Tuesday, September 8, 2015

everything is extra beige-y today

There is a sandstorm today in Cairo. I noticed it before J officially informed me via text from work--I could tell the sun was shining, but it wasn't hitting on anything. No shadows to point to, the sky a sort of blankness reserved for the moments just before a snowstorm hits....or, in this case, a sandstorm. I left for the gym with sandstorm necessities--sunglasses to protect my eyes, a scarf to keep the wind and all it carried out of my mouth. Things were still fairly calm on the way there--on the way back things were starting to pick up. Aside from the shining/not shining nature of the sun, you can see the way landscape changes in front of you. You feel like you are a very short step away from entering a sepia toned film. Grainy and beige, yes. The wind kicked up, and collectively shoulders of every passerby hunched up.

a tree in our courtyard, more layered in sand than usual

Things are moving quickly now. The moving company visited our flat to assess what will be packed/what will not. Shredding documents, sorting through the oversized bowl of spare change. We will pack our immediate things to go with us on the plane--the rest will be packed by the movers and sent to Dubai. We should retrieve it all in a month or two, inshallah. Sometimes the hold up in customs can take a while. We are all set up with a residential hotel, which will serve as home until we find a flat. The hotel is really nice, with a proper gym and pool, as well as a kitchenette in our living quarters. I can already tell that life is going to feel vastly different there. We will be hitting the ground running once we arrive--J has a few free days before work starts. I'm already setting up a meeting with a sports college to learn more about the personal trainer certification program there. I'm anxious, excited, nervous. All the things I should be.

This week is my quiet goodbye to Cairo. Everything feels more pronounced...it's that thing that only happens when you are leaving a place. The mind's finality, I guess. Shards of glass on the curb shine brighter. Cars parked more jigsaw than usual. A bus driver and motor bike stop in the middle of the street to yell at each other up close--even their fingertips touch as they embellish their hollers with arm movements. But they still part ways and drive on amicably. It's the nature of this place. Traffic builds to an impossible standstill. Three cars going the wrong way, two coming the right direction, another backing up into the mess. Pedestrians weaving the inches in between bumpers. Dust gathers on another vehicle that hasn't been moved in weeks, months. At night I like to stand on our balcony and look back into our own windows. On the outside looking in for just a moment.

Laila kissed both our hands when we broke the news to her that we were leaving--she told J he was like a son to her. I feel like I've felt so much here in such a very short time. For as difficult as it was at times, I am leaving Cairo with a very, very full heart.

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