1. When Sally was a puppy I picked out her name from a Dick and Jane book; for those followers who grew up with Dick and Jane, you remember that Sally was the little sister in the books, and Sally was truly my little sister growing up. She promptly gained the nickname Roo (and its various forms) because basset hounds are known to howl, all of them except Sally that is.
2. Until mid high school (and sometimes after) Sally always slept in my bed with me
. She would jump up onto my bed and somehow through the night manage to move my head off of the pillow and move her head onto it.
3. Sally was quite the beggar at the kitchen table, but only once did she actually manage to jump up and get something. One time we cooked hamburgers and they were set on the table to wait for everyone and while we were waiting Sally jumped up and stole the hamburger! When we came back to the kitchen, the hamburger had been devoured and only Sally was in sight.
4. If you got Sally riled up, like Adam and I tended to do, she would pretend to get upset and stick her butt up into the air and bark at you, until she yawned and went back to sleep.
Sally was the most laid back dog; she was the perfect size to be a footrest and a pillow and was always there when you needed her. It is going to be really hard going back home and she is not there. Times like these make you realize how much you miss at home while you are gone abroad. So, because it is all I can do from here, this post is dedicated to Sally and her life: chasing lizards, sleeping, eating, sleeping, exploring, sleeping, and being the world's best dog and childhood friend. We know that you are in a better place, but we all miss you terribly!
Have I mentioned yet how much I love having Tuesdays off? It feels like the week is so broken up because I go to class for two days, have a day off, go for two more days, then have two days off. Tuesdays will probably be my blog days, so you can start looking for updates then, or on Wednesdays if they get long. So, this past Monday night we went on a felucca ride on the Nile. The group was a fun mix of Study Abroads and Egyptians, which is fun because you get to see real Egyptian culture
. Unlike the last felucca ride, there was very loud music and dancing on the boat. For such a conservative culture, Egyptians sure do love to dance, and dance they do. These boats are decked out with colorful lights and are all over the Nile and they are really cheap to rent for an hour. Oh, and here is another culture note: if you are with Egyptian guys they never let you pay for anything. Apparently, it shows that they are well off if they can afford to pay for you and the other girls in the group. This custom makes things cheaper, but it can also get aggravating because you feel like you are a freeloader and not pulling your weight. However, even girls that have been here for awhile say that it is usually easier to accept the generosity than fight with an Egyptian on the issue, because believe me, they will not back down.
Also this week, I went to CityStars Mall, aka the largest mall I have been to in my entire life. CityStars is like a 7 story monstrosity with every expensive shop you could ever ask for. They also have cheaper stores as well and a hefty choice of American Restaurants. For dinner, my roommate and I went to Fuddruckers, you heard me right, Fuddruckers. I had no idea it was outside of South Carolina, much less in Cairo! After dinner, I broke down (after over a month, keep in mind) and got Starbucks. CityStars has TWO Starbucks, how could I deny it? The Carmel Macchiato was delicious, though, and so worth it
. So, I needed to go shopping because I should have brought less T-shirts and more nice shirts to Cairo. In Cairo, and at AUC in particular, t-shirts scream "I do not want to fit in at all!" Therefore, I bought a couple of new shirts that I can mix with sweaters and the pants I already have. Tip for traveling (at least through Europe, China, and Egypt): people do notice and comment if you compromise looks for comfort. In Egypt it can mean you get ripped off by vendors and in Europe it just categorizes you as a sloppy American. I have found that dressing in Cairo is all about balance, you do not have to compromise all comfort. Recently, I've found myself wearing whatever pants I have (linen or jeans) mixed with a plain fitted t-shirt and perhaps a sweater. Then, throw on a colorful scarf for color and some jewelry to dress everything up a bit and you are set. For shoes, wear anything other than tennis shoes and flip flops; I have found myself depending on my Toms and a wonderful pair of Target sandals which are both semi-dressy and comfortable. With these steps, I feel I blend into Egyptian culture better and I do not get characterized as "the sloppy American study abroad student." My goal for coming abroad was to break American preconceptions of the Middle East, and I have also found it useful to break negative preconceptions of Americans while I am abroad.
As mentioned in my last blog, I have been trying to cook a lot more in order to avoid having to spend money on food
. When I need to go grocery shopping, I take a bus for about 15 minutes to Rehab, a nice community near New Cairo. My roommate and I have explored there and found the best places to get fresh fruit and bread! The fruit and veggies change every time we go which is nice because it gives us variety, and so does the bakery! We also get force fed free cookies when we enter the bakery, but I was super excited this past time when I went and they had croissants. Have I mentioned that all of this stuff is so cheap-- I paid like 5 dollars for 2 bags of fruits and veggies? It is ten times cheaper to buy and cook on your own than to go out to eat (even though eating out here is really cheap in comparison to the US). Anyways, I have found myself doing things like boiling noodles, throwing in some fresh peppers, and adding a bit of Italian dressing. I am looking for more, easy suggestions for things to cook while here, so please, send any ideas along in comment form. When I return to PC I feel I will be cooking for myself a lot more, my friends at PC are invited to join me on this venture as well.
Last night I was invited to a birthday party for the guy whose house we stayed at in Ismailia. Before the party I went to CityStars with his girlfriend (my roommate's good friend) and his best friend to get a present. In Egypt they have a custom where instead of everyone buying different gifts, everyone puts in what they can towards a really nice gift
. We found a wonderful Esprit watch at CityStars and everyone threw in some to contribute. After getting the present, we went into Zamalek and went to dinner at EuroDeli. There were so many people, mostly Egyptian, and I could tell everyone had a blast! When you get that many Egyptians together, though, it is so loud! After dinner and coffee and cake we came back to campus and were exhausted.
Today I do not plan on doing too much just going to the gym and doing a lot of reading. My classes are great, but I have so much reading to do for all of them-- except Arabic which is just exhausting to practice. It is definitely helping to hang out with friends that speak Arabic, though, they encourage me to practice with them and try to teach me nifty phrases and words. They also try to build up your ego by telling you how wonderful you are at speaking Arabic, no matter how false that statement is. I hope I have been entertaining enough in the blog. Like always, comment and let me know what is going on at home, and this time PLEASE include any tasty, easy recipes you have, they would be much appreciated!
Some sad news came my way this week when my dad informed me that he had to put our almost 14 year old basset hound, Sally, to sleep this past Thursday. For those readers that have met my family, you know how important Sally was to us; she was known as my little sister and even had a place in all of our family photographs-- even though she always refused to look at the camera. In order to celebrate her life, I am going to post some of my favorite Sally memories: