Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Up South

On Sunday, November 18, AUC put on a Thanksgiving dinner for all the dorm residents at Marwa Palace. I was looking forward to this event even though I had doubts about the food. So on Sunday evening at 7:30, all the Marwa residents gathered upstairs for our Thanksgiving festivities. Of course the students showed up at 7:30 American and the food arrived at 7:30 Egyptian, but this should come as little surprise after 3 months in Egypt.

In general, the meal can be described as a good attempt that fell a little short. The turkey wasn’t very good as it was served as part of a rice dish. The mashed potatoes and gravy were actually quite good, but this was paired with sub-par side dishes. The best part was the pie. The girls, who all live in apartment-style housing with kitchens, baked a bunch of apple and sweet potatoe pies. I was really in the mood for pumpkin and pecan, but these were close enough. Although it was nice to have a celebration with friends, Thanksgiving dinner just wasn’t the same without family, Lions football, and a 40% chance of snow.

For my latest STAR English class, I wrote up a short essay on Thanksgiving. My students are very curious about anything American, and it doesn’t get much more American than Thanksgiving. I explained the origins of Thanksgiving dating back to the pilgrims and Squanto and how the Indians helped the first settlers survive. I then tried my best to explain Thanksgiving dinner and all the traditional foods. I even taught them the phrase, “That’s as American as apple pie,” which is kind of hard to do especially since there is no Arabic word for pie. I’m hoping to bring in an apple pie for the final class. Educational theorists are always talking about the importance of interacting with the language and the culture—a good excuse to eat pie if you ask me.

On Thursday, the real Thanksgiving Day, AUC has no classes. I’m taking this opportunity to visit Luxor and Aswan, the two largest cities in “Upper Egypt,” which means southern Egypt. After living most of my life discussing excursions to “Up North,” Michigan, I still haven’t got used to the fact the Upper Egypt is in the south. The reason for this is the simple fact that the Nile River flows south to north, so traveling up river means moving south.

So instead of spending my Thanksgiving with family in Michigan, eating excessive amounts of food, and watching Lions football, I’ll be sightseeing in the Valley of the Kings. It’s not very festive, but there’s always next year.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family, friends, and blog readers!

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