Egypt medicates your perspective. From the towering pyramids, to the poor shacks you see scattered around the city..it's like I've stepped into a whole new world.
I never believed I came from privilege. In fact, if I ever described a person as having the world at their fingertips, I considered it a very negative thing. But once you settle into a third world country, you realize that the spendthrift you never identified with, well you realize that now you can. For many here in Cairo, a monthly salary could easily be equivalent to a days work back home, and I believe that's a very generous estimation. The poverty gap is a very visible reality. Seeing people exist, happily with so little, really makes you reevaluate your understanding of what "necessary" is. My "needs" are turning into "wants." Alhamdulillah.
The city is filled with noise from honking horns to stray cats giving birth. But you get used to it. The noise fills the city with character. And if you really pay attention you'll find that every noise tells a story.
Before leaving to Egypt, quite a few people suggested I learn Arabic from home. But in the first weeks of being here, I've come to realize why the immersion aspect is so very important. The desire to independently travel short distances, or simply make a purchase , drives your desire to study and makes using and practicing the language a requirement. There's really nothing more encouraging to study than desiring to be able to venture out on your own or connect with the people you meet in a more intimate way.
Egypt has stolen my heart, despite how disorganized it can be, it endures. It's so beautiful how willing people are to help you find your way around here (even if they don't really know the way). Sure you may not be able to find your usual comforts within walking distance (such as a comparable walmart), but you will find a mosque - at least three on each block. I've never heard so much thikr in casual speech in all the years I've been Muslim, masha Allah. The food is amazing (all halal) and the people here are funny beyond relief. May Allah increase them.
After recovering from a pretty intense week of jet lag, we finally left Street 9 in Mokkatam. It's nice to see beyond the tall buildings. Below, pictured is the rooftop of Studio Arabiya, a trip to the pyramids, and more recently our trip to Wadi Degla - a complete escape from the noise and hustle of Cairo. Alhamdulillah.