Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I hate AUC.

Well, I should probably start by giving you an update on Operation Spiritual Warriors. I ended up dragging Emily with me the next day to see the movie and attempt to get a DVD. When Jsu saw I had returned, he yelled, "I love you, man!" I bet you're pretty jealous. They all seemed thrilled at my return, especially Rick Ojeda, who seems only half-heartedly to support this freaky religion. I kind of thought he'd slip me a note during the movie warning me to escape while I had a chance, but I guess they've brainwashed him enough to stop him from trying to save others from his fate.

Emily thought the movie was even better than how I described it to her, verifying my suspicions that it is, in fact, impossible to accurately portray with words. She practically ripped through the skin on my leg from gripping it in an attempt to stop from laughing. She particularly liked the sex scene (with the not-so-subtle song in the background, whose chorus is, "I am inside you") where Jsu clearly takes advantage of the situation and improvises a breast grab - while the woman is speaking her line! The professionalism killed me.

We then sat through another awful question and answer section. The first question was from the woman sitting next to me, who decided to challenge Megan's question from yesterday: "Last night, one of the Americans asked what you expected the audience to get from the movie, but I thought it was very spiritual and moving, and that's why I came back today." Give me a break. Then an American in the back row piped up with her awesome question: "In a spiritual movie like this, where you're attempting to pass along your religious beliefs to the audience, don't you think style distracts from subject? I mean, it's hard for me to stay involved with the spiritual storyline when I'm being distracted by demons and special effects." Suck it, Jsu! He clearly had no idea what to say to a question like that, so he just said that he wanted to make a cool movie filled with sex and violence. Classy. Between Megan's question the night before, and this girl's question, I was feeling pretty proud to be an American.

The best part of the question and answer segment came when Jsu said he thinks the movie will have "cult success". I swear, the irony almost made my forehead split in half (Spiritual Warrior reference!). FInally, people stopped asking him stupid questions about what sort of camera he used to film it all, and we were free to go. As I nervously approached him, practicing my lies ("I have a friend who is really into spirituality, so I think this DVD would really make a great Christmas present") some other loser asked Jsu where he could get a copy of the DVD. Jsu told him to sign up for the mailing list on the website, and he would be notified of the DVD release through there, probably around March. Damn! So, I left, utterly defeated, and having seen Spiritual Warriors twice in two hours. That was probably the lowest point in my entire life.

Since then, I have pretty much finished this semester. Classes are out, and I have already completed two of my four finals, as well as the paper that is due on Thursday. All I have left is a final on Saturday, and a final on Sunday, and then I'm home free. You know how impossible it is to concentrate during finals week at home, when Christmas is right around the corner, and you are sick of the material you've been studying for the past semester? Try doing that, but you're being tested on a language that's been dead for over 2000 years, and that language is the only thing keeping you from seeing your friends and family, whom you haven't seen in four months.

The word on everyone's lips these days is, "America." Even the kids who were so die-hard about Egypt when we got here can only talk about home. It's extremely easy to fall in love with Egypt if you only visit for a few weeks at a time, and then get back to normal civilization, but once you live here for any substantial amount of time, it really can make you dislike the country, which is unfortunate. I know I'll love it in retrospect from the comfort of the United States, but right now we all just want out.

Don't get me wrong, I've had the greatest four months of my life out here, but it's definitely time to go home. Cairo can feel extremely stuffy at times - a city half the size of Paris with four times the people can do that. Plus it's in the middle of the freaking desert, so it's a hassle to get anywhere other than Cairo. And once you've done all the touristy stuff (which can be done in a day or two, really), there's not much more to do than... well, drink. So I think a return to normal life will actually be a good thing.

Okay, enough bashing Cairo. Lets focus on how terrible AUC is, shall we? You see, before we go home, we have to tell AUC where we want our transcripts sent, so our grades and credits transfer. Should be a simple process, right? Not at AUC! We have to go to the Student Services office, which is run almost exactly like the DMV. You take a number, and sit and wait for your number to be called. From every student that has gone through this process, I hear the sitting and waiting takes over an hour. And this is only to get the freaking form! I could suggest a million different options - sending the form out in an e-mail, having one employee whose only job is handing out the forms, or, I don't know, putting the forms in a pile on a desk for you to just walk in and grab?! Once you have the form, you have to go to about five different offices to get various people to sign off to say that you don't have any book checked out of the library, and you've paid all your fees, etc. etc. Then you return back to the stupid Student Services office, where you take another number, and wait for another hour. Just to hand the form back in. And the final kicker? The office is only open from 9-1 on weekdays. So there's almost no way you can get in and out on the same day, unless you're very lucky. Beckett and I will be attempting to beat the system tomorrow, but I'm sure it'll end up being a two-day process.

All that's left between me and the United States: the stupid transcript process, handing in a paper, taking two ridiculously easy finals, packing, cleaning, celebrating Beckett's birthday. Tomorrow will be my last day of being a tourist for a while - Beckett still has not seen the pyramids in the four months we've been here, so Beckett, Emily, and I are heading out there to hopefully ride horses, and definitely to touch the pyramids. And then tomorrow night comes my first and worst goodbye - Emily is leaving early to travel in Jordan until she goes home. I don't know what I'm going to do without this girl I've seen every day since we became friends literally three hours after I landed in Cairo. Luckily she lives in Chicago, so I'll see her at home. But Jesus, saying goodbye is going to suck.

I promise this is my only "Cairo sucks" post. The next one (maybe my last?) will be looking back on how amazing this has all been. Because, let's face it, this whole four months has been more than surreal. Oh, and happy last night of Hanukkah.

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