Monday, June 29, 2009

Teenage Dance Party

Sunday was my friend Jill's daughter, Georgina's 15th birthday. My roommate and I went to celebrate with her family. It was a family party, we were the only ones that weren't family there. Several teenage cousins were there with their mothers. The party quickly became a dance party to Arab music. I really need to do so Arab music research, so I can say who my favorite Arab singers are. (along the lines of music, in EVERY conversation I have had with a national since Friday, they have always ask if I have heard about Micheal Jackson's death)

These girls were really good dancers! I wish I had video of their moves to share! Here the dance consists of shaking your booty alot, and turning your wrists with your arms up in the air. The national dance though is "Demke." Demke is kinda like a grapevine line dance, in that you dance in a line (or circle) and repeat the steps. It has some stomps and kicks in it. It took this white girl a little while, but I think I eventually caught on. The girls were very patient teachers.

After one girl said she liked my ring, I made the mistake of saying I liked her bracelet. Then she tried to give it to me. I knew this trick and knew that if I accepted her bracelet, I should give her my ring. After I refused over 3 times, and put the bracelet back on her wrist after she put it on my wrist, and she still took it off and put it on my wrist again, I put my ring on her hand. I was kinda sad to lose my ring, but it was just from AVON, so was not anything too special, but now I have an imitation diamond bracelet! Mostly I was frustrated, cause I knew this trick (that you never complement jewelery), but yet I feel for it, after she complemented my ring. In addition to good culture practice, the party was good Arabic practice, as well!

At the end of the dance party, we had a layered chocolate cake from a local bakery and orange soda. We all sang Happy Birthday in English and then in Egyptian Arabic, and then they ALL blew out her trick candles. They were all really excited to get to the cake, and pulled the trick candles off the cake before they were done. So they were stomping on the candles on the ground, like they were cigarettes.

Also to celebrate, they had fireworks, which is very common here. These were just really big sparklers. And for some reason they set them off right under the electrical cables. They made the mistake not aiming the sparklers away from themselves, and an 8 year old got a spark on his shirt!

Pictures are coming!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

adding on and checking off life's to-do list

Had a good week, last week doing some training in another city. Enjoyed meeting co-workers from other countries. The highlight was having MEXICAN FOOD at a fancy hotel! It was sooo good!

The lowlight was getting sick! I caught a virus the last day. Let's just say that although vomiting on an airplane was not on my life's to do list, it can now be checked off! gross, huh?! They take swine flu very seriously here, and I was really afraid that they would think I had it, but I just played it off, like it was the take off, or something I had eaten. Anyways, it was only a 50 minute flight, so the humiliation didn't last forever!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cars and Traffic

Everyone talks about cars and traffic overseas. It can get a little annoying, because it seems that traffic and driving is more difficult and crazy in foreign countries. The reason everyone talks about it is because it is true!

Two stories from today:
1) My first fender bender accident in a taxi. We were through an intersection, when another car hit my taxi's rear passenger tail light. I was sitting behind the driver, but of course without a seatbelt on, so I hit the drivers headrest. (please, don't tell safety officer, Rachel, that I was riding in a taxi without a seatbelt! :) ) We were not going very fast. It is rare to go fast here, because there is always traffic!

So, the driver and front seat passenger both get out, waving their arms to tell the other driver what-for, which is the appropriate cultural response. Leaving me in the taxi, wondering if I get out and get a new taxi, or just wait it out. After about 2 minutes of blocking the intersection and lots of cars honking at us, my driver returned and drove to the side of the street. They surveyed our car's damage and the other guy's damage, and then left. There is no exchanging of insurance here. What's done is done.

2) Cats are everywhere here. You know that I do not like cats. But today, I actually had compassion for a cat. A cat ran out into the street towards the car in front of us. And although the car in front of us slammed its brakes, the cat was hit. It was not killed, but scrambled/slithered across the street as fast as it could, on three legs. I did feel really bad for the cat.

At least now, I will have some stories to tell in Arabic class tomorrow. Yesterday we started our unit on cars. I can talk to you in Arabic about changing oil, getting gas, changing tires, and after tomorrow about car accidents!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

When was the last time your cable man said you had gotten a little fatter since the last time he saw you?

Mine was today! except he said it in Arabic, and then when I asked what he said, he struggled for 30 seconds to find a word in English and then resorted to using widening hand motions.

It might have hurt a little, but I know that if anything I have lost weight since the last time I saw him, so my clothes today, just might not be that flattering. But that is okay, cause I am not trying to attract the cable man!

The funny thing is that here, he was not being rude at all. Just making an observable comment. There is nothing wrong with telling people they are ugly or fat. Thankfully, I was able to just laugh this one off from the shock of it all when I got home.