Get hooked up into a “competitive” internship or entry level position in an NGO. Think this is it: it’s only a matter of time before you are verified on Twitter. You start searching for good suits at Sarar. Silently squeal to yourself. Look farther way. Think you are going to make it. You spend 5 hours on Google translate writing a letter to your boss. Appreciate the auto Correct.
Spend the first few nights getting to know your fellow fellows. Get into a meeting in a 5 star hotel for the first time in your life. Get lost inside. Have people from news media and other fellows scoff at you for being confused. Go to a bar in downtown and be surrounded by girls with unshaven arms. Take too many shots, eat at McDonald's Look at your bank account and realize you've spent LE 2000 that week on alcohol, TBS breakfast, parking valets and a dinner. Silently kick yourself.
Put yourself on a budget. Visit Gad and realize that you can stuff your trunk with fries sandwiches and falafel. Buy a new prepaid phone line; start to be updated with Etisalat offers. Realize you've lost 7 Kgs because you walk 3 miles everyday. It’s the end of summer and the underarm sweat is still your top social insecurity. Think about how you would do terrible things to get access to the Marriott pool.
Make friends fast. Smoke shisha with them. Fellows and interns are friendly and chill. Everyone is from a different life. They are away from home for the first time, financially independent for the first time just like you; they are all coming for a 1 year program or they came to study Arabic and were lucky enough to find that internship. Whoa, Americans and Europeans are poor like us. They perfectly fit in Cairo, Cairo is beautiful.
Think about applying for a B.A. in Political Science, or Government, or History, or even Women’s Studies just to study abroad. Drink with journalists. Make out with a scholar. See more diversity than you ever have in your entire life.
Have your first day on a presidential campaign. Realize that people are interested in politics for very different reasons. You meet people on the other side, from the other “party” who exists solely to combat everything you believe in. Spend half your time answering phones, meeting people for coffee, getting recommendations from your boss about how you just have to talk to so and so. Email journalists for coffee. Realize that coffee addiction is real. File paperwork, run errands, respond to emails, work late. Bullshit your way through. Realize that your Oula Thanawy history book needs a revisit. Who put people like you in charge? You lose hope. Walk past Ayman Nour. Realize you have absolutely nothing to say to Ayman Nour.
Go to a campaign fundraising dinner. Eat too many hors d’oeuvres. Listen to politicians and professors speaking incessantly about themselves and what they do. Want to correct them, but you can’t. Want to punch them, but you can't. Want to jump out the window. Leave feeling defeated. Regret not leaving early. Go to Down Town or Zamalek house parties. After meeting 100 new contacts and handing out dozens of cards, realize you have not had a substantial conversation in what feels like days. Find out that almost all interns in Cairo smoke Hashish. Date an American intern. She shows you places in Egypt you never been to. Egypt is beautiful. The white desert is charming. Dahab is the best. And Cairo is one big beautiful noisy city.
Have nights where you have absolutely nothing to do. Feel lonely. Masturbate 5 times a day. Call an old friend. Skype with a coworker who went back home. Wonder what the hell you are doing with your life.
Pass by a homeless person on the way to Metro market. Read your girlfriend’s article about her useless experience in Teaching English to kids of Imbaba. Notice that most of the people in the campaign are driving Mercedes C 250. All of the office boys are very loyal to them. Feel disconnected to the reason you are in the campaign. Get frustrated with the traffic, stinky people, fake ugly girls, and overall insanity. wonders if is it health damaging to work with laptop laid on your legs. Feel guilty and powerless. You are not saving the world. You have not found a real job.
Realize that you are among your peers. Even though you are surrounded by people of privilege, you still feel like you’re in the right place. Life here is cyclical. Power shifts. Become jaded with politics. Abdallah Kamal follows you on Twitter. Wonder if you make a difference. Write a blog that was commended on by a minister. Think you just helped save a tiny piece of the world.
Work with different types of people. Feel pressured. Realize that people here are just the same as any other people you met, just better at hiding it. They creep slowly into debt, hang out in CJC and try to live off 3000 LE/month. Hate yourself. Party with divorced women and 32 years old ladies in O Bar. You have more than 9 pictures on CairoZoom. Meet people from Twitter. Meet people who work at JWT. Become annoyed with people who work at JWT. Politics have made you more judgmental. Become less trusting.
Gain back the 7 Kgs because of the free Pepsi. The country is messed up. Question your life path. Consider visiting your American ex-girlfriend while she in Greece. Discuss relationships and sex with an old friend at 3:00 am. Stop questioning your life path.
Get bigger more and more in the campaign. See people you only see on CBC and OnTV. Realize you are in the center of it all. Speak to The New York Times. Your picture is in Youm7. You mom calls, she saw you on CNN. Hear the President speak. He knows your name. Shake his hand. Stare at hand. Call your mom. Your mom smiling, that’s a blessing.
Pause on a beautiful sunny day. Smell the grass of the golf field of the Marriott.
Cairo is done.. Destination Doha