Knowing I wasn't going to get any alone time during my visit to the states, I decided to hit up a movie to "re-prepare" myself for American culture. I ended up at this romantic comedy which would have had little impact on me 8 months ago, but this time, it couldn't have ended quickly enough.
Here's the deal. Living in Egypt, something I have had to get used to quickly is realizations about things that often hit the awkward or uncomfortable button. But that is part of living abroad I guess...the consistent discovery of realities that have been alive in front on you all along. My moment of "ugh" came during the movie.
I realized that I get very angry with some in this culture because of their morality issues, and they treat me the way they do because of their interpretation of mine. The entire storyline of the movie was about this American couple who met, hooked up, had tons of pre-marital sex, had a baby, then got engaged. The glorification of this lifestyle was the entirety of the movie's storyline and I caught myself squirming...SOOO completely uncomfortable because of who I was sitting around. I mean, these people have stated that they think that all American women are sex addicts who have no problem sleeping with men who are not their husbands, and I now understand why they think that. I mean, they must think that is all we do...and that we all agree with it. It is in EVERY movie. It is portrayed as typical American culture. No wonder the men don't respect me. Ya know, I kind of don't blame them.
So there I sat, as the only American, amongst an audience of all Egyptians. I felt the eyes, I sensed the assumptions, but it was my own culture's fault. America did it...we are to blame. Hence my moment of "ugh".
But I am not better. I find myself having little patience with aspects of some Egyptian culture for their polygamy, their circumcision of women as well as an assortment of other things. It goes both ways: they think I am a piece of meat who doesn't respect myself, so why should they? and I get mad at them for being a product of their society. In some ways it is out of their control.
As I walked out to catch a taxi, the intense HOT air smacked me in the face, but for once I hardly noticed. I was ticked, but for once, not at Egypt, I was mad at America. It struck something inside of me. I am not sure how to deal with this. I mean, what can one do? It definitely put things into perspective. I felt very out of control, which has been the theme of my life in Cairo, but this time it was on a new level. I wasn't going to get used to this like other annoying things...this hit a nerve. I am living with these people to serve them, and be a light, so naturally I want them to know there is more to us Americans than what they see in movies, but I am thinking it is a lost cause. We do a horrible job proving them wrong. I am a product of my society, but not in the ways that they think.