Mom got into Cairo right before my last final. We went to visit the tourists' market, but also campus, the dorms, my favorite restaurants, and my host family. When we got in the taxi to go visit them (the third time I've gone back since my initial stay ended-yay!) the driver warned us that when people go to this neighborhood who don't know it, they usually say, "Oh my god!" when they they get there. This wasn't encouraging, but I've never had anything resembling trouble when I've gone. Plus, we walk from the cab directly to their apartment and back. So they were quite pleased to meet mom, but as we were leaving I was having to say goodbye to them basically for forever, which was hard. It's so wonderful to meet people who like you and are nice to you for no good reason, and who you hoped you were able to treat the same.
Once I finished my finals (final grades: 3 A-'s and a B-) Mom and I headed south to Upper Egypt for our Nile cruise--although not before Mom spent a day by herself while I was taking my music final. She took a taxi by herself and looked around Coptic Cairo--all her own idea, totally autonomous from the tour agency. And this was like her 2nd full day in Egypt--she's so capable! This Nile cruise thing was pretty nice, and our cabin provided excellent napping opportunities and relief from the heat.
My worth as a bride was quoted to us at 2 million camels, and one guide told me I was an optical illusion! By which he meant to say that I was visually observant, but I think there's more than one compliment in there somewhere.
I managed to buy some good gifts, and I got an Arabic lesson in the process:
مَفْرَش table cloth
مَفارِش table clothsسِوان sheet
When in Rome... well, we had a guide say to us at one site that he found the way we were dressing respectful. Because we were respecting his culture, he felt compelled to respect us and our culture as he interacted with us. I normally felt and had been told that Egyptians, there was a sense of understanding and more lax standards for foreigners, because they are, after all, foreigners. I had never heard and Egyptian speak in such strong disapproval again the prostitute-garb, meaning miniskirts and back-less shirts that Western women are determined to wear in this Muslim country, of the tourist women.
So, the trip with Mom was a nice transition (back to the Western world), though I had a tough goodbye with my roommate. I can definetly see myself going back to Egypt, though my plans for the coming year are pretty set--finish college! I really want to keep up with my Arabic and to throw in some extra effort on my Spanish. I have a lot of pictures that I'll be sharing and I hope that this trip has had a positive impact on my life and that I've have some positive impact on those I met. I'll be telling lots of stories this summer, so even though you may feel exhausted just from the experience of reading this blog, ask me! and I'll keep the anecdotes coming. مع سلامة، يا مصر