Sunday, July 4, 2010

Brings back memories

It's the age old backpacker's question: "So, where are you from?" For me this late in the game, if I haven't been to the asker's hometown, we've at least traveled to a lot of the same places, so there's some common ground there. 

(On the St. Kilda pier where, as you can tell, it was quite windy.)

When I met Nagla on my first full day in Melbourne and he told me that he was an Egyptian from Cairo, well hey, I've been there! And we were off with the chatting. It was already late in the day because a) I was being lazy and didn't even shower until 1:30pm and b) Nagla, having flown direct from Cairo a couple of days earlier, was jetlagged and slept until after noon, but we decided to continue our chat and pal around for awhile. We walked to the St. Kilda beach area and hit up the shopping area of Chapel St. on our way back. The next day Nagla woke me up bright and early (8:30am, at which time I begged for an extra half hour of sleep!) and we went into the city. We went to the Immigration Museum, shopped at Queen Victoria Market, and wandered Federation Square. Blah, blah, and it's not all that exciting and you can see pictures of it here. That's not the point of this post.

The point is that spending time with Nagla has made me recall my time in Egypt and in Dubai, and all the friends that I made while I was there. I spent more time with Amiri (who, wow, didn't get an official mention until well after I'd met him, sorry Amiri!) than with anyone else and I was glad to find that all of the slang Arabic words and phrases that he taught me (those that I could still remember anyway) came in handy all these months later. It's wild how much you can see culture in a person. By this I mean that the way Nagla acts or talks or feels is really similar to how my other Egyptian friends act, talk, or feel. A lot of times when he says something, it reminds me of Peet or Morgan or Mickey. I find myself having to explain to Nagla why I'm grinning at something he just said or did, so that he doesn't think I'm laughing at him. :-) Also, I think Egyptians more than anyone else I've met are the ones who are trying their hardest to improve their English (even when it's already damn good and WAY better than my Arabic). They are persistent and will say a word over and over again to get it right, often using it in a sentence at a later time. It's really cool.

This is coming out all mushed sounding and I have no idea if I'm making any sense. I guess there's really two things I'm trying to say: 1) Culture and the things in life that join together to make a group of people who they are is really fascinating, and 2) I really miss all of my Egyptian friends! I hope you're all well and that our paths cross again soon. Sorram ya nefisa sorram if my words to describe how much it means to me to have met and gotten to know all of you aren't as eloquent as they sound in my head. 

1 comment:

  1. The "Sorram" thing is what my brother taught you?
    Thank you for tagging, and the nice words. I loved Brazilians thought that they are worm and tolerant more than Egyptians. And, to tell you the truth due to the current socio - economic issues and politics, people are changing to become more aggressive. I have seen our culture in Peru.

    How is Auzy, the weather, people, animals, universities, cities, food, etc. Do you plan to stay there for some time?

    Finally, I thought when I was reading your notes that you are a socially smart person to catch all this about our culture and express it despite of the short duration you spent in Egypt.

    Good luck :)