Sunday, April 07, 2013

Five, ten, fifteen

Five years ago I had a job in Cairo.  Four days a week in the top floor of this cool suite at the very top of a business building in Dokki.  Liked ordering lunch at work, three-day weekends watching tennis, side gig modeling for this artist guy, walking around town running into flower shops and nut shops (pistachios) and museums, sampling koshary and meeting people.  Did not like the mugamma, bureaucracy in the heart of town (near Tahrir) where I had to get visa extensions, travel permissions, etc
On my wall April 9th 2008
Five years before that April 4th 2003 I took my qualifying exams again.  This time I actually had to drill for the exam as opposed to just studying a lot around the topics.  Thanks to everyone who helped me prep; you would fail without pointed prep for this exam.  I hated having to work so hard for zero psychic reward. 
At the tests, I did a decent job maybe, at least I didn't just spend the entire hour repeating "I don't know" like the first time.  Then I sent an email invite to friends for a little get-together and went off with Sid to get stuff for a party at my apartment.  
On my wall on April 4th 2003
Had music and cartoons and drinks and nibbles and good people.  All the ingredients for a good evening of dancing.  Brought wine and cake for the colleagues the next Monday.  Crazy me insisted on being this sorta pretty, happy, clueless thing.
In two weeks, April 18th 2003 there was my favourite day of the Caltech school year - the Int'l Food Fair.  Afterwards I met this "kid" - he looked young to me - named Peter at this salsa place I agreed to go to with Corinne and the other salseros.  I would never go out, normally, except that I had just conditionally passed and felt free to waste a little time.
Salsa club night would have been a great time to get the guy I liked who had tried to "talk to me" at Lisa's birthday party where I'd had to explain that I had this thing coming up in two months which left me with no time at all and I would be free after that.  So I'm at salsa place trying to get his attention while he's running after some silly girl :) but there's this other person Peter not my type at all who tries to get my attention and he's not completely bad in fact he's a wonderful guy and we survive four months before this bird has to fly again.  Four months of fun and screw studying because I need a break.  Hard to think all this was TEN years ago. ------
Five years before that, I was in Washington DC, at the real HU. At this time guess I was fresh in America ready to work like a maniac for the A's.  If I had to take the Metro to get a haircut I took my Calculus with me and didn't just read the book like I read math nowadays, I had a pen and notebook to work out problems. 
My roommate L didn't have those worries, she painted her nails all day, this woman had pre-shower rituals and post-shower rituals and best friends and boys and shopping and events.  I thought she was such a slacker.  She thought I was such an African lol.
Biggest challenge I had was passing the 1.5 mile run at ROTC.  It seemed everybody else could manage the physical fitness tests (PFT - you know how the military love acronyms) and run.  But me, even the thought of going that many times round the track was intimidating.  My suite-mate Tara said "focus on your breathing" and suggested staircase climbing inside my building to build endurance, which was great because I could skip the cold outside which was one of key my objectives in life at the time.
So April 1998 I think I managed to do the run in only twice the fastest guy's time (yaaay!) and even if I did rubbish on the pull ups, push ups, sit ups etc. still sorta passed.  Got congratulations too, not conditions.

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