.
Then we went back to the dorms and sat in the courtyard freezing until one by one we finished all the work that was going to get done tonight and headed upstairs.
[One friend, I have to mention, was writing an Arabic essay all day, very diligently. Her topic? A summary and explanation of Star Wars. She had all the vocabulary she needed from her media Arabic class: rebel, explosion, alliance, empire. How perfect. The main problem, which we kept cracking up over, seemed to be how to correctly put 'Jedi' into the dual form. Jedi-iin?]

Thursday, December 9, 2010

rainbows and puppies

Is basically what the second half of today was. No joke.
I got to campus early to write my Art and Architecture paper, and it was a good thing that I did. It was done in time to print it out and bring it to class for Professor Ikram to look over.
When I went to her office after class with some other students, she checked it and said it looked good, I just needed to change a few things and add a sketch of the statue, which looks like this, by the way:
imakhufu and his wife
Then she took me outside to talk in private, about my Egyptology scholarship and whether I was actually getting the money from that (which I am, yay!), and about whether I would like to work at the Egyptian Museum. Yes. The answer is yes.
So that was the rainbows and puppies part, and it cast a haze of amazing over everything else for the rest of the day, Anthro class and Arabic and a horribly long bus ride included.
Just now, I got an email from the professor, telling me the museum would be getting in touch, and containing a very clear warning not to let her down, to which my first reaction was: "ulp."
And my second reaction: "I won't."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Well, the second hundred blog posts is off to a great start. I totally didn’t blog last night. I would just let it go, but I actually had stuff to say, so I can’t.
Last night there was a lecture, and if we attended, we got free ‘delicious’ dinner. The lecture was about dreams, and I was kind of looking forward to it. The only problem was, it was scheduled for eight o’clock at night, which is a bit late for dinner, for me at least. Still, I managed, and it turned out that the food was not just ‘delicious’ but actually delicious.
First I had to sit through the lecture though. It was mostly about the history of dream psychology, and the professor wasn’t as corny or annoying as I had been afraid he might be. It actually turned out pretty interesting. The most annoying part of the lecture was people asking really specific questions about their own dreams, kind of wanting the professor to interpret the dreams for them, which was a little bit awkward.
(Actually, if he had interpreted dreams, that would have been kind of cool. I had this really weird one a few nights ago about pushing a shopping cart up and down a spiral flight of stairs with orange handrails. Also it was happening at VidCon. Also two of my friends were sitting in the shopping cart. What does that mean, I ask? Other than the fact I clearly want to go back to VidCon, possibly with a shopping cart?)
After the lecture I stayed downstairs and hung out with friends for a lot longer than I should have, which meant that I had to do my Arabic homework really late, which I guess is why I didn’t blog. As you can see, I survived. And now I have to go to the library and finish the rough draft of my Art and Architecture essay so I can show it to Professor Ikram after class.
[And blogger is being stupid. Great. I hope this actually publishes and doesn't just vanish into the ether.]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

100 posts?

It honestly snuck up on me. This is the 100th time I've posted on this blog, starting the night before I left home to come to Cairo. Wow.
Today was a good Tuesday, again. I went to Coffee Bean and worked on my essay, and made a good amount of progress. Then I went to lunch with friends and then came home to essay a bit more, a goal which I completely failed to accomplish. That was okay, though.
I made my vlog for today, and had a really good time doing it.
If you watch the video, which is at the bottom of this post, I suggest clicking through to the video page and watching the linked video in the doobly-doo. Well, I suggest that if you're a huge nerd, or a nerdfighter. Otherwise, I guess it might be slightly confusing or off-putting.
Tomorrow I've got to get to school early and read The Caucasian Chalk Circle for Dramatic Lit, because I totally forgot to get a copy from the copy shop on campus, so I couldn't read it today like I meant to. I hope I can finish it before class and still have time to work on my Art and Architecture paper or the Dramatic Lit paper. If that doesn't work out, though, I'll settle for just finishing the play on time. I hate it when I totally blank on reading assignments like that, especially when they're for a class that is completely made up of discussion of the reading.
And that was a really boring 100th post! What can I say? It was a Tuesday.

Monday, December 6, 2010

7-up yours, buddy

So it turns out I have a lot more work to do this week than I thought I did. Oh well. It will get done.
At last count, I have one essay due Sunday, one due Monday, and one due Friday, along with one final on Wednesday, one on Thursday, and a presentation on Thursday. But it will get done.
At this point, I'm mostly concerned with simply maintaining sanity until this semester is finally over and done with and I can escape from AUC and from Egypt for a while, even though my vacation plans are still ridiculously up in the air.
Today in my Anthro class, we actually had a whole discussion about 'if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?' which was completely ridiculous because yes, of course it makes a sound, if you're defining sound like science defines sound, as vibration through air. But the professor felt the need to argue this, saying that sound according to people is something heard, so of course if no one hears the tree fall, there was no sound. Which is all well and good, until you realize that he's just summed up the saying as basically, 'if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, nobody is there to hear it.' The end. What a brilliant conclusion.
Basically, the entire thing reminded me of a story about my uncle when he was little putting the family dog into the refrigerator for a few seconds and then asking it whether or not the light had gone out. Maybe that connection only makes sense to me. Sorry.
When I got home from school, after what seemed like a horribly long bus ride but actually wasn't that bad, I went out to dinner with friends, and we had chinese, which was pretty good. I think I'll go back there, or order in at some point. The fried rice was delicious, probably from all the MSG.
An interesting thing happened on the way back to the dorm. On the way to the restaurant, we got a few mutters and marriage proposals, nothing out of the ordinary, but on the way back, one kid in a group of teenage boys yelled "suck my dick" and we didn't know what to do. What exactly should we have done, do you think? Is there an appropriate response to that, do you think, or is ignoring it the only way to go? I have to say, a few rude replies came to my mind, but I was a bit too shocked to use any of them. I hope that doesn't happen again, though. Not a pleasant experience.
Tomorrow is a day for homework, not relaxing, so I'm planning to get up early and head out of the dorms to keep me away from the internet. Hopefully that will work. And hopefully I can get wherever I'm headed without any commentary from men on the street. Not likely.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


A title which has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of this post. Moving on.
Today I took a slightly later bus, and got to campus just in time for the rare books library to open. Then I spent a few hours doing really really fun research. I'm not even kidding. I found this German book that has an amazing catalog of tons and tons of statues in the Egyptian Museum. The only problem is, it's in German. But that is really just an extra obstacle. I can read enough German to figure out whether something is a limestone statue of a husband and wife or not. I think.
Then it was time for class to start, and I went to Dramatic Lit, where the professor cunningly steered all discussion away from the more controversial topics of Streetcar, and we mostly talked about the boring character of Mitch.
After lunch I tried to go to my Egyptian Lit class, but the professor just didn't show up. So that was a complete and total waste of my time. When it was finally apparent that the professor just wasn't going to show up, I went with a friend to the campus book fair, where I bought two books that I didn't need, and have no idea what I will do with when I need to move. Oh well. They should be entertaining for a while, at least.
The bus ride home seemed longer than usual, but I met a nice girl from Kenya who is studying at AUC who I sat next to.
The rest of the night was fairly uneventful, except for a brief half hour period where I looked up and memorized a Japanese tongue twister to upload onto youtube for a project Hank Green is doing. I hardly ever participate in stuff like that, so I'm really glad I did today.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

freezing in the library

But at least I got some work done. I was actually remarkably productive almost all day today, and got everything done that needed to get done.
I meant to take the 10 or 11 o'clock bus to campus to work on researching my paper, but I put my laundry in late enough that I couldn't. Instead, I took the 2 o'clock bus.
That might seem a little silly, since I could only spend two hours on campus before needing to get on the 5:15 bus back home (after the library closed at 5 o'clock), but it was worth it, because the bus rides were relaxing and I got some good work done on my paper. I'll be back there tomorrow morning before classes to do some more research, and then hopefully I'll have enough to type up my bibliography and run it past Professor Ikram for a check.
Tonight there was a "girl's night in" party on the fourth floor, the flyers for which promised pizza and drinks and henna and belly dancing, only the first three of which I was actually interested in. When I got there, though, there were just sandwiches and really loud music, so I left pretty early. It turned out that they did have henna, so maybe I should have stuck around for a while, but it really doesn't matter in the long run. If I really want henna done, I can find a place to do it.
And that was my Saturday. Pretty sweet. See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Oh, weekends. You're so good to me.
I did very very little today, and it was great. Aside from the lounging around reading and the nap taking, the best part of the day was getting out of the dorms to have lunch with my friends. We also walked to get ice cream after, which was nice.
Tonight I went to look at the apartment I mentioned yesterday, and it was amazing. I really really hope that I get to live there next semester. Both of the girls I met were really nice, and the bedrooms they had available were huge, and one had a balcony with a Nile view. And the apartment is only about a five or six minute walk from the bus stop, so that's pretty great. It's also right across the street from Coffee Bean, which is amazing. Hopefully I'll be hearing from them in the next few days, yea or nay. Fingers crossed!
Tomorrow I'm taking the bus to campus to do paper research, hopefully successfully. Researching has always been more fun than writing for me, but the special collections library is always freezing cold and kind of terrible, so that might put a damper on the fun part.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Today was good. Well, parts of it were okay, and parts of it were awesome.
The best part was in Art and Architecture, when we were looking at Middle Kingdom tomb paintings from Beni Hasan in Middle Egypt. We looked at this one, and Professor Ikram asked us what was happening in the bottom row:

One guy in the front row said quietly, 'Seals?' and Professor Ikram seemed to vanish.
Well, she didn't really disappear, more like double over with laughter that the entire class then caught. Every time she'd try and talk, it just got funnier and funnier. Finally we all managed to stop laughing, and she told us that she could never teach this class again, because she'd never be able to look at that painting without thinking 'seals'. So that was great.
After class, a few other students and I followed her to her classroom to ask questions about the upcoming paper and stuff, and I found out that I need to change my schedule around to take her Culture and Society of Ancient Egypt course next semester. Previous years engaged in projects like making makeup, cooking, making wine, and carving maces and then hitting watermelons with them. So it's not exactly a class I can miss out on and not hate myself forever, you know?
The rest of the day was fairly mediocre after that, except for my Anthropology class being cancelled. Everyone I know only found out because of the note on the door, but when I checked later, it turned out that he had notified us on the class website this morning. That's a step in the right direction I guess, but since that website is fundamentally useless, no one checks it, and an email would have worked much better.
After I got home from school, I went out to dinner with friends, which was delicious, and I couldn't even finish all of it. Then I came back to my room to do nothing, which I've been quite successful at. Tomorrow, coffee, studying, reading, and an apartment visit! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

a streetcar named desire

Have you seen it? Read it? Watched the movie? If you haven't, this blog post might not make much sense. I'm sorry.
I'll try not to get too spoiler-y, but it's a pretty well known story, I think, so I'm warning you now, just don't read this if you really really care.
So, Streetcar (by Tennessee Williams) is about a woman named Blanche, a woman who is so caught up in the lies she's wrapped herself in that she's drowning. She can't leave her past behind, no matter where she goes, her family's problems and the spectre of her dead husband haunt her.
She goes to New Orleans to stay with her sister Stella and Stella's husband Stanley. In her mind, Blanche imagined that the Elysian Fields, the sector of the city where Stella lives, is just as much of a paradise as it's name indicates, but she was wrong. It's a dump, maybe a charming dump, but still, not paradise.
She lives there for a while, stuff happens, et cetera et cetera et cetera, until one night a confrontation with Stanley comes to a head in a bad way. Here is exactly what happens in the play:
Stanley corners Blanche. She tells him to get away and leave her alone, but he won't. She breaks a bottle and threatens him with the sharp edge. He still won't leave, and she slashes at him with the bottle. He grabs her wrist, yells "Tiger! Tiger!" and doesn't let go. Blanche cannot fight him, moans and falls to her knees. Stanley picks up her limp body and puts her on the bed and the lights go down.
The next time we see Blanche, she's out of her mind, creating fantasies and not able to connect with the real world, and Stella and Stanley put her in a mental hospital.
What do you think happened in between? I agree with the consensus of my Dramatic Lit class: it's pretty clear that she was raped.
What I don't agree with my class about is the circumstances of that rape. Some of the arguments I heard today:
'She gave in. She let him.'
'She was asking for it from the beginning.'
'Look how she acted around him.'
'She stopped fighting.'
'She wanted it to happen.'
I couldn't believe I was hearing this, and moreover, that I was hearing it from the other girls in my class. Only one girl was on my side, completely bewildered that anyone could even try to make these arguments rationally. It was honestly upsetting to listen to. I wanted to sit with them and talk outside of class. Maybe yell a bit.
No one ever asks to be raped. No one wants it to happen.
No matter what you wear, no matter how you act, it does not give anyone the permission to violate you.
If you can't fight, you can't fight. That doesn't make what happens your fault.
It is never your fault.
And that's what happened today. I'm really looking forward to Dramatic Lit again on Sunday.