The working week can suck you in to a routine very easily. When the cycle of that routine is in motion it becomes very hard to break. You find yourself waking up each morning going through the same motions over and over again as though you were working on a production line or being stuck doing the same thing day and day out like  Bill Muray’s character in the movie ‘Ground Hog Day’

 Get dressed, grab a bite (if you have time), get in your car, drive to work, go to your desk, turn on your computer, answer your e-mails and phone messages, down 3 to 4 cups of coffee, order food, work some more, turn off your computer, brace yourself for the long drive home, get home and collapse. Then you wake up to do the exact same thing the next day. Does that sound about right for most of you?

 Well, that was what it was like for me when I first moved to Cairo four years ago. I knew  a handful of people so my social life was close to non existent. It was mainly work and no play. Until, I was introduced to a group of long time friends who called themselves ‘The Tuesday Nighters’”. The founding father’s of this group met in university and have maintained their friendship since. One of the ways that they did this was by meeting up after work almost every Tuesday to catch up on each other’s news and to just hang out. The idea grew from there and more of their friends and acquaintances began to take part in the weekly tradition.

 The day before or early on a Tuesday morning the ‘Tuesday Nighter gmail, e-mail thread would begin with ideas and suggestions of places to meet up for dinner, a movie to catch, a show to watch or someone’s house to socialize at. Tuesdays, like our weekends have become a sacred day. It’s a day in the middle of the week to allow ourselves to forget our woes, to relax and enjoy being in the company of friends who are guaranteed to make you laugh until your sides ache and the tears come streaming down your face.

Every Tuesday is different. We try to take into consideration everyone’s interests and the driving distance that they would have to endure. One week we might all make our way down to Maadi to go have dinner at Fuego just to give those who live in that part of Cairo a break. We might decide to give the people who live in Zamalek, Mohendiseen and 6th of October City a rest from battling traffic and go to La Bodega, Sequoia, Charwood or even Carnivore for sheesha and a meal. When we are in each others company we can’t help but be loud and laugh. On many occasions I have noticed people sitting near us look over and try and eves drop on our conversation or just burst out laughing. Other’s have a look of longing and wish they could be sitting with a group of people who are out purely to enjoy their time together. The waiters on the other hand might not always share the same opinion, especially when some members of the group spontaneously do an impromptu S.T.O.M.P routine, taping plates, glasses, empty soda cans and other objects on the table with their chop sticks. The secret to our enjoyment is really simple. We don’t really care  who has what, or who has the latest phone or designer hand bag or if we are at some swanky place, where we have to pay over 200LE to get in. It’s us who makes the place enjoyable, not the place that make the outing enjoyable. The most important ingredient of all is that we genuinely really enjoy each other’s company. Sure there are times when we have Alley McBeal moments and you just want to punch someone in the face for having kept the group waiting an hour, or for not being able to make a decision, but HEY! That’s life, and if you don’t let things go…then you just turn in to a sour puss and you loose out on having a fabulous time!

 It’s always nice to see familiar and friendly faces outside of the work place and on a few occasions new introductions to the group are made. Some grow to be frequent members while others think we are a bit too much.

 Our Tuesday nights out with each other give us that extra boost to help us trudge on to make it through the week.

The extent of our friendship and commitment to one another does go beyond just hanging out and dining. We are quite a close knit group of friends who are there for each other in times of need.

 If I hadn’t met this group I honestly don’t know what my life in Cairo would have turned out to be like. What I love most about them is that not only do we ‘CLICK’, we understand each other and we respect one another enough to be able to give our honest opinions about what ever it is we think and feel.

We enjoy each other’s company so much that we try and meet up for breakfast some times on a Friday morning at Lluceil’s, or arrange to have a BBQ out in Waddi Digla, going sight seeing in Cairo as a group to places that we know we would probably never ever get around going to on our own, having an air hockey tournament and sometimes just going away for the weekend to Ein Sokhna or even going away on vacations together.

 It’s important to have a group of people that you are comfortable with and enjoy being with. If you do have a group of friends like that, or if you find people like that. Hold on tight to them because they are very rare to come by. What I love most about being with my shilla (group), is that my guard is let down, I’m relaxed and I can be myself and not have to worry about what they are thinking or saying behind my back.

 If you and your friends have been bogged down with work and have been promising to make plans to meet up soon with one another, but it never happens because something always seems to come up. Well, maybe you need to find time. Your work will always be there waiting for you tomorrow, but friends can give up or move away. There is no time like the present. Set a date and make a plan and trust me, it will lift your spirits and you’ll be glad that you made the effort.