Saturday, June 27, 2015


I'm currently sitting in one of my favorite little coffee shops, congested as all hell but finally over the last bit of jet lag. The 'lag is never that bad coming to the states, thankfully. It just means I wake up with the sun for a few.

Immediately upon arriving I found a routine and have been sticking to it. Get up early, eat breakfast, go to gym. Catching a cold was not a part of the plan(obviously) but I'm working through it. I haven't had a proper cold in a long time, and I found myself surprised by how much a sore throat and runny nose truly sucks. I guess I forgot? I also realized that I take effortless breathing for granted on the regular. Oh sweet, uninhibited inhales.

I'm enjoying this much needed break from the middle east. Today in Cairo there was a sandstorm AND an earthquake, oof. I've been spending a lot of time with the family, as well as a lot of time driving. I love taking the back roads with the window down, cornfields on either side. I've missed all this green space. Two nights ago I stood in the yard and watched lightning bugs morse code the darkness. There have been a pile of thunderstorms since my arrival as well. The first growl rumbling across the sky gave me goosebumps. It feels like a little miracle, watching all of that water fall from above.

My niece and nephew continue to grow like weeds, and spending time with them triples the volume of my heart. A few days ago at the amusement park, my nephew declared, "the back of my chin is sweaty." It took us a few seconds but we figured out he was referring to his neck. One evening I was sitting next to him on the couch, leaning forward, and he put a hand on my back and patted it gently. "I've missed you Aunt Nikki," he said. My niece has her hair cut just above her shoulders and it makes her look so much older than her eight years. She's obsessed with Mad Libs and it still blows my mind to listen to her read. To think I knew this little person before she could walk or form sentences, and here she is reading to me like an old pro. I love them both so much.

My father and I are back into our roommate routine. We take walks around the neighborhood or ride our bikes up the street to get ice cream. We have great conversations nowadays. Being near my sister is a bit like being reunited with a part of myself. I'm so thankful for all of my moments with them. And the true icing on this trip is that J was able to come to the states for a quick visit as well(we thought work would keep him in Cairo initially). He will be here until the 8th of July. I will return on the 24th. In a few weeks I'll make a quick trip to Pittsburgh to see as many friends as I can. I'm feeling pretty good lately. A bit more peaceful. I'm staying busy, but remaining mindful. I'm trying not to think too much about how "this will pass," and instead focusing on how it is here, right now in this moment.

I also received news of 4 poems being accepted for publication, which was a wonderful surprise. All of the poems were new pieces and that is always encouraging. Writing has really been on my mind lately. Projects are taking shape, but I am taking my time with all of it. I am learning to nurture my work, to approach it with more love and less resentment. More on that soon.

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