free stats Carmen's Web: Lessons learned
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Lessons learned
I came home last night prepared to just spend the evening at home and do my work, but my roommate came in and insisted I go out. I was still resistant, but he refused to allow me to stay at home. Kept insisting that it's sinful to stay in the house on a Friday and decided at the last minute to just step out with him, even for a little bit. He took me over to his old place, which is a HUGE apartment with five bedrooms where people live L'Auberge Espanol style. Met his old Swedish roommate, hung out for a while before we made our way to the Kabul Youth Hostel. I've never been to a youth hostel. They're fucking wild!! I don't know if it's because I'm getting older, but the kids were just way too hedonistic!!!! I'm not sure if I would've even liked them at a younger age...

Rob needed to say hello to a friend at the hostel and I met his old boss, a Moroccan named Mohamed. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on him that he was an Arab, so kept my distance, but then Rob made the introductions ("Mohamed, this is my roommate"). "Where are you from?" he asked. I said New York and Rob had to jump in and say that my parents were from Egypt. "EGYPT!!! You speak Arabic!" and it all went downhill from there. He started calling every single Arab who worked there to come to speak to me....Apparently they love Egyptians and the Egyptian accent, and I felt like a doll on display ("say something! We love your accent!! Say something else!!!!). And of course they brought out all the typical Egyptian trademarks ("Adel Imam is the best...have you ever met him??!! Dina's hot! Hakim was here not long ago!") Couldn't get out of there quick enough.

When we left we went to meet some of our classmates at a falafel place, and by this time I was so desperately hungry (hadn't eaten all day) and I succumbed and had one. I knew it might not be good for my system, but God I was desperate. Thankfully nothing happened after only one sandwich. We hung out there for a while and I spoke to Cay, one of my classmates, for the first time. It's funny...we're stuck in the same classroom for hours on end during the day but this is probably the first time we've actually exchanged more than two words with each other.

We moved from the falafel place to a dark, balmy bar that was playing what I can only describe as Spanish polka music. It was the oddest sound I'd ever heard. Met one of my classmates' oldest friends from Germany, Michael, and we just started talking for the rest of the evening. I had initially wanted to step out with Rob and then leave early to go check out a salsa club, but since I was out with people I thought it might be better to just stick around, and do the salsa thing any other time. The conversation with Michael was also the most interesting conversation I've had in a really long time.

After a while they wanted to change venues but I was already super tired by
then and just wanted to go home. Michael and I exchanged numbers so we can meet up for lunch today (he's leaving for Germany this evening) and was going to have lunch with some of his friends and said he'll let me know so I can come out. Although I should work on my lesson plan, I know how important it is to step out and interact with actual human beings.

So the first moral of the story is to accept any invitation to go out, even if
you don't really want to. At one point I was going to strangle Rob for not leaving me alone, but he knew that I needed to go out and that's why he kept insisting as much as he did to get me to MOVE. I caved in only to shut him up. It's a good thing he was so insistent because I met some interesting people and saw decadent Barcelona at night.

The second moral of the story is that by being anti-social (due to shyness in my case) you end up missing out on some great people. I have a tendency to stand in a corner holding up the wall on social occasions. Usually avoid talking to anyone for two reasons really: 1. they won't be interested in anything I have to say, and 2. I won't be interested in anything they have to say.

I personally wouldn't have spoken to Cay if we hadn't been standing so close to each other. Which would've been stupid because we had a lot to talk about and had great conversation. I also wouldn't have spoken with Michael for the same reason (we were both standing alone and it just seemed
natural) and we didn't stop talking for over an hour. It wasn't forced, just kinda flowed from topic to topic, and we both seemed genuinely interested in what we were saying to each other...definitely went off on tangents, but were able to pick up the threads pretty easily.

Should get off and do some work. Cay invited me to a Hawaiin party tonight and am supposed to be meeting up with Michael a little later on...
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 9:14 AM
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Who: Carmen

xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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