by Luna

by Luna

Luna

Luna

Blog Intro

Hello, I'm Luna, and I'd like to welcome you to "Kisses from Kairo,"* my blog about living and working as an American belly dancer in Cairo.

Life in Cairo isn't easy for dancers, foreigners, women, or even Egyptians. It is, however, always exciting. That’s why after living here for seven years, I've decided to share my experiences with the world. From being contracted at the Semiramis Hotel to almost being deported, not a day has gone by without something odd or magical happening. I will therefore fill these pages with bits of my history in Cairo—my experiences, successes, mistakes, and observations. Admittedly, my time here has been rather unique, so I want to stress that while everything I write is true, my experiences do not necessarily reflect the lives of other dancers.

In addition to my life as a belly dancer, I will write about developments in costuming, performances, festivals, and, of course, the dance itself. I will also make frequent references to Egyptian culture. I should note that I have a love/hate relationship with Egypt. If I make any criticisms about the country, please keep in mind that I do so with the utmost love, respect, and most of all, honesty. Egypt has become my home, so I want to avoid romanticizing and apologizing for social maladies, as most foreigners tend to do. Nothing could be more misguided, patronizing, or insulting.

I hope you find this blog informative, insightful and entertaining, and that we can make this as interactive as possible. That means I'd love to hear from you. Send me your comments, questions, complaints, suggestions, pics, doctoral dissertations, money, etc., and I will get back to you. Promise. :)~



My Videos

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Birthday Blog

Today is my birthday.  In fact, it’s my third consecutive birthday spent in Cairo.  And yet, if you ask me where home is, I’ll probably answer “America.”  
 
I’m not sure how many years you have to spend in a place before you consider it your home, but the truth is, Cairo is as much my home as New York.  I’ve been living and working here for almost three years now.  I’ve sweat an entire Nile.  I’ve made friends, enemies, and relationships to last a lifetime. I’ve laughed and made others laugh, cried and made others cry, lied and made others lie. :) I speak Arabic fluently.  I’ve helped and been helped, encouraged and been encouraged, fought and been fought, loved and been loved.  I’ve been fooled, cheated, robbed and evicted.  I’ve been supported and cheered on.  I’ve had fits of laughter and fits of rage.  I’ve almost been arrested, deported, and killed on several occasions. I’ve even experienced a revolution.  In short, I’ve grown up here. And I have a few grey hairs to show for it.  If none of this makes a place your home, I don’t know what does. 



Just today, I paid a visit to Yasser, Khan al-Khalili’s famous costume vendor, whose wisdom I adore more than his costumes.  We hadn’t seen each other since before the revolution, and he told me that I changed.  My face changed, to be precise.  He said it had a certain “sweetness” to it that wasn’t there before the revolution.  Not the sweetness of innocence or excessive kindness, but the sweetness that comes after being dealt one too many hard knocks. I never thought about it this way, but maybe he had a point.  I have been through a lot, especially over the past 6 months, and I have acquired an attitude of careless resignation as a result. Well, sort of, anyway.

I guess what I’m getting at is that Cairo has been a sort of boot camp for me—a “life” boot camp.  “Life in the raw,” if you know what I mean. It is for many people actually. It teaches you how to be a human being without leaning on the western crutches of political correctness and boundaries.  It teaches you how to survive, how to succeed, how to deal with people, and how to defend yourself.  Cairo is the kind of experience that makes you complain, but that deep down in your heart, you love.  And, it offers all the perks of any great city (but with a few more kicks in the butt)!   

So today, in addition to celebrating my birthday, I will celebrate quite a few things.  I will celebrate the fact that I survived and thrived in Cairo for 3 years.  I will celebrate the approval of my work visa.  I will celebrate my work and my Egyptian residency.  I will celebrate every opportunity Egypt has given me, especially the opportunity to fulfill my dreams.  I will celebrate the fresh start I gave myself in life.  And I will celebrate the fact that for better or worse, Cairo has raised me. :)

7 comments:

  1. Happy b-day dear! and congrats for survive this 3 years I can imagine it wasn't easy;) I know exactly what You mean about Cairo I like to call it city jungle it scares You but You can't resist in the same time. F.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy birthday!
    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Your writing is inspiring, informative and uplifting. Keep up the good work!

    Best wishes
    Miriam

    ReplyDelete
  3. beautiful reflections on your BIRTHday....wishing you a beautiful day! I love your blog! sara

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you all for the warm birthday wishes and for reading and comenting on my blog. Happy dancing! - Luna

    ReplyDelete
  5. Keep writing I am enjoying your adventure

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am very glad I stumbled upon this blog. What a great read!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks Phaedra, so glad you like it! Feel free to contribute any time. :)

    ReplyDelete