Cheers: A Cairo Reflection After My Day 1

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.

Making your way in the world today.

Takes everything you’ve got.

[I cried for days before the flight here. Packing. Moving. See-you-laters rather than Goodbyes. A one-way ticket to Cairo and the unknown. No dependents. Just me.]

Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away?

Hard to leave the city of big shoulders. Cried part of the way from Chicago to Zurich. But then was comforted by the free wine and chocolate.

From those luscious Alps in Zurich, to the same plane landing in a majestic sand box. From my airplane window in seat 34K, I saw Greek islands and three surreal pyramids dominating the landscape.


Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,

[It is strange being so anonymous so far in Cairo. Got lost today just two minutes from my apartment in Garden City and the guy I asked for directions assumed I was Russian.]


and they’re always glad you came.

The Fulbright people left fresh fruit and bread on the table for me. Milk, water and cheese in the fridge. And the TV was put on CNN.

You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same

Riders of a Cairo minibus needing to get out and push, causing traffic havoc.

[Maybe soon I’ll ask why everybody here has carpet on the dashboards. But first I need to figure out why whenever I tell a shop owner that I need to buy a basic toaster, they point me to a panini press.]

You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

[A guy named Tarek picked me up at the airport with a sign featuring the Fulbright logo and the name, Mr. Shawn Lent. He was embarrassed by the error. I was not at all. He also didn’t like my insistence on carrying my own things. But after a few minutes getting him to laugh and getting to know one another, he was okay with me crouching down and lifting the luggage trolley over all the curbs in the parking lot. We became a team and all was good.]

Where everybody knows your name,

[My name is not Honey. And I am not a cat. So the patronizing hisses and gross cat calls I got from the guards of the Canadian Embassy this afternoon were completely ignored.]

[Door guy of my apartment building is named Ali. He talks loud and sits just outside my door. He is the key to both my safety and my freedoms.]

And they’re always glad you came; [Friend Ramy helped me get SIMM card sorted and settled in to the hood. Much gratitude. Would have been entirely lost in translation without that help.]



Where everybody knows your name,

And they’re always glad you came…


Corniche El Nile. View from my new front door.


*** Lyrics: Where Everybody Knows Your Name by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo – From ‘Cheers’

***The views and information presented in my blog are my own and do not represent the U.S. Department of State or the Fulbright Scholar Program.


  1. jennifer

    inspired already. one step…and then another…and another…

  2. Bev

    Hi Shawn, loved the pictures, cheers song and posts, keep them coming. My only question is, Your door guard Ali sits righr outside your door, like he’s right there, no fences or gates? Is he there all day and someone else comes later? Need to explain that to me. Are you scared where you live? thanks, Bev PS love ya

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