Monday, June 7, 2010

Back to Basics. Cairo revisited.

Well Egypt, I’m back. Well not quite. I leave for Cairo tomorrow. Today, I am in the capital of our great American nation, Washington D.C. If I didn’t say before, I am participating in the Critical Language Scholarship, a program with the US Department of State in order to promote difficult language acquisition. Short version- they give me money to learn Arabic at a really prestigious institution/program in Cairo. I arrived at the airport where my old friend Richie met me to accompany me to my hotel via the metro. Checking in was a breeze and I met my roommate, Michelle who is such a nice girl! A grad student in Indiana in Comparative Literature, I can already tell we will be getting along for the next two months!
We prepped for orientation and met everyone as we gathered in the meeting room of the hotel. Tall, short, blonde, bald, old and young- the CLS is the most age and interest diverse program I have been a part of. We have people from rising college sophomores to those in their late thirties finished their PhD programs. Subject interests range from International Relations to Biology to Pharmaceuticals to the Arabic Language. All welcoming each other, we told fun stories about ourselves and afterward went out for dinner at a Thai restaurant while learning tid-bits about each other. Having not visited the area in years, I forgot how beautiful and dynamic the city is. I later met my friend for dinner and we took in the old prestige and vibrancy of Georgetown. We sat down, ate a delicious meal and then walked up to the National Cathedral. It is breathtaking. Grand, populated with multitudes of steeples, the church is almost outdone in splendor by the gardens surrounding it. It must be the closest thing to European architecture that exists in America (in my amateur opinion). I ventured home, woke up early and sat through a long day of orientation. The State Department, I must report, is blessedly efficient. Full of lots of information in small time periods we are now on break before meeting to go to dinner at this fancy restaurant! Will write more upon arrival to Egypt.

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