Thursday, June 08, 2006

Personal news: ups and downs

There is good and bad news on this, my first day of classes. First, the bad news. I must warn you, the bad news is gross, so if you haven't the stomach for infestation, this would be the time to skip down to the good news section.
The bad news, is that the roach infestation in my apartment is major. And I mean, major. The day before yesterday, my roommate and I went out and bought roach motels and spray, and put them / sprayed it in the bathroom and kitchen. Yesterday morning, we found about 7 dead between the two rooms. In the bathroom, we found a giant living one, which we quickly sprayed and killed.
We haven't gotten to the bad part yet.
During the afternoon, I sprayed some more in the bathroom, and I sprayed at the entrance to my room, and a little on the floor. Bad for my health, I figured, but good for my sanity. Still, it was hard to sleep. There is nothing that disgusts and terrifies me more than large cockroaches (see previous post and reference to The X-files). It was hard to sleep. I kept imagining that I heard things, kept straining to feel if something was on some part of my body. At some point, I think I did drift into the lightest of sleeps.
At 2:20, I awoke to feel what I thought was something on my leg. I thrashed for a moment and quickly realized I had definitely felt some type of crunch between my left right thigh and the mattress. For a moment I waited in bed. Finally, I got up, and flipped on the light switch. As I turned to look back at my bed, I saw a large roach on its back struggling to live. I looked down, and freaked out. There was another on my hip, near the waistband, inconceivably on its back, stuck to my underwear fabric, also struggling. I smacked it away, then grabbed my sandal I smacked the one on my bed. I was breathing hard, stressed, and ultimately, flipping out. "Unbelievable," I thought. At 2:30, my evening of sleep had ended. And right before the first day of class. How could I turn my light off? I could have sprayed the repellent behind and under my bed, but I decided that sleeping with such odors rising through the mattress was probably a bad way to go. I sat up, thinking how terrible it was going to be to have to move. I like the neighborhood I'm living in. I just joined a gym. I have a spot picked out, a local tea shop with nargiles (water pipes), to watch the world cup, which starts on Friday. Still, I knew I couldn't live with the problem I'm living with. I thought about lost money. The rent, plus the security deposit, plus the 'finder's fee' came to about 400 bucks, more than my monthly stipend.
This morning, we spoke to the landlord about the problem, An exterminator is coming in this afternoon. If it doesn't work, I'll be moving out next week. Will keep you posted. This is the grossest post I've written (and hopefully the grossest one I will write).

On to the good news. I arrived at opening orientation groggy (on only about 2 1/2 hours of sleep), but with caution optimistic for my first day. First, there was a speech about what the summer session will be like. An hour 40 of classical Arabic will be followed every day by 2 1/2 hours of Egyptian dialect. The entire summer's syllabus will be focused on Egypt - culture, politics, history, literature. Then, I headed to my first at 10. It was awesome. As the teacher began the introduction, I realized I hadn't seriously studied Arabic since Middlebury College, where I spent my 2004 summer. Since then I've taken an Arabic course at Penn, and gone to Syria, but I haven't taken a real Arabic course, with real homework (or at least with real homework that I did). Coming to Cairo, I worried if I actually still enjoyed studying verbs and nouns. Within minutes, that fear disappeared. I actually got a jolt of adrenaline as I realized how psyched I was to study vocab. It's now official, I am a nerd. But at least I now feel excited about the year.


At 8:14 AM, Blogger Eva said...

Wow, you really know how to convince a girl to come visit you.


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