Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Oh no! I'm one of "Them!"

There are many adjustments one has to make when living in a foreign country. The biggest personal adjustment I had to make was sleeping in the summer months.

No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get myself to stay up all night and sleep in the morning, you know, around 3 or 4 a.m. I understand why Egyptians go out at night, it's just too damn hot, but to sleep during the morning, I mean until 11:30 or 12:00 just seemed impossible and unnatural to me, and something I just refused to change about myself.

Well, it's taken me two years, but I finally did it. Of course I do this now when Hassan isn't here, and my friends aren't around. OK, where is everybody? Mira and I stay up late, yes, 3 a.m., which means we wake up at 12:00 or 1:00 p.m. (unbelievable I know), and then get going around 9:00 p.m. We go to the souk, shopping, or do whatever it is we want to do at night along with everyone else. It isn't the going out that night that bothered me, it was being unable to change my sleep pattern, and Mira's sleep pattern to stay up late.

Hassan's cousin, Dalia, tells me that she stays up late every night, and I ask her, why, how, etc. It's unfair for me to judge her anymore, because I'm just like her.

Of course, last night, or should I say this morning, at 4 a.m. Mira said "Mommy, let's just stay up all night." Right, I'm thinking. I told her if she went out on the balcony she would hear the Adhan for Fajr (Dawn) prayer. I just love hearing the Adhan, but for Fajr it's very special. An awakening of sorts. Well, she never made it to the balcony. Right after she said she wanted to stay up all night, she fell asleep watching Andy Griffith that we have on DVDs. So there I was by myself watching Andy Griffith, again, by myself, until 6 a.m. when I finally made it to bed. I thought that I would set my alarm and try to get up "early" you know, around 11:00 a.m. but it didn't work. I turned off the alarm and rolled over until 1:00 p.m.

Going out late at night here in Rehab during the summer is like trying to fight downtown Cairo traffic. There is no place to park at the souk (marketplace), and if you are lucky enough to find a place to park, I mean a legal spot, which are few, someone will double or triple park you in and you're stuck there in your car honking your horn until someone meanders their way out to their car to move it; on average about 5 minutes later. So, after getting frustrated with being double and tripled blocked in, I decided to park the car outside the souk and walk around.

I think to myself, what are all these people doing out at 1:00 a.m.? I look around and most are just enjoying the nighttime, smoking sheesha, eating, eating, eating, shopping, running around, getting their cars washed, doing whatever it is they don't do during the day.

I don't know how I will readjust my body to getting up early for school, but it will take some doing. I have read that to change your sleep patterns, you need to go to bed early by 1/2 hour every night. Hmm, it may take a month to get back into my "normal" sleep pattern by then. But then again, when have I ever been considered "normal?"

Ma'salaam,

~Marian

6 comments:

Cairogal said...

It's so hot, what else can you do some days? The alternative is do get up early and take care of everything before the heat of the day really sets in, but then no one else would be awake with you.

Anonymous said...

From L_Oman.

I had to snicker at this post because after five years of being here, I am officially 'one of them' too! We normally get up at fajr here and don't go back to bed like people usually do here. This summer, we had time off from work (about 2mos) and stayed away all the way 'til midnight and slept in until 9 or 10. For us, that's way out of the ordinary. I used to judge other people too, but I can't anymore!

Do you think it will be hard to get back to your normal schedule? And...just how hot does it get in Egypt? We hit over 40 here and I thought I would die a few weeks ago. It just sucks the life out of you, I tell ya!

You have a cute blog - I commend you for being so brave living alone away from 'home.'

Marian said...

Cairogal - Yes, I was awake early for 2 summers and found out there was no one awake with me, so I had no choice. But Alhamdulillah it's ok.

L Oman - Thanks for reading my blog. Also, thanks for making me feel as though I'm not alone in my feelings of awkwardness in being different. It gets about 39 at the hottest here, although I think it only hit 39 once this summer, but I'm not sure because I try not to keep track, I go nuts with temperatures like you. It does suck the life out of you, even my daughter said it does, and she's very active! Living alone w/o my husband has forced me to become independent and speak what broken Arabic I know. It's out of necessity, but if my husband were here, I would be relying on him for everything and would have never become as independent as I am in Egypt; and I am naturally independet; but then again, aren't a lot of women? Please keep visiting my blog.

Ma'salaam.

Anonymous said...

It gives new meaning to "Out in the Streets!" :)

Take care & keep cool. Love to Mira.

Laura

EVA said...

You know what I used to do? I always seem to wake early in Egypt--not always for Fajr but soon after--latest I slept in was 8-9 AM. Of course I had air conditioning so I could do any work in the house I needed to get done without sweating myself to death like I did the first summer I was there. Anywho, I used to get the laundry done and the ironing and the place tidied up by noon. Then I started making the afternoon meal about 12. By 2 it was done and we would eat, so by 3 we were all in bed for a nap. I found that nap a God-send. We'd wake up around 6 and have tea and a bscuit, then ready ourselves to go out. We werent in a hurry--we went out around maghrib after the son went down. We'd either walk for miles, or get some shopping done, usually be back home to eat supper around 10--and back to bed. So I was able to wake back up early again. That magical Egyptian siesta saved me. And BTW, I am so horrible with my sleeping patterns in USA--I nearly sleep all day and wake all night. I dont 10% as well as I do in Egypt and I have about 10% of the energy I have there to. My DR says I was born on the wrong side of the world!!! I truly believe it. And I never have jet lag going over--but coming home I have it for weeks. I think I belong in Egypt!

Marian said...

Laura - Yes you are right. I think of Bruce all too much . . .thank goodness I have my CDs. Enjoy your time with Lainie.

Eva - I completely forgot about the Egyptian siesta - thanks for reminding me :). For some reason over the past couple of days my body has begun to readjust itself to a more normal sleeping pattern. I am sure I will take my siestas when I get home from school; and then I will really appreciate it when Ramadan begins. Ma'salaam.