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Published: March 14th 2010
I know I'm long overdue for a blog but time is just flyin by....soo here is a brief update:
I had almost 7 weeks off for the holidays. One week my good friend Beth, who I met when I was studying abroad in Chile, came for a visit along with her cousin Mackenzie. So Christmas was spent with them - I even had a Christmas treet - a surprise from a friend of mine. New Year's was spent with friends at a house party with lots of sangria 😊 I rang in the new year and was in bed soon after! A few days into 2010 I went to El Gouna - an amazingly beautiful resort town on the Red Sea - with the family that I tutor for. It was ridiculous - we stayed in a super nice hotel and they paid for everything. The father was unable to go as he had to work so I went with the mom, Dalia, her 3 kids - Nelly (just turned 6), Sandra (just turned 4) and Kareem (just turned 1) - my lil loves, and the nanny. We spent the days lounging around by the pool and eating lots of
delicious food and walking around the town. Dalia let me drive her car - can now say I've driven in Egypt - and she even rented a boat one day and had me drive around the waterways and lagoons of El Gouna.
January 15-23 was spent in beautiful Tunisia. Seriously, this country is a hidden gem - North Africa's best kept lil secret. My friend Ellen - who I met when I was first here in Egypt back in 2007 - came along with me and we stayed with the ex-boyfriend of one of my classmates. He's in the oil business and has a beautiful big house all to himself so he definitely welcomed the company. We walked around the city of Tunis, drank a lot of red wine, ate lots of Tunisian sandwiches - soo soo yummy - and lots of french crepes! Tunis is a beautiful beautiful city and will def be on my list of places to look at when it comes time to look for a job after school. Kes - the guy we stayed with - and his friends John and Jesse took Ellen and I to a coastal town one day and Jesse,
Ellen and I went down south to El Jem for a day where we say the 2nd largest Roman colosseum (after the one in Rome of course!). I know that this is just a brief paragraph on my trip but all in all it was just amazing and I would go back anytime!!! My cousin Ryan and his girlfriend came for a week at the end of January - it was hard cause classes were just starting back up and my new internship was also starting but I think they "enjoyed" themselves. I tried to show them the "better" parts of Cairo!!!
I'm back into school - actually the semester is halfway over - mid-terms next week (luckily I only have 1). Then I've got 3 weeks off for spring break - gosh I love grad school! School ends second week of May and then almost 4 months off for summer. My friend from college, Maria, is coming for a month at the end of May and we're hoping to do some traveling. For spring break I'll be off to celebrate my last 10 days of being 26 in LEBANON and SYRIA. Lebanon has been another "dream" country of
mine and I'm finally making the trip. I'm goin with my fav girl in Egypt and my sidekick - Amanda, and our friends Sarah, Fawziah, Catherine and my friend Ellen (who I went to Tunisia with) is also coming. I really just can't even wait. We know quite a few people in both countries and so are hoping to be able to stay with them. We're really looking forward to exploring Beirut and Damascus and drinking GOOD red wine and of course, eating Lebanon's infamous hommos (nothin like the American crap we've got goin on over there)...
Other than that life is good. I did really well with my grades last semester - GPA of 3.6 - this semester am taking International Refugee Law, Human Rights in the Middle East and a Methodology course (for my grad diploma for refugee studies). I'm still the Academic Director for STAR and also started up another internship as a legal intern at St. Andrew's Refugee Services in their Resettlement Legal Aid Project (RLAP). I listen to testimonies from Iraqi and Sudanese refugees (sometimes Ethiopians, Eritreans and Somalians) and write up their testimonies to submit to the UNHCR and US Department of Homeland
Tunis from above
We went to a bar on the top of a hotel in one of the skyscrapers in Tunis
Security (DHS) for their cases for resettlement. It's extremely intense and really we put a lot of responsibilities into our own hands as we have to make a legal case for each client. It's difficult to listen to their stories - I had one Iraqi woman the other day who was balling at my desk as she told me how a militia had kidnapped and tortured her because they wanted her son who had been working with the Americans in Baghdad. It's really intense work but its great experience especially since I'm working with refugee and international law (what I'm here to study) so its been an amazing experience to bring my classroom experience into the real life/workplace.
I'm actually in class right now but it's just reviewing some stuff on the Refugee Convention that I'm already familiar with so I though I'd take the time to send out a quick blog. I promise to write another, more in-depth and detailed one soon upon my return from Lebanon and Syria. Still waiting for some more visitors...have had 6 thus far and Maria in May so plenty of time to come for a holiday! 😊
Here are some pics
from January break...
Pics from El Gouna:
Pics from Tunisia:
Lots of love from Cairo!!!
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