Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Johnny Cash and Koshari

It’s strange, this feeling I always get in the pit of my stomach, when I’m about to leave a place for a very long time. Cairo has been wonderful these past two or three months, and I’m finally coming to terms with this crazy city. I realized this when I went with a complete stranger (who wasn’t really a stranger after all, my darling friend Acom arranged that he would pick me up so we could all have shisha and koshari near Tahrir Square together) and we were stuck in traffic over the Nile. Somehow I didn’t even notice the cars honking away and felt at peace with myself, even after sharing conversations with this new friend about the troubles that I’ve had in Egypt.

He apologized to me, for the wrongdoings that every Egyptian man had ever done. It was the FIRST time EVER that any Egyptian guy has done that. I could tell he was being sincere. My breath was taken away from me. I could tell he was furious as he listened to my melodramatic stories. He continued to grip the steering wheel and sat in silence while listening to my every word. Never once did he tell me that I should dress a certain way, or that I should do this or that in order to protect myself from the harassment. He never cracked a smile or rolled his eyes, which has been the norm in the past. We talked about politics in Egypt, how he wants to move to England so badly to get out of the city, about Germany and my boyfriend, and about music. This guy has such a love for music and I was thoroughly impressed with his iPod playlists. Johnny Cash, Pink Floyd, and great musicians I’d never even heard of!

I’m an everywhere man…” filled my ears as we edged closer to our destination. I was really looking forward to meeting my friend Acom, the first female Egyptian friend that I ever made here. We sat down at one of the streetside café’s beside of Tahrir, and I ordered my favorite drink called Aneb and apple shisha (the only flavor available at this little shop), and began to chat away. Acom’s friend slipped away and I found myself asking her about FGM (female genital mutilation) because I’d always been curious about the situation in Cairo, have read about it constantly, but have never asked a close Egyptian friend about it. Needless to say her responses were what I expected to hear, and made me love her even more! I love all of the strong and outspoken women I’ve met here. 

My friend from AUC, Marie, showed up just in time and we all went around the corner so I could experience koshari for the very first time! Now let me tell you something about koshari. It is not, by any means, an elaborate meal and involves throwing rice, spaghetti pasta, lentils, hummus, tomato sauce, little round pasta, and maybe a few other things into a massive pot…and then voila! Dinner is served. They have a bowl of cumin and bottles of extremely spicy chili pepper sauce, or vinegar and garlic (which is what I chose), to add onto your mysterious bowl of carbohydrates. 

Apparently I don’t know how to eat koshari properly because I added spoons full of cumin and salt, then way too much chili pepper and found myself completely disgusted with my meal that was supposed to be almost magical! I had been putting off this koshari occasion for months. Marie, the sweetheart that she is, gave me the rest of her koshari so I could enjoy what it’s REALLY supposed to taste like. It’s really not that bad, but very filling and I don’t think I’ll be eating it again for quite some time because…


Can you tell I am excited? This summer is going to be so amazing because of time with my favorite boy and my amazing family. It seems almost surreal; I remember leaving them at the airport like it was just yesterday. I was a complete disaster with my two massive “purses” as carry on’s that were probably bigger than most 7 year olds. I just am truly thankful that I have incredible friends and family all over this great big world. Without them, I would be nothing (and I sure as hell wouldn’t have had all of these great opportunities). Thank you all for everything

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