Friday, January 8, 2010

Begin Round 2

Hi dear readers—if you’re out there—I have made it safely back to Cairo once again!  Ilhamdulillah here I am once more in the land of the pyramids.  Rather eventful first week of 2010 I have to say, most everyone knows that my parents were supposed to be traveling back to Cairo with me, but actually here I am without them.

My father got very sick after New Years, and not the fun, post-partying kinda sick.  Turns out he had appendicitis, but it didn’t cause his appendix to explode, just perforate and leak infectious crap into his body.  So he was pretty messed up, and had an overnight stay in the hospital the night before we were supposed to fly out.  Looks like he will not need to have surgery, they are going to keep him on antibiotics for a couple weeks and then reassess, but there’s a 95% chance things will resolve with the antibiotics alone.  Hooray for that, but obviously neither of my parents were able to make it out this time, and I am so bummed.  Here I am with the time I was going to enjoy with my family snatched away and replaced with a good 3 solid weeks of “uhhh…I’m bored.”

“But Nicole!” you may say to me, “You’re in EGYPT, the land of amazingness and pharaohs and historic crap!  Surely, there must be something to do?”  To which I would say check out the receipts from my shopping in Seattle the last two weeks.  Broooke. Seriously though, I will probably go check out some historical sites that I was finally going to see with my parents.

I’m actually writing this first bit at the airport in Germany before my laptop spectacularly dies.  I am temporarily deaf at the moment due to the fact that I have tiiiiny Eustachian tubes (the thingies in your ears that are supposed to pop when you go up or down in altitude) and thus flying causes me to suffer and go deaf and all kinds of fun stuff when mine don’t do what they are supposed to do.  When I flew into Seattle last I had some major jaw pain and got a headache because my damn ears wouldn’t pop…time to see a specialist when I get back to the states I think because I’m flying a lot more often these days and I can’t have my ears ruining things!  Here’s hoping I make it into Cairo without my inside bits exploding!

Very, very strange traveling today.  At the airport watched a couple ravenously making out, slightly nauseated and slightly amused that I would not be seeing such a sight in a good long time.  Then on the plane I was sandwiched between a constantly-arguing Italian couple and an old Indian man singing along quietly to bhangra music on his iPod.  I always end up sitting next to old Indian guys, no idea why but they’re generally polite and quiet and unobtrusive.  Italian couple was definitely not, and it raised the question to me of when we as innocent bystanders should step in and say something.  She was crying a bunch and at one point he seemed to be making fake-strangling motions at her, but they were speaking Italian so I was nervous to step in and tell them to cut it out in case I was completely missing something.  I think I’ve also been back in Seattle for a couple weeks so my “polite innocent bystander who does not insert themself” sense is back in full.  How very un-Cairo of me where people will not hesitate to get all up in your business even if you are speaking a different language and they have no idea what exactly is going on.

So anyway, about two hours out of Frankfurt apparently someone started having “medical difficulties” of some kind.  I’m not sure what happened, but flight attendants were all converging on one seat a bit in front of me, and shortly thereafter made an announcement to see if there were any doctors on the plane.  Well you coulda guessed it—make out boy was some kind of med student or something because he showed up a few minutes later to consult with the flight attendants.  At the time we were somewhere near Amsterdam so I was majorly sweating it we’d have to make an emergency landing, I’d get stranded, yadda yadda.  Didn’t happen, apparently the person was okay and we made it to Frankfurt in time for me to…be sitting around in the airport writing this entry while exhausted and deaf.  Well my computer’s going to die, so the second half will be written from Cairo (providing I make it—actually, if you’re reading this I did make it!)

Here I am again!

Ok, I’ve arrived, seen the boyfriend, eaten pizza, passed out, woken up at dawn (yay internal clock isn’t working at all!), unpacked, put the place back in order, and am now ready to blog once again.  Flight from Frankfurt to Cairo was blissfully uneventful, except for running from the airport to the bus and the bus to the aircraft through the snow. The snow was beautiful though, coming down outside in huge flakes that those of us going to and from warmer climates paused to photograph and admire.  It was magical for me as I haven’t seen snow in a full year, and don’t often get the opportunity anyway.

There was extra security for people transferring to flights leaving from a certain terminal.  I’m pretty sure this certain terminal is where they are putting the flights to the Middle East because I didn’t fly out that way the last time I came through Frankfurt to Cairo.  Monitors hung overhead displaying news and more fear mongering about further terrorist attacks, people slumped around or dozed underneath, and out of boredom I found myself scoping out the others flying to Cairo.  Western families hung out together, looking forward to tourist season in Egypt, while a group of kids a bit younger than me sprawled across benches and chit-chatted to each other, looking like a red-shirted group of young missionaries for some faith or another.  A plainly somewhat rich Cairo family rolled up, carting two daughters and two huge garment bags from a bridal shop which they immediately commandeered an entire row of seats to lay out flat.  The twentysomething year old daughters were rich enough to have all the proper procedures and waxing and shaping to be considered “hot” by most of my guys friends, but underneath the polish and expensive clothes were rather plain looking.  I guess internal and natural beauty aren’t everything if you can roll out some cash.  I settled into a corner next to an Indian woman heading home to Canada and talked about school, living abroad, and other light topics I frequently address when home in America instead of talking about the identity-shaking journey I’m in the middle of.

Well, the transition is almost complete back to Cairo life.  Strange how quickly it happens where something inside me hits “reset” and I go back to just being where I am instead of focusing on where I just left and all the great stuff there.  I’m getting better at it, but it has been very hard to go back and forth so much between California, which I love dearly, Seattle, where my parents are whom I love dearly, and Cairo which I love on certain days and detest on others.  Today I am appreciating the sunniness and the warmth and the fact that the people I subletted the place to in my absence didn’t destroy the place and in fact fixed a couple things.  How sweet!

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