You read the title correctly. It is 87 steps up to our apartment and 87 steps down to the ground. The Dude keeps reminding me it is good for the glutes. Well, some days I agree and others I don’t. This is a campus of stairs. You have to remember that Schutz American School is having its 90 year anniversary this year. We are thrilled to be offered housing here on campus. Let me tell you why.
As we look at the buildings around us, we see highrises made from bricks and concrete. Many do not show any sign of air conditioning and as we can go out on our front porch or our bedroom little balcony we can see families in small living rooms huddled around a small TV either watching shows or playing video games. We live in spacious well-maintained apartments with maid service, laundry service, and the cafeteria directly below on the bottom floor. Jim’s office is a minute walk away and my classroom is two minutes not counting the stairs up to the second floor. Again, teaching in a spacious well-maintained classroom with huge windows, a sweeping view of the soccer field and children’s playground, as well as the huge covered basketball court.
This evening’s walk provided thinking time about the ability to have a secured and clean walk as Alexandria is a very old city, much older than the United States itself. It has very old buildings, many people, garbage on the streets and many live animals. Yet is has state of the art hotels, restaurants, and a magnificent library. We are living in history older than any book, any story, all unimaginable. Today’s trip brought that out as we learned about the history of the land we were enjoying outside of Alexandria. It used to be flooded by the Nile River and vineyards used to abound. There is rumour that Cleopatra may have been buried in the area. The people we work with know the history, proudly, of the land they inhabit. As we visited with different native coworkers, we learned so much. And after our little trips provided by our school, we come back to the comfortable apartments while those outside the walls of our campus are living quite differently. Many are living in very nice condos and large homes with servants, cooks, and drivers while others are living in very small condos with only family members to provide for the large family and they walk to work or take crowded vans/buses/trams. They actually walk in the narrow streets as they are obstacles, open manholes, animals tied up, and falling bricks on the sidewalks. Yes we are used to constant horns as drivers are warning the pedestrians to get out of the ways of be hit.
Taking time to listen, learn about history, observing a culture, habits, and hearing tales of long ago is inspiring. I look at my students here as living heritage of ages very long ago. I wonder whose ancestors may have been part of a pharaoh’s family or part of the slaves who worked here. The walk this evening brought more questions I will have to continue to ask as we have conversations with our colleagues. From the students to the parents to the colleagues and workers here at SAS, this is a tremendous opportunity to broaden perspectives and learn more about other cultures.
The 87 steps are worth the adventure of living in a new but ancient land. Are my glutes better and tighter, who cares! I do know my mind is getting the best workout with the learning I am receiving by listening to those who are truly a living history. We are blessed.
Living the Crazy Life,