Thursday, May 10, 2012

Egypt: A Breath of Fresh Air

Originally I had planned to stay with my friend Mohammed, but he has a home renovation therefore he arranged alternate accommodation.  From one Mohammed to another Mohammed, I am staying with his friend and his family, which is even better for me.
His home is absolutely beautiful, 15km away from the busy city centre, and such a breath of fresh air- a gorgeous patio, pool, a washing machine, hot water-the water pressure is heaven, fresh juices and teas everyday (the orange are heaven), the breeze that comes in through my window in the morning(heaven), waking up to birds chirping, back to having hired help, and the most comfortable bed-from simple to luxury-always love this transition because you appreciate the luxury much more.  
His mother (Hedy), sister (Mona), and nieces are lovely. We spent the whole first day talking about America, technology, cinema, politics, and traveling while eating Egyptian food and sipping on fresh lime juice.  His sister is beautiful(fair complexion of skin, very thin with all her clothing imported from Italy). You would never think she has a 15 year old son, but she does and he is polite and nice just like her.  We  immediately get along because we love to discuss our dislike or Apple and Facebook and our conspiracy theory with technology and social control. She says she is very proud of my decision to take a break from materialism and resort to back pack, but she questions why I got rid of most of my belongings instead of keeping them.  I let out a big sigh and think to myself, "I don't know." I gave away my things to Buffalo exchange and Salvation army and when I think about it I am not quite happy with giving away so much. My expensive belts, leather jackets, and JEANS-gone.  I just kept sitting and staring at her jeans in envy-"Oh how I would just love to have my jeans back."  
We shift the topic to food, as she mentions having difficulty absorbing food, and I introduce the the possibility of her being allergic to gluten. 
I tell her, “Don’t worry, Dr. Raj will get to the bottom of this”haha. She says that she has been to many doctors, even the health minister who used to be a doctor, and he just says this is due to “psychological problem,” which they say many doctors like to say this in Egypt.  They said that they like to watch Dr.Oz sometimes, but he speaks so fast it is difficult to read the English Translation in time or follow what he is saying.  Priscilla lets out a big, “Aww.”
The women in their family are always “Veiled” covering the hair, but they do not believe it is necessary to cover the face. Veil is a “must”, but covering the face is a “choice.”-Mona. They say a more conservative Muslim may cover their face, but nowadays many Egyptian women just wear the veil and wear Arabic clothing mixed with Western influence i.e. jeans or tighter fitting clothing.  Mona and Hedy wake up everyday at dawn to pray (5 times a day).  Mona says, “Sometimes when I am sleepy I do not wake, but it is okay.”   
While speaking to me they always say “Yani,” which is a form of acceptance towards me.  It feels nice when they say this
The girls are both 14 and attend the private international school where they learn French, English, and Spanish.  They are excited about going to a study abroad program in Spain for summer-just lovely, lovely girls.  We have such a nice time together-what a nice family.

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