Sunday, May 31, 2009

Letters from Egypt: Ulterior Motives

I’m at a point right now that although I am surrounded by so many people, I feel alone. Recent events have led me to sit around while out with friends and quietly think, “Does this person genuinely want to be here or is there some ulterior motive?”

Excuse me, table for one, name: Pity Party.

However, this post isn’t going to be like that – exactly. If you’ve been following this blog, then you know I am almost at my one year mark (July 10 exactly) and I think of all the different emotions I’ve felt thus far, but what I’m feeling now is loneliness, albeit a different form than what I first felt when I arrived in Cairo. It is growing increasingly hard for me to differentiate the truth from the lies. Some people reading this might think this is based on immaturity or lack of experience.

I feel as though everything that I thought has been untrue. How long has this been happening? Why now am I seeing things with this skewed view? When will it subside?

If you met people who know me in Cairo, you’d probably hear them say that I have my guard up at all times. I’ve always been a firm believer that it is better to keep up the guard than letting it fall as the latter will only open you up for more heartache.

I remember what it was like trying to meet people here. The first two months were absolutely miserable. You will find that most expats are teachers. Being a teacher means you have instant friends via your colleagues. You’ve arrived at the same time and you go through the same issues together. How do you meet people when you aren’t a teacher and your coworkers are either not in the same age group, have a family while you are single, etc?

I met my first friend here, Natalie, while going to hike with Cairo Hash Harriers. I was tired of sitting alone at home with nothing to do. She and I went out one night and she knew some people at the venue. We all went to an after party together. Then through those people, I met even more. Before you knew it, I had a large circle of friends that consisted of both expats and Egyptians. Yet, while that lonely feeling of always staying at home itching to go out subsided, loneliness is back again as I wonder what some of these people are really doing. Are they here to be a good friend? I question a few as it is apparent to me that when in need, they are anything but there.

You also have to be wary as is human nature, everyone wants gossip. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a packed stadium and the ref blows the whistle; however, I foul out in the first 10 seconds because I’m not even aware of the game that’s being played. It is a totally different ballgame here and no one gives you the rules. Since I’ve been faltering on my blog updates, I’ve decided that I will bring two this week – hopefully. My next blog, which will undoubtedly yield criticism will be based on single female life and the guys that are present. It is interesting to say the least, yet, I’m going to be brutally honest about it. As I keep meeting more people via my blog, I noticed this is a question for many singles thinking or actually preparing to move here.

Eat of the Week:

Mezza Luna

Address: 118, 26 July off Aziz Osman St,

Phone Number: 373 52655

Opening Time: 7 AM - 12 Midnight

This place is one of the best Italian restaurants that I’ve visited thus far. Now, after living for a few years in NY, will I say it compares – no way jose. Yet, the Egyptian owner’s wife is Italian. The pasta is made there. The dishes are relatively good. The atmosphere is great and the service is also good. I suggest starting off with the Special Bruschetta. Any pasta is good although I feel the regular spaghetti needed more seasoning. I had the shrimp pasta with cream sauce and thought it was really good. My friends in Zamalak love this place (one of them being someone who also recently moved from NY).

View of the Nile from the Sofitel Gezirah (Zamalek)

1 comment:

  1. Hey
    Just reading your blog. Will be moving to cairo at the end of july/august. I am kinda excited and well terrified at once. Grew up in africa so i dont think the culture shock will be that much. Question is whats the night life like or single life i think thats my greatest fear being single and living in egypt. so please do share any advice or experiences you have. BTW i am male. african american, 34yrs and single