Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Luxurious Camping

Asalamu Alaykom,

This internet connection I'm using is temperamental.  I've got to be sitting at an angle, by the door to the veranda with the window open for it to work.  At any moment, the green on my USB could switch to red and the dreaded signing off noise would sound.

However, internet is not the foremost of my concerns two days after returning to Alexandria.  Everything is about survival right now.  We are living in an apartment that we are not agreeing to keep.  It's a kind of cave with no connection to the outside world---and this connection is even MORE important to me than internet!  Outside, it could be sunny and breezy, the BEST weather in the world ---and we'd neither see it or feel it inside this insular space.  I see walls.  I see more apartments.

See the little bit of sky?  It's there between the neighbor's laundry and the top of the building.

I'm getting depressed in only two days!  Can you imagine how I would get in the rainy winter season inside this place?!

We've got to leave it and get a different apartment.  We went looking today with a man from the school that's hired me.  He had shown us a GREAT apartment in a wonderful neighborhood last week.

However, today, he told us today that the owner only wanted a single, foreign woman renter, i.e., no families.  Instead of getting that classy apartment with tons of charming character

and three balconies, we were shown a dreary, mismatched working man's flat.  Yellow!  Pink!  Orange!  Red!  Nothing matched, or as my husband said, "koshary!"  The furniture was old and very clunky Egyptian.  Yes, there were windows with fresh air and sunlight, but looking out, all we could see was a kind of apartment community without any neighborhood feel.  Well, there was a government school where we could be sure to have lots of noise from early morning into the late afternoon.  The place was a standard below what we're used to.

It's fine to be lower middle class, but I don't want to live that way myself.  I'm not a snob.  I can live anywhere if I have to...but I just don't think we have to live lower than what I'm used to.  I left Giza for better (not for worse) and for richer (not for poorer).

Thinking back, the man helping us misjudged who we are.  Yes, my husband is Egyptian, but his taste is for the American/European style.  He married me after all!  I'm not accepting an apartment he wouldn't give to an expat who has arrived from JFK Airport.  I've lived here eight years (exactly  this week), but that doesn't mean that my standards or tastes have altered to such a large degree.

Until we find better, we are camping out in our cave.  Nothing is really unpacked.  We're living from suitcases and I'm unsure how we're going to start cleaning clothes and getting them dry.  I haven't tried cooking in this kitchen that was left dirty.  I've cleaned out the refrigerator that was more petri dish than appliance.  It's been gross.  How do I cope?  I can cope with the belief that it's luxurious camping better than realizing that it's really sub-par apartment living.  If you can't adjust the situation, then at least you can adjust your thinking!

One thing that helps is knowing how much I need to get out of here and explore the neighborhood.  The neighborhood is wonderful and if we could stay around here, for sure we would.

Around the corner was a GREAT Syrian take-away restaurant.  It was much better than the Ravoli restaurant last night which did not actually have any ravioli...or chicken...or lettuce for that salad we ordered.  The Syrian restaurant is always busy and I'm glad.  I watched the workers strive in their new home.  They are making it work.

One of the men was so beautiful---not handsome like I was looking at a man out of some kind of desire.  This man was simply amazing to see.  His eyes were this bluish shade and I don't normally even notice eyes on anyone.  I saw him taking orders and wondered what life he left and what life he has now.  None of this could have been easy on him.

I had been fussy as hell after hearing about the failure to rent the great apartment and being shown the dowdy apartment.  As always, seeing someone else, and thinking of someone else's journey jolted me from my miseries and made me grateful for what we have.

Once back home again.  We prayed and seriously that helped a LOT.  The shwerma was really well done and even better with the garlic sauce.  We watched Kangaroo Jack and laughed.  After dinner, we talked and talked over what's going on with both facts and feelings.  Life isn't bad.  It is what it is.

We're camping out in Alexandria, Egypt and eventually we're going to get an apartment we love.

In shah Allah.

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