Here and There (Photo Journaling for Bowdoin)

First, some very exciting news: I received my first letter in Egypt this past Thursday! And it appropriately displayed an adorable polar bear family! Thanks Grandma and Grandpa, it will hang by my bed for the next few months!

A lovely polar bear family from my grandparents!

A lovely polar bear family from my grandparents!

The body of this post is actually serving two purposes for me. There is a student creating an exhibition back at Bowdoin from various abroad students’ responses to photo essay prompts. Since I haven’t posted on here in a while, I figured this brief “photo essay” could serve double duty for me.

The first prompt was called “Here and There” and asked us to find something in our new environment that reminded us of Bowdoin. I’ll be honest, this one took me a while. The combined effect of living in a city of 4 million where January temperatures range from 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit and cars absolutely never stop when you are crossing the street made it difficult for me to find anything that particularly reminded me of Bowdoin. I do think of my North Carolina home whenever I spot one of Pippin’s many Egyptian cousins, like the one seen below.

Not a great photo, as these Egyptian street cats are both human shy and quite fast! I dare say Pippin's life is a bit easier and more luxurious than that of an Egyptian street cat...

Not a great photo, as these Egyptian street cats are both human shy and quite fast! I dare say Pippin’s life is a bit easier and more luxurious than that of an Egyptian street cat…

The view out my window in Maine on February 2, 2011.

The view out my window in Maine on February 2, 2011.

The rather different view out my window exactly two years later, February 2, 2013.

The rather different view out my window exactly two years later, February 2, 2013.

One obvious similarity is that Bowdoin and Alexandria are both coastal towns. I live even closer to the sea here than at Bowdoin (I am looking out on the Mediterranean as I type this), and the coastline here is generally beachier than Maine’s famously rocky coastline, but I did find one spot that instantly took me back to my first time poking around the Coastal Studies Center with my mom as a pre-frosh.

To the East of where I live, and past what tends to be some pretty horrendous traffic, there is a beautiful park called Montazah, and a group of us have gone there to watch the sunset twice so far. This is the one spot I have found so far where the rocks of the Alexandrian coastline recall the Maine coast, and watching my new friends climb out onto the rocks, I could not help but remember falling in love with Maine for the very first time, climbing out onto the rocks of the coastal studies center and feeling rather like Pocahontas.

Climbing the rocks at Montazah--sadly, I did not trust the bridge enough to go out there myself!

Climbing the rocks at Montazah–sadly, I did not trust the bridge enough to go out there myself!

As a side note, I thought you should know that feeling like Pocahontas is a longstanding tradition for me...

As a side note, I thought you should know that feeling like Pocahontas is a longstanding tradition for me…

As the sun set over Alexandria, I remembered watching some of my first Maine sunsets on my Chewonki kayaking pre-orientation trip. Both views were breathtaking as the sun set over the clear blue water. In Maine, the opposite coastlines offered little evidence of civilization, just endless pine trees, whereas at Montazah, the coastline was lined with Egypt’s second largest city, which has been standing here in one form or another since the days of Alexander the Great.

Sunset in Chewonki, August 2010...

Sunset in over the Atlantic at Chewonki, August 2010…

Sunset at Montazah, January 2013...

Sunset over the Mediterranean at Montazah, January 2013…

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