I am so happy to share that I safely arrived in Cairo, Egypt on the 11th at 1 am. Although it hasn’t been that many days on paper, it feels like a lifetime has passed since I was packing for Egypt. So far I have had the first few days to unpack and settle in before the volunteer work starts, and have taken the opportunity to explore the city and learn how to get around the streets near the place i’ll be sleeping for the next 6 months.
The area that I am in is very lively, and as it turns out there is always something going on. The car horns beep constantly as they drive through the relatively narrow street next to the apartment, and its taken some adjusting but I really love how alive the city feels. I tried a new shawarma place the 2nd night as I didn’t yet have groceries and it was fantastic. Something kind of shocking was the power went out while I was eating with Ilaria and although it wasn’t scary it was just unexpected as it turns out this happens regularly by the government in order to cut down on energy bills. I found it sad that this was happening to these small business owners but was quickly cheered up by their contagious positivity. In addition to eating I was able to take a walk around the neighborhood and saw that many of the nearby streets functioned as a sort of farmers market/ street vendor hub with each blanket or small store selling one type of thing. I was again really struck by how different it was, but also excited that the culture I was looking forward to being immersed in is already proving to be extremely accessible.
I am happy to say that I was also able to check seeing the pyramids and riding a camel off of the bucket list on the first night. It was an entirely unique experience to Egypt and definitely something every visitor of Cairo needs to experience at least once. It was interesting to me seeing how the vendors reacted to my attempted arabic while still very much looking like a native, it was as if they were confused if I was a tourist or simply didn’t speak very fluent Arabic but lived in Egypt. As it turns out, they were trying to decipher my country of origin to determine if I was to be given the Egyptian native pricing or the tourist price. It was definitely fun trying to blend in and relieving to get to settle into the country before starting all of the amazing volunteer work after the weekend ends! I am most excited to finally get to work on the service project I designed and see it through. It is starting to feel very real that I am no longer in Nashville, and I am ready to embrace it full heartedly.
I’ve attached 2 pictures, 1 with my name on a store sign which was just really neat to find and unexpected, and the other from my Pyramids visit that just really screamed, “Welcome to Egypt” to me so I felt compelled to include it.
That’s all for now blog,
Until next time
Nardien Sadik 🙂