Three Months In- Vital Stats

19 Nov

Today marks exactly three months since we arrived in Cairo. August 19 was the day we arrived. It was Patrick’s birthday, although we were so disoriented and overwhelmed that it took a while to remember that. Those first few days were immortalized in the first entry of this blog and now here we are, exactly three months and nearly 10,000 hits later. So how are we doing?

I mentioned early on that all the expat advice guides said that at this point we’d be reeling in culture shock, the novelty would have worn off, and we’d be desperate for anything American. I had hoped to temper this somewhat by writing desperation nuggets and blogging our experiences so we wouldn’t be overwhelmed by them. I think it’s working so far.

Despite occasional lapses into American reveries, I’m finding that the thing I miss most is people. We can deal with strange customs, inefficiency, lack of familiar products, etc. But when it comes down to it, if we had to pack our shipment all over again, I’d leave Patrick’s books behind and pack our friends from South Bend, along with our families. Customs might be surprised when they checked to see if the crates held anything they could steal, but I’m sure they would wave everyone through eventually.

Living in Maadi has cut down on the culture shock aspect quite a bit. Here most shopkeepers speak English and the streets are equally filled with Westerners and Egyptians. There isn’t so much of the leering, the discomfort, and the disorientation that you feel elsewhere in the city. This really helps with the adjustment thing. I would go so far as to say that life here has become mundane. It’s much more difficult to wax poetic about walking through the neighborhood to shop the markets after I’ve been there a million times and the novelty has worn off. It’s harder to be astonished by taxi drivers who careen between oil tankers at breakneck speeds while holding a cigarette in one hand and making obscene gestures at other drivers with the other. There’s still much to explore, but not so much the feeling of having to get out and discover it immediately.

Okay, my sleepy ramblings aside, here’s a breakdown of how we’re doing, by the numbers:

0- Visits to the pyramids (we’re going next weekend!)

1- Patrick’s students who missed an exam because of a fork stuck in his head

1- Camel ride

1- missed friend’s wedding in America

2- occurrences of King Tut’s revenge

3- bad experiences yelling at taxi drivers about the fare
1- taxi driver who actually got out of the car and started following us to our building, screaming

3- dinners thrown into the garbage because of Egyptian ingredient disagreement

4- near nervous breakdowns by Melissa

4- amazing snorkeling dives in the Red Sea

5- total estimated hours spent waiting for bank personnel to acknowledge our presence

10+- hours spent talking via Skype

3500- Egyptian LE Patrick was able to bargain off the price of our latest trip

I’d go on, but I’m really sleepy right now and going to head for bed. We’ll add stats as we think of them. Overall though, I think we’re doing pretty good.


10 Responses to “Three Months In- Vital Stats”

  1. Dre November 20, 2007 at 4:45 am #

    It would seem all that is missing is the partridge in the pear tree. I am intrigued by the student with the fork in his head. A much more clever excuse than his grandmother dying.

  2. becca November 20, 2007 at 9:57 pm #

    I am so glad that you are not experiencing the aweful culture shock that was anticipated. Your numbers are not too bad. I too wonder about the fork in the head. Sounds like an issue that would be addressed on an ER episode.

    Thanks for the letters via Patrick, via Stacy Andrew. I am sure that was a better method than Egyptian mail. The girls loved their letters… and I have just one more to deliver. I am sure they plan to write again. They had a family history night in the family history center with Sister Kelly, and I have to say, it was awesome! The girls were filled with the Spirit of Elijah and asked if they could skip school to visit the FHC. Too funny! I imagined you would have laughed at that as Kimberlee and I did. We are torturing them with many Faith In God type activities and no fun. 🙂

  3. Uncle David November 21, 2007 at 10:41 am #

    Missed a couple of stats:

    ? (large) number of people living vicariously through your adventures

    2 people likely more in love now than the day I saw them get married

    1 little bean on the way to two great people in a far away land

  4. mom November 21, 2007 at 5:45 pm #

    Amen to that David.

  5. Paul November 21, 2007 at 10:00 pm #

    Patrick, can you email me so I have your email address. I am doing the peace studies campus in SLC next semester as my thesis project and I have a couple questions I want to ask you about. I tried emailing the address listing on the website for the University, but it didn’t work I guess.


    Paul Monson

  6. kennan November 24, 2007 at 2:41 pm #

    10- number of times you missed michael scott saying “that’s what she said”

    10- months until this season comes out on DVD and you can watch all the missed episodes at once (unless you count the 10 months it will tape to ship to you)

    10- number of people we have auditioned for the position of “new best friends” but didn’t come close. we’ll secretly videotape the others so you can be part of the judging

    10x10x10x10- number of times we have thought of you and cried

    0- number of ziplock bags mike brought to the dining hall this year. no contraband turkey. i guess we are growing up!

    love you both,

  7. Miranda November 24, 2007 at 9:17 pm #

    No contraband turkey Kennan! Wow. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without smuggling food out of the dining hall.

    While I did not spend Thanksgiving admiring pyramids, I did eat with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew for the first time in eight years. Yet I too missed all the holiday meals spent with friends in South Bend. Who else would take Mike’s Jelly Belly game so seriously and wax poetic about any number of random topics into the wee hours of the morning?

    Melissa and Patrick, I hope the Thanksgiving cruise was fabulous!

  8. kennan November 25, 2007 at 3:27 am #

    miranda, you’re making me sentimental! how we miss you too. please send us your new email address! mine is in case you don’t have it.

    speaking of “waxing poetic” until the wee hours of the morning…mike got blasted by the christophersons and youngs on his apathetic attitude toward all things holiday last night (actually, we both got accused of being anti-christmas because we don’t worship Wal-mart during the yuletide). ahhhh…it included loud raucous yelling and pointing fingers and all. wish you all had been there, it was lovely! how we miss those moments to share with the two of you!

  9. Melissa DM November 25, 2007 at 2:40 pm #

    I’m glad to see my disgust at Mike’s lack of celebration is being carried on. He deserves to be finger-pointed at.

    But no stealing from the Thanksgiving buffet? It’s like I don’t even know you anymore. Did you at least hang around there long enough to make it lunch AND dinner?

  10. kennan November 26, 2007 at 5:55 am #

    don’t worry, there was lunch, linner and dinner to be had that day. we definitely got our 5 bucks worth.

    as for the finger-pointing, it was so sentimental! you know you really have found some good friends when they can finger point as well as you can. 🙂 we’d give anything to have you back so we could yell at each other!

    ben is coming into town this weekend and we’ll be sure to provoke him for you, just for old time’s sake.

    hope your knee is better.

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