Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Poem for Scuba: Hurghada Dive Certification

Diving Sonnet I
Hurghada, Egypt: The Red Sea
Certification Dives: October 19-20

A fairer, finer morn' could not be found,
When on the boat we packed our gear away,
And all who sailed did make a yawning sound,
For tired were the folks at break of day.
A bumpy night of travel, less of sleep,
The students set their course for Red Sea Shore,
But troubles to their self the pupils keep,
Because they knew the day would give them more.
Then at first breath, first sight, first water's song,
When creatures of the sea first come alive,
The weary trav'ler's worries now were gone,
One goal remained and that was just: to dive.
When bus departed none were e'er the same,
Those who were students; divers they became.

Students of diving before our first certification dive.
The clown fish are my favorite. Thanks to Jess who used my camera to take these amazing photos!
Peggy, Beth and me, refusing to separate.
My diving buddy, Beth, going all rock star on us.
Some of the coral we saw.
Beautiful sunset on The Red Sea.
Our team of divers, me, Beth and Debbie with our instructor, Ahmed.
Pretty, eery fish.
Me and my buddy, Beth.
More from the clown fish. Actually, my favorite shot from this dive.
The AIS West Dive Team. This picture includes a dive master candidate (Jess), newly certified divers (9 of us), a couple
experienced divers and our two instructors.
For more pictures, CLICK HERE.

More diving to come this weekend when I visit Marsa Alam. I'll be allowed to have my camera the whole time, too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Of Circus, Food & Diving

This is a pigeon. Pretty soon, they will become delicious squab.
Squab stuffed with some sort of grain. Delicious.
The damage after my delicious meal.
I would like to post a bit more about food on this blog, as it is something I love about Egypt. Not just Egyptian food, which is fantastic thus far, but the different takes on international cuisine here. My eating habits have changed immensely and most of that is due to ease and necessity. I learned to cut a pomegranate and regularly munch on almonds and unripe dates. I eat the same thing for lunch every day and always look forward to it. I bought 30 pieces of falafel for the equivalent of 60 cents (TOTAL!) and every night for two weeks, I've had a falafel sandwich with cheese, mayo and tahini.

Autum and me before the circus started.
Two weeks ago, I spent the weekend with my friends, Justine and Chris, in Maadi. Maadi is an island in the Nile where many expats are located. It captures the feeling of both a city and a neighborhood and is very green with trees, plants and grass. I love it there and would consider moving, but the 45 min.-2 hr. bus-ride is a major deterrent. Regardless, Chris and Justine are AMAZING people who open their home to me. I get to spend time with two of my closest friends and explore new parts of Cairo. We went back to Al Azhar Park to see one night of a circus festival. Beth and Autum met us there and we were able to see three circuses: Cairo, Tunisia and Belgium. It was great fun and I've decided Al Azhar Park is one of my favorite places.

Love me a good levitation!
The breathtaking Tunisian.

Hilarious Belgians.
Last weekend, 9 of us went through intensive certification for Open Water Diving. It was a week of major textbook reading, 6 hours of academics and equally as much time in the pool with full scuba gear. This weekend, we are going on our certification dives and by Sunday, I'll be certified! I was very moved several times throughout this experience, because diving is something I always wanted to do but I was convinced I would never get the opportunity. It could very much change my life, because if I love it as much as I think I will, it may be hard to move back to a landlocked state.

Our gear before we learned to assembly and wear everything.
Wet suit!
I am struggling at work, still, which has made me more grateful for the brilliant experiences I have outside of school. I love my job, and I find myself especially improving in early childhood teaching. As frustrating as it is to be part of something so new and at times, crazy, it is also extremely exciting to be a member of the team that is shaping the future of AIS West Elementary School. I work with talented people and have already made lifelong friends. The rest will come in time.

Stay tuned as I spend the next two weekends diving in new parts of Egypt! First, Hurghada for my certification dives and then taking the five-day fall break to visit Marsa Alam and get some real dive experiences under my belt. That underwater camera case and diffuser will come in mighty handy, I'm sure!