Good morning, class ! صباح الخير يا فصل (Sabah al-khair ya fisl)
This is Seth, your blogger in Cairo, Egypt. I have been here just over a month and it has been wonderful. I feel like I could write for days about Cairo, but it might be a good idea for me to tell you all who I am before we start talking about a foreign country. I also want to hear about who you all are, what your interests are, if you’ve ever been to another country (or even the Middle East!), and so on.
But first, I’m sorry, but I just need to show off the view from my roof. This is technically Giza, or even more technically Harem (“pyramid” in Arabic), a neighborhood in Giza. Giza was once a separate city from Cairo, but Cairo has expanded so much that Giza is now part of the Egypt’s capital.
I was born in 1990 in Massachusetts. My parents are both Lutheran pastors, and they took our family first to Vienna, Austria for three years when I was five years old and then to East Jerusalem in Israel/Palestine for four years starting in 1998. When I was in 6th grade, I found out we were moving back to New England at the end of the year. To me, this was both frightening and exciting. I felt like I was returning ‘home’ to the US, but in my head the US was basically just baseball and free soda refills (sorry to tell you, but free soda and water refills is really rare outside of North America). As you may have guessed, returning to America was a lot more confusing than I expected. I joined my middle school football team and was out of my league that the coach literally never put me in a game the whole season.
Eventually I figured out American football was not in my future and learned how to live in America again. In 2010 I moved out to wonderful, amazing, unbeatable Portland, OR to attend school. I live in SE Portland, next to Hawthorne, and I can’t help but miss it a great deal. I’m pretty sure this is what I miss most about Portland in order of most to least:
1) the way the water tastes,
2) the mountains,
3) and brunch.
I started taking Arabic classes with no real intention of continuing but it just took over my college life and now I find myself halfway across the world. Before Cairo, I spent two months in Jerusalem studying Palestinian Arabic and it was incredible to see the city and region again. Here are a couple videos I put together of my time there:
Right now I am working on a video of my daily life in Cairo so you can see where I live and what it’s like. Cairo is a complicated place, full of history and revolution. What interests you? I am almost as new to this country as you and I am really excited to delve in deeper with you all on gain a greater understanding. I look forward to meeting each of you in the new year!
Think of me the next time you drink that tasty, tasty Portland water!