Wednesday, 5 April 2006

And so it begins...

Ok this is kind of strange; I’m sitting here and thinking what to write that would interest people who have no idea who I am. I guess I should start by introducing myself a bit. My name is Ethar (comes from the Qur’an and the closest translation is altruism) and I’m a Business Administration senior at AUC. I’m Saudi born, Egyptian raised, and Western educated (I know, an identity crisis just waiting to happen). I have four (very noisy) siblings, and I’m the eldest. I’m minoring in Arab and Islamic Civilization, and I’m in approximately 10 activities this semester (I know, it was a crazy thing to do).

So what have I been up to this weel? Well, first I attended a lecture this week titled “Islamophobia in the West” given by Khaled Abu El Fadl, whom I gather is a very prominent scholar. It was interesting, but I have to confess I was pretty tired and it was a two-hour lecture, so I didn’t really catch everything; though I was supposed to be covering it for Dimensions, the Student Union newspaper I’m a reporter on. Thank God the story was dropped though, and I covered the debate on Wednesday about the Denmark Issue instead, because that wouldn’t have been my best work.

Wednesday was also the henna of one of my friends. A ‘henna’ is a party traditionally held 2 days before a wedding, where the bride and all her female friends basically get dressed up and dance all night. We also have henna done, which are designs done on your body with a paste made from leaves (I think). I had it done on my hands and I think it’s pretty J Her wedding was last Friday, and the singer that came is somehow so much uglier in real life lol. But the Hyatt hotel was amazing, and the Nile looked sooooo amazing (and clean!) from up there.

I’ve been learning how to park lately, and somehow I’m still failing dismally. I was at Cairo University on Friday before the Wedding for my Model Organization of the Islamic Conference (MOIC) session, and I had to park outside, only I suck at it, so my car looked really out of place amongst all the perfectly parked cars. Oh well, at least I didn’t get a ticket ;)

Yesterday some friends of mine from New York came to Egypt for the first time, and since I only know them from the videoconference course I took last semester about cross-cultural perceptions; I was really excited to finally meet them in person. We all went to the Cairo Tower (which I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never been to although I’m a native Egyptian!) and it was hilarious how we were the only group there among all the couples. We then traipsed downstairs to the revolving restaurant. Well actually, I hobbled along since my shins are all black and blue from my morning kickboxing class at Gold’s Gym (I have a mean trainer jk). We had lunch there, although the floor creaked constantly, but all in all it was definitely an experience. Next time, maybe I’ll try the pyramids :D (only kidding, I’ve been there of course).

Hmmm, what else? Oh, I remember. On Thursday my “Intro to Sufism” teacher took us to visit a Sufi Order, where basically the Sufis (they’re an Islamic sect) performed dhikr, which is the remembrance of God and the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). It was really interesting to watch them recite and dance and how they were so welcoming of us. They gave us cake, croissants with date paste inside (which tasted really good btw), chocolates, and strangely enough, tangerines J

Ok, I think I’ve gone on long enough for a first entry; don’t want you to get too bored from the first time :) In any case, I have to go get started on calling all the homes for the elderly here in Cairo, because the Hand in Hand (HIH) is having a mother’s day event on campus for them. And of course I’m a chronic procrastinator, so I’ve left it really late (as usual).

Until next time,
Salam Alaykum!).(literally “Peace be upon you”. The arabic version of hello/goodbye; it works both ways like aloha lol)

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