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?"