6.9.12

Strangeness and Charm

So I think I have finally settled in here. My bedroom/house looks lived-in and is decorated, I have a little bit of free time again, and I have officially started classes. I will save a post about school/the students for later this week, but I thought I would tell you about some of the random odd differences between Egypt and America. These things are not the major culture-shock related differences, but the miscellaneous little variations that you encounter here.
In order to appease my mother (Kairie - holla!), this has to be in list formation.

1) Names here are very different from in the U.S. Your last name is your father's name; in Egypt my name would be Taylor Kevin (the students think my dad's name is 'Pierce'). Middle names don't exist here, and the most common first names are names you have never heard of. If you meet an Egyptian guy, there is a good chance his name is one of the following: Deng, Maged, Mina, Girgis, Magdy, or Shenouda. The majority of Egyptian girls have one of the following names: Maryam (probably 60% of the girls are named Maryam), Marina, Kristine/Christine, or Sarah.

2) There is no letter "P" or "J" in Arabic, so if you ever want to do an impression of someone from Egypt, just swap the "P" for a "B" and the "J" for a "G." We have a notorious science essay that was submitted by a student on the life cycle of the "crap" - AKA the 'crab.' Good stuff.

3) All of the junk food here is weird and/or disgusting flavors. Soda is typically apple flavored, which is actually pretty good, or orange. Chips on the other hand come in the most obscure flavors you have heard of: 'hotdog and ketchup,' 't-bone steak,' 'kabob,' 'chicken and French cheeses,' and 'tomato' among others. 'Kabob' seems to be the favorite among the students.

4) The ants here are some disgusting hybrid of spider legs and ant bodies. They look like daddy-long-legs but with the torso of a carpenter ant. My science teacher roommate tells me this is an adaptation so that they don't burn their bodies on the sand when it is super hot out. They just grow giant legs to lift them high enough off the ground.

5) This one is not that exciting, but somehow I was incredibly surprised by it. There are dragonflies everywhere here, but they are neon yellow and crimson red. and HUGE! They are like Jurassic Park dragonflies; therefore, they earn my approval.

6) People don't really know their own birthdays. Apparently, they don't celebrate birthdays here. Trying to register students for classes and asking what their birthdays are and receiving a blank stare was interesting.

I am sure I will have many more of these odd little lists in the future, but for now you can enjoy the few above :)
I have been working hard on my Arabic, and getting better! Our goal is that by the end of the year the primary language spoken in our house is Arabic and not English. My roommate is teaching me how to read and write currently, which is quite the undertaking. At the very least, I know all the inappropriate names I might be called by the male students in Arabic so that I can chastise them when I hear it. Ha!
Here is to a good day of classes tomorrow!
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