Since there is about two weeks left until I go to Cairo, I have been reading various travel blogs on Cairo, Zamalek, and AUC. I got an email few days ago that informed me that I will be living in Zamalek, in a double. Zamalek is the old dorm in Cairo that is literally on an island on the Nile river, linked by bridges to the rest of the city. Wikipedia tells me its one of the more upscale, residential areas where the embassies, European restaurants, and related luxuries and such are. And it is almost a two hour ride from the new campus where my classes will be…which should be 15 minutes if there wasn’t any traffic. I have no idea who I am rooming with, where my room is, or any other information.
I am getting a bit worried though after reading so many of the blogs- the bathrooms apparently don’t have toilet paper or soap, there are cats often inside the dorm, and a case of rats by one blogger. I guess this should not come as a big surprise given my experience with Morocco and India in the past year. The photos of the rooms in Zamalek don’t look that bad at all, and we get clean sheets and towels every two weeks. There is only two dryers in the whole building, one washer on each floor. One blogger told me I should prepare myself to dry my socks in my room. And some of the photos one blogger posted of the bathroom was…gross. So I will have to bring my own supply for extra hygienic products. No big deal.
My mother over here is also making sure I get all of the essentials- converse sneakers and close toed shoes that I can wear until they tear given Cairo streets and the dust, light cotton clothes for the warm weather that is about to come, and lots of deodorant. I still need to actually buy by tickets to Cairo.
I have also picked my classes for next semester, but given what I have read from other study abroad students, the likelihood of getting all of them is slim. Intermediate Arabic, middle eastern foreign policy, topics on terrorism, and a class on propaganda…I guess I should not get too excited.
I am also getting a bit worried about getting worried. Once I get there, I have to register myself, apply for a student visa, meet with the international adviser, pick classes assuming I don’t my choices, probably shop in a city I don’t know at all for things I forgot to bring, buy my own food (I will miss Wellesley dining halls and the LuLu and the delivery guy from Lemon Thai here), and oh, attend class and do homework. I probably enjoy stress so let me savor this energy for then.
The next time I update, I will make sure to have an actual ticket there.