Travel Map

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I can't believe it, I finally made it.  The flight was long but I passed the time talking to a nice Egyptian man who lives in Florida.  All of my aprehensions disapated... Almost the whole plane was full of other students for AUC and they were portraying the loud American pretty well.  I could tell they were undergrads, anyway ;)  A representative from AUC was waiting for us at the gate and herded us through everything, we didn't even have to go through customs which was nice. 
I'm all unpacked and ready for...bed? lunch?  My body is confused.  It's a cute little dorm room- I get a desk and a double dresser so there's room for plenty of my junk. I have a lovely view of a chain-link fence out of  my window.....we only have two people to a bathroom which is managable.  I think bed is a good bet for now and I'll figure out how to get food and water in the morning lol.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Last Night in the Country

Here it is, at last.  It feels like I was just on vacation and now I’m heading home…I guess I am. Not excited or nervous yet in the way of real heart palpitations- I think loading on the plane will bring it all home.  Had a last-minute shopping trip to get stuff for the plane.  We learned on our last trip to bring at least a change of shirt and underwear, toothbrush/toothpaste, tide pen, toilet paper (for Egypt), deodorant, and hair ties.  I charged my Nook and my laptop, charging my phone overnight….I think aside from hemming some pants I’m ready! 

I should really study some Arabic but I’m scared I’ll get arrested or something…just watched Rendition.  Good movie.  Had a lot to say about US foreign policy. 

No pearls of wisdom tonight.  Too much running through my head.  Worried about weather delays which could delay my airport pick up in Cairo.  Wondering how to change over some money that I left out…no way to deposit it now and I won’t get a very good exchange rate there.  Hoping I will love Egypt as much as I did the first time and not collapse into a sobbing heap in my dorm room.  There are those memories that we shroud in rose-colored glass and when exposed the reality is merely rusted.  Everyone has hardships in grad school.  I love Anthropology because it’s a challenging field and I want to push myself and see where my limits are.  I want to see new things and learn to understand someone else’s point of view.  This will be a good thing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Today's journey isn't as strenuous as next week's will be so it's nice to be able to relax and enjoy the time.  It's so odd, these airplanes and airports, these non-places that make us feel like we haven't gone anywhere but suddenly time has passed and it's dinner when we left at breakfast.  And now we don't even have to be bothered by other travelers as we play on our laptops (like I'm doing right now), our mp3 players, smart phones, and eReaders.  These little pockets of isolation may be a comfort to many American travelers but we lose the adventure of long trips on a train or car, the necessity of getting to know one's fellows in order to pass the time.  Each encounter adds a new gyri that forms a piece of our identity.  So when we spend the whole time with ourselves, who do we become?

Last Night

I had a great time with everyone my last night going out.  We played pub trivia which is always a good time and drank and just had fun.  I couldn't have asked for more. 
Today was a good day.  Despite the "slight" hangover I got a lot done and got to talk to people that mattered.  Spent some time on the phone with my siblings which was really nice :)  Had to say goodbye to my oldest friend which left us sobbing and laughing in the middle of downtown.  I know this isn't goodbye forever but it's always hard when change happens. 

I got to enjoy a lot of the Springs today, taking in the sights and really appreciating it. 
It was a nice city to grow up in and you can't beat the scenery.  I've done my time, though, and I'm ready for something new.  It still seems unreal....wherever I've been this has always been home.  I know I'll be back to visit, too, but I am moving away. If I keep thinking about it like that then I'll be better prepared.  I had a good time with my parents as well which makes me feel better.  Have to get up at 3am tomorrow...I may not sleep. 
Excited to see beautiful upstate New York and have a fun week of relaxation before everything changes.  Many more pics to come.

Monday, August 16, 2010

T-minus 2 Days

So yesterday was kind of a bust.  It was supposed to be a last whole day with my parents but they were cranky and didn't want to do anything.  We went to best buy and Dad bought me a converter set which is awesome because it's really expensive.  Then we went home.  And sat there. And watched stuff on tv.  Then Dad and I yelled at each other for something ridiculous which caused him to go upstairs which caused me to cry while trying to teach my mother about the internet and skype.  After a few hours I talked them into going to Rico's and getting something to eat.  That went well...kinda.  Mom kept apologizing for them being boring and set in their ways.  That wasn't the issue- I just thought they could be boring and stick to their routine next week.  We still have Tuesday night, since tonight is pub quiz :)  Hopefully tues and wed morning will redeem us.   It's just frustrating because we're out of second chances.  Maybe we all put too many expectations on the day and the stress got to us....sigh.
Tonight I'll really be saying goodbye to most of my friends.  I think it'll really hit me then.  I cleaned mom's car to get it ready to give back to her, I need to put away all the junk I cleaned out...Then off to lunch, a cocktail, wine, and pub quiz.  Tomorrow is my last day to get everything ready and enjoy Colorado.  I know I'll probably be back at Christmas but that will be a visit.  I keep trying to tell people this is not temporary.  (unless I completely hate it which I doubt) I need to get outside and take a walk or something....I can play on my computer later.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Running out of Time

Yesterday I went shopping with my mom and got almost everything I need.  Today is cleaning/moving day/say goodbye to Tom day and tomorrow I’ll hang out with my parents.  Oh man, I can’t believe I’m leaving in just 4 short days!  Summer took forever but the last 2 weeks have flown by.  I got some long pants that should be cooler than jeans (I hope) and some undershirts so I don't have to buy a whole new bunch of shirts, along with cosmetics and toiletries.    I know I won’t be camping or anything but I don’t want to have to attempt a major store run when I get there.  I think I’ll be ok, and if not maybe the campus store will have things. Still need a converter….

I’m enjoying a nice last day of autonomy.  Drinking some beautiful french press, watching a dumb movie, clean house, happy animals.  After today I’ll be living with people again and have to cherish moments of solitude.  I can’t wait to meet my fellow grad students and start exploring Cairo!  Back to the sites and the souks and awahs (bazaars and coffee houses). I have this bad habit of imagining all the bad things that could happen as a mode of preparation, but it also causes me anxiety.  I need to remember how much I loved it 2 years ago and how ready I am to go back and start my research.  It’s so exciting- my classes are going to be great and I will not procrastinate on my homework! (maybe if I say it here i can be held accountable.) 

I’m ready to go to !القاهرة

Friday, August 13, 2010

By this time in two weeks i'll be !في القاهرة
So exciting!  Saying goodbye is hard and I'm trying to enjoy every day. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Two Weeks

So I had intended this to be more informative on the actual process of getting ready for and going to a grad school abroad.  So far it’s been slow and steady progress.  I knew a while back that I was going to need many more vaccinations so I hopped on the website and started getting poked.  Now I have the following vaccines:

tetanus- good for 10 years

yellow fever- 5 years

meningitis- good for life unless I come in contact with infected individuals

polio- good to go

Hep A and B- good to go after a series of 3 shots

typhoid- oral variety good for 5 years

I've also gotten an HIV, syphilis, and tuberculosis test – as required by school- and a physical.  I'm not sure about water quality in the dorms and haven’t been able to find information on that.  I’m sure they have some system set up.  Health wise I’m pretty sure I’m set…unless my tests turn up something bad.

I didn’t get my passport sent out in time to get a travel visa so I’ll have to deal with getting an entry visa ($15) when I get to the airport in Cairo.  I’m mostly nervous about getting around the airport….after I make it through there will be a person with a sign waiting to take me to school.  Thank god.

I can’t believe I only have two weeks.  I need to pack, clean, and finish shopping for clothes.  I need to get my phone unlocked for international use and find out about a charger or converter.  I need a lot of converters, actually.    Get my hair done because I don’t know how much it will cost over there or even how to find a place that I could explain what I want.  Need to get my mom’s car detailed before I give it back….

And say goodbyes. I’m not good at those….I don’t want to.

Said goodbye to Chelsea’s moms yesterday and I learned two valuable things: 1. Don’t give your passport to anyone and 2. Don’t marry an Egyptian.

Thanks, Giesela :)


Off to get some work done

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I’m so excited! I just had my physical which is my final obstacle before school.  I’m sure my tests will come back just fine- looking at my arm I’m pretty sure I don’t have tuberculosis.  It’s getting really fun to tell people where I’m going.  Earlier in the year I was worried about sounding like a braggart but at this point I don’t care :) 

Money is always an issue and I just shelled out $380 for a physical.  Damn health care system.  I hope that it will work out, it usually does, I’m just a worrier. 

It’s easier to see the beauty of the Springs as I get to appreciate everything for the “last” time.  I don’t want to move back here and hopefully I won’t have to.   I love this city, i grew up here, but the political climate, geographical climate and the boredom factor are enough.  I’m ready for something else.  It’s been interested to recognize the way people talk about my move.  In a highly republican city most people can’t understand why in the world I would want to move to a predominantly Muslim country.  Well, I don’t understand why you would vote for Sarah Palin….  Most people ask how long I’ll be gone.  As if I’m being banished.  I hope to work in Egypt for my career so this is definitely a “move” and not a “visit.”  My parents can’t bring themselves to say I’m moving, they merely say I’m going to Egypt for school and I think they anticipate my return to CO when I graduate. 

I know it’s got to be hard for them:  My mother doesn’t know much about the Arab world and she tends to prefer the known to the unknown; My dad thinks all Muslims are terrorists and evil so he’s worried I’m placing myself in the jaws of the lion, as it were.  I really hope they come visit- but only if they have open minds.  As much as I would hope for my dad to learn to judge less, if he is determined to hate all he sees I’d rather he didn’t come at all and make Mom have a miserable visit.  I’m really excited for Mom to come, I think it would be so fun to do something, just the two of us.  Something life-changing…

One of my new Egyptian acquaintances asked me what I do in my life such as hobbies.  I laughed.  In two weeks everything will change.  I just can’t believe that I’m finally doing it.  When I was younger I wanted to travel but assumed I would probably only make it as far as Montana.  I never imagined I would actually be getting ready to move to Africa. Amazing how things turn out.