Perhaps this is the best English (or thereabouts) equivalent I have to my “-itos” from yester-years… It seemed a more appropriate title for the thoughts I have today.

Yesterday, I helped an Egyptian student fill out an online form so that he could leave this country on vacation and come back again for our spring session. The form asked for the mailing address of an emergency contact, and he and I got into a discussion about states, provinces and territories. I asked him if Cairo was located in a territory or a province and (poor guy) he looked at me absolutely dumbfounded.

So I tried again (why not, right?).

“Bloomington is a city, right?”
“Right,” he said.
“The United States are a country, right?”
“Right,” he said again.
“This country is made up of sections, called states. Bloomington is a city in a state; it is not the state or the country.”
“Okaaayyy…” he answered.
“Is Cairo similar or the same?” I asked.
“To Bloomington?”
“Yes, to Bloomington,”
“Cairo is a city,” he declared.

According to Wikipedia, Egypt does have sections¬†called governorates, that in turn are divided into regions, etc. However, this seems more an administrative decision to better govern the country, than anything else. It occurred to me after the fact that, since Egypt has been a country longer than most, likely its main inhabitants aren’t as different from each other as–say, they would be in other countries. Whereas this country had two large influxes of immigrants with many smaller waves in between, I often wonder if state lines were drawn around like-groups of people instead of regions.

Also, the Egyptian students are very different from the Saudi students, much (I suppose) how Israeli Jews are to those in this country. They may share their religion, but they are very different people.

I am still thankful for my time here, and the people I have been able to meet. In 15 minutes, I can learn so much about a student’s family, life, goals, country… the list is endless.

Take the time, Reader, and get to know someone different. You’ll be surprised what you’ll learn.


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