Water in my Freezer

Luxor has been kind to me so far. I’ll start teaching English in a week or so, and can expect an Italian girl and soon-to-be teacher to arrive on the 30th and accompany me in the apartment. The school is run by a woman named Affaf, who has taken me under her wing. Her nephew, Hamada (a common nickname of Muhammad), is 27 and seems to be in a process of discovering himself outside Islam. He and Affaf both speak English well. Hamada’s a very open character, and takes it upon himself to answer all of my questions. Today the recurring one was “Where are all the women?” – They are nowhere to be found outside. He estimated 15% of Luxor women work. But work is different here, occurring mainly in the afternoon and evening and six days of the week. The school is open from 4-10 p.m. and Hamada typically doesn’t appear until 5. This is the norm in Luxor.

I’m happy to report no harassment, save perhaps a glare this afternoon that had nothing to do with my sex or hair color. I had woken up and dressed a few minutes before Affaf knocked on my door. I opened it to find she was visibly upset, and asking me why I did not unlock the school at 4 p.m. as we had discussed the night before. I told her that I had let in the French teacher for her one-on-one appointment at 8 a.m. and assumed that it would remain “open” from then on. No. That’s not how it works. Apparently the school opens and closes throughout the day with changing class schedules. As Affaf explained this to me in a harsh tone, a man sitting behind her first smirked then glared at me and my unknowingness. I later found out he is from Azerbaijan and I will be teaching him mid-level English in the coming weeks.

The streets are never cleaned, except what shop owners decide to take on in their own areas. I’m covered in a permanent layer of sweat and dust. And apparently ants like peanut butter.

Almost forgot to explain the header: The electricity cuts in and out across the city at least five times a day. The British school teacher, Giorgina, told me it used to only happen once every two weeks, then once a day, now this. Glad to have brought so many flashlights, which I’ve gathered the school is unable to afford. Giorgina calls them torches, and says it’s what everyone in Britain calls flashlights. Anyway, Affaf put a bowl of water in my freezer before I arrived in case I should like to add it to a jug of drinking water at some point. It remained water last night as well as this morning.

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