When I told President Doug and Sister Christa Bradford that I loved Egypt, perhaps even more than Jordan, they all but fell flat on their faces. "You did? Why!?!" Sister Bradford asked when she recovered from her shock and regained the ability to speak. "Because," I stammered, "It's green...and pretty...and I really liked the ward..." I was just as shocked at them for being shocked at me as they were shocked that I liked Egypt.
How could I go away not liking it? There is an old saying in Egypt that once you've drunk from the Nile, you will return. And I drank from the Nile, so I have to go back. (No, I did not pick up any icky parasite...let me explain).
Kirk told us a funny story about when he was young and in Egypt, oh so long ago. A native friend of his asked if he had drunk from the Nile. Kirk, outwardly disgusted, goes, "No! Who would drink from the Nile?" His friend then explained that it is a figure of speech that means that once you've had a taste of Egypt you will want to go back.
So, I want to go back. I realize that not everything in Egypt is green...once you stray too far away from the Nile it gets really dry, really fast. But I really do like all the trees that they have there. They even have lawns at some places. Can you believe it? A lawn. They water it...
I liked how open the people were. Granted, a lot of them tried to baksheesh us, but a lot of them really were just interested in us and wanted to talk with us. They were really patient with me while I tried to speak Arabic to them. They wanted to talk with me. In Jordan that rarely happens. People either want to ignore you or speak English to you.
I really liked the ward there. There were a ton of young families and it was really welcoming. They even arranged a special sacrament meeting for the BYU group because we were so late! They involved us right away, having us help out with music and so forth. It seemed like a lot of fun. Our branch here in Jordan is really good, too, but I just felt at home in the Egypt branch our first week there and that hasn't happened in a long time (I've felt at home in most of my wards, just not the first week).
There is so much to see in Cairo. We didn't see half the stuff we could have. There is so much history right around Cairo. I just felt that if I lived there I would never be bored. Here in Amman we've pretty much done everything to do within the city that is mentioned in the travel book. There is still more for us to do outside the city...but Cairo is just so huge that it would take many weekends of day trips before we'd run out of things to do.
Things are a lot cheaper in Egypt. That's just the way it is. We probably could have lived the whole summer in Cairo for what we spent in one month in Amman. Egypt was simply a lot kinder to our bank account than Jordan has been.
I've decided that if Andrew gets a job in the Middle East I'll be crossing my fingers for a Cairo assignment. (Well, for now...I haven't yet been to Dubai or Turkey, so we'll see how I like those...)