Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ramadan starts tomorrow. Egyptians have been preparing for weeks now--the markets are extra crazy, and lanterns are being lit and presented at the entrances of shops and homes. It's an interesting time to be here. As I've mentioned in this space before, even if you aren't muslim, you do end up participating in various ways. No drinking, eating, or smoking in public/on the street, adjusting to changed hours at various places(like the gym), and many are stocking up on "supplies"(mainly beer from the delivery service). This time I will miss nearly all of it, as I am leaving for a trip to the states on Friday.

Ramadan display at local market

A trip home at this time was in our plan, but I am also needing a break from here. I've been quiet, focusing on each day and adjusting to my medication. The night sweats have returned, so I know the medicine is back in my system. I'm also much less foggy and my mind isn't racing as much as it was, thank goodness. I'm glad that I sought help when I realized I needed it. The past few months have been quite difficult. Now I am much, much more motivated to do something with my days as opposed to wanting to sleep the hours away or stare blankly and cry. Things in general feel much more doable. Still, a trip to see the family and a chance to really clear my head is welcomed.

Right now I am sitting in the hotel bar near our flat, having lunch and listening to an Egyptian and African discuss the current political climate here. This is somewhat of a Wednesday routine for me. I take my time at the gym and then come here to write, eat, catch up on emails.

I have mixed feelings about visiting the states. With each trip, the swirl of it gets bigger and bigger. Of course I will miss J, as well as my daily routines here and things I've grown accustomed to like call to prayer and the steady noise of honking cars and people in the street. But I am also anxious to revisit the sounds of summer in Ohio--crickets and train whistles and fireflies speckling the open fields. When I am outside of the states, I find it easier to read proper news--stories about things that are happening elsewhere, the brutal/beautiful truth of it. In the states one has to sift through layer upon layer of fluff to find out what is really going on. I always feel uneasy and slightly bewildered by how easy it is to slip back into my old life in the first world. Granted, not a lot of time has slipped by between my visits, so the ease isn't completely unbelievable.

It still isn't clear how much longer we will remain in Cairo, but I do feel the end of our time here approaching. I am doing my best to enjoy all the little details of here while I can.

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