Thursday, October 30, 2008

New apartment pics!

Finally! Fast enough internet to post pics!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My new apartment!

After months of broken promises from the American University regarding its very unsuccessful move to the new campus, the majority of international students have decided to move out of the temporary housing – before they move us to yet another location. My friends and I have found an amazing apartment in Zamalek, 5 minutes from the corniche, and right above a grocery store. What more could you ask for?

In other news, this week the AUC folkloric dance troupe started rehearsal. We are currently learning a beledi routine that is 10 minutes long. This is a sort of audition process. The choreographer is a very well established dancer and choreographer here in Cairo, and he is kicking out butts! The technique for Egyptian style taught by Americans is different enough, let alone learning from an Egyptian! It’s a completely different aesthetic, body posture, and movement from the tribal style I have become comfortable with over the last three years. It’s becoming painfully obvious how much raqs sharqi I’ve forgotten…nothing like six hours a week of practice to help me remember!

Before these rehearsals started, I had a private session with Astryd Farah before she left for the States. Her choreography was beautiful, and I appreciated the attention to detail of the lyrics of the song. Hopefully she will be coming to Atlanta in the future for a workshop. Besides her session and the session with Raqia, trying to contact instructors here is hard because everyone is teaching workshops in Europe or North America at the moment.

My music lessons are going very well. We learned Sidi Mansour this week in class. Dr. Wael also gave us a paper on the Early – Islamic era of oriental music. He will be giving us papers on all five of the eras of oriental music. We have to write summaries on each section, I will post them here for all of my scadian friends ☺ I’m going to start taking qanoon lessons twice a week instead of one to learn as much as I can before I go back.

As far as traveling goes – my friends and I are planning to go to Sharm el Sheikh in the next weekend or so and I’m going to Dubai!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Random photos with AUC friends

Here are a bunch of photos from some field trips we took before school started and during Ramadan

Pictures from Jordan!

Jordan Part I

Choosing to study abroad this semester in Cairo this semester was luck – both good and bad. Bad because AUC decided to move its entire campus to a new location when no one was ready including the new campus itself, and good because Ramadan was in the month of September, meaning that we got a lot of days off for the two Eids. For the first Eid, I decided to take a nine-day trip to Jordan to meet my cousins for the first time. Jordan was beautiful, and my family was amazing. I met all of my aunts’ children, their children, and I believe I saw every ancient rock in Jordan and then some.

My last name is Qaqish. Qaqish is a Christian family that has a long history that has thankfully been well documented. The Qaqish family has been in Jordan for the past 400 years. Before, we were a tribe based in Syria, and before that, we inhabited the gulf region. Our family is a Christian family, one of the few in Jordan. We come from the village of Salt, a small city in picturesque mountains close to Palestine west of Amman.

In a nutshell, we went to Petra, As Salt, Madaba, Mount Nebo, the Dead Sea, and Jerash. I also experienced Jordanian home cooked meals at their finest including Maqlooba, Malfouf, Kufta, and of course Mensaf!

The country of Jordan is cleaner than Egypt. In Cairo alone, there are 28 million people living in the city. Jordan’s population for the whole country is under 10 million. While Jordan is much smaller, it is also much less crowded than Egypt. The people of Jordan are very prideful and calm, and all are very patriotic and very proud of their King Abdullah and the late King Hussein. Amman is very different from the sentiments of the crowded and rushed cities of Cairo. Even the call to prayer seemed more musical and beautiful compared to what I hear in Egypt.

As Salt

My cousin Amer and his wife Joanna (and their 1.5 year old Faris!) took me to Salt to see the church where my dad and his 7 brothers and sisters were baptized. The church itself was about 450 years old, and we were there for a while so I could take photos of everything there. Before we left, I lit a candle to make a prayer. After wards in the twilight before the sunset, we drove around the countryside, up and down the mountains and hills that made As Salt. When it became dark, we stopped off the side of the road and I saw the outline of Palestine in lights.

More to come about the trip!