There is this thing that happens when you are unsettled for awhile...you learn to keep the ends of yourself that like to take root tucked in. You learn to be untethered. You pack your bags better. You learn the beautiful art of arriving, being, then leaving. You figure it out, even if you aren't planning to. We, us human beings, are quite adaptable. We will even adapt to impermanence. Which is why staying put was beginning to feel like the most bizarre thing to do.
I am here, and I no longer feel like a tourist. I'm enrolled in a school. I have an address, a flat to come home to(a flat to reference with the very word home). I have to-do lists and places to be at certain times--the making of a schedule, which I could not successfully find for myself in Cairo. I can walk home from class, at night, and not be bothered once. The cafe next to my school knows my face(and my order: pb and banana with a lemon-mint).
We had the last of our curtains installed today. I had to slip Egyptian one pound coins into the bottom hem to keep them from billowing out so much with the flow of air conditioning. The winter months are quickly approaching, which brings sweet relief after that relentless Dubai summer heat. Day temperatures in the 90s, nights in the 70s. The wind today was extra strong, pushing limbs out of the way to expose more of the nearby skyline.
The wind also mocked my budding green thumb by whisking away a plant of mine to the parking garage below.
For me it is the little things. Riding the metro with a perfect accompanying song in my headphones. Constantly falling for the afternoon light. Buying fresh strawberry juice. The beautiful, fluid nature of the rear delt crossover. Sand sneaking in between my foot and sandal as I walk home from the train. The mime I share nods with outside of my school. Stumbling on odd little charms.
Much of my days are filled with purposeful movement. I move until sweat pours. I have discovered a new poetry of the body. Muscles moving in melody. I've been weightlifting for just over seven months now, and my body has changed, bringing with it a shift in mind too. When I get stuck in my head, I go to my breath. When I get stuck in my head, I go to the gym. When I get stuck in my head, sometimes I stay there until I'm too tired to stick around. Some things never change. Most things do.
I can't help but marvel at how unaware some people are. The daily things. I get whisked away by the grind too, but lately I'm moving to dodge more and more people who are too busy looking down at their phones to notice that they are about to walk straight into a person. Bodies so consumed with getting onto the train that they barely leave room for people to get off it. Walking around in the Middle East in general feels a bit like a game of chicken. None of these things are surprising. I walk around listening to comedy podcasts, trying not to bust out laughing.
To celebrate a brief break in studying, I'm digging into a writing project that I've been kicking around for a while. For years, easily. For November I'm hoping to unravel some more creativity here--my shipment from the states should be arriving this weekend or next week, which means access to all of the writing I've kept--bar napkin scrawls, third drafts, class assignments, brainstorms galore--a nice file box of importance I put together in 2014 as I prepared to leave Pittsburgh.
More soon. I'm off to find some dinner.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
all the paper butterflies
Lately I've been silent on here for two reasons:
1: I am busy. Be it adjusting to medicine, a new country, to being in school again, new routines. In the brain and outside of the brain, the days go fast and the plate is full.
and reason #2: I keep waiting for the "right" time to update. I've been defining "right" as in: absurdly overjoyed, inspired, structurally thoughtful(as opposed to usual order of chaos), and bursting with stories and pictures.
Here's the thing: today I've been in a shitty mood. I don't feel well. I'm stressed out. My brain feels like a ripped open cushion. My body hurts and, in full disclosure, I devoured far too much hummus in one sitting for dinner.
So yes, now is in fact the perfect time to post something here, because life we know is not a blog. She is oblong and messy with good days and boring days and in betweens and out of sorts.
I go to school three nights a week, three hours a night--all lecture. Outside of that, I have hours of shadowing trainers and taking other(physical activity) classes to accumulate. I'm also doing a four day training split in the gym myself. When I come home from class, my brain is complete mush. The oatmeal made with too much water and left in the microwave variety. The first bit of the course is all anatomy and biomechanics, which is fascinating to learn about but also pretty tough. Lately I've been making flashcards for myself so I can remember the names of all the muscles. A quadricep is not a quadricep--it's four muscles, each with their own name. Our first exam is in 19 days.
Since the beginning of my new career commitment, I've been holding fast to positive, determined thoughts. I tell myself you got this multiple times when I am feeling overwhelmed by the information in front of me. I visualize what this will mean a year from now. I think about what my philosophy as a personal trainer will be to set me apart from the rest. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, and falling behind isn't an option. I'm working hard. Every night I have my school binders, anatomy charts and notebooks spread out on the couch and coffee table. I know that if I really want this, then I have to work hard from the word go. Despite a massive amount of stress, I'm feeling pretty damn proud of myself. I got this.
Meanwhile, I'm adjusting to a new dosage of my medication, which means two weeks of a fuzzy-edged existence whether I want it or not. I've been trying to identify symptoms before they get too wild--this adjustment period means I'm more tired, headache-y, and achy in general. I think I'm just about through the thick of it.
J and I have been searching for a flat, and we signed on one today. I think we will be relocating in a week. We've been in a residential hotel, which is fine for the purpose it serves. We have our essentials and can get to where we need to be via the metro or a taxi. But I think we are past the point of daydreaming about ruling our own space again, with our own things, etc. It's hard to feel settled in temporary housing. Real estate is a funny thing here in Dubai--places go fast. A lot of units are very similar to each other, so it's important to look for the little things that make them unique. The things we wanted in a place weren't too crazy, we knew what specific areas to look in, and we have a fantastic agent who knew exactly what to show us. We thought we had found THE place last week, but had to rescind our offer due to shady landlord things. I think we were lucky to have it not work out, in a way--it set us up to be ready to go for the place we did end up finding and signing for. Meanwhile, the bulk of our possessions are at port in Egypt, and the rest of mine are in the states...as soon as we have residency established, these two shipments will get the go ahead. In a few months time, we should have all our things in one place. International moves are no joke.
I'm carving out little routines for myself. J and I found a hotel bar with cheap-enough drinks and giant screens for viewing futbol and rugby. I take the metro to and from class, headphones in both ways. It's quite nice to take public transportation regularly again. I'm no longer getting lost when I venture to the mall(I was getting lost on a daily basis at first). There's still a whole lot of exploring to be done. The weather is cooling down here slowly(highs of 100 degrees instead of 108, that's Dubai's version of "cool down"), and I miss autumn's brilliant show back home--changing of leaves, the emergence of scarves, days of nothing but rain and grey. When you're used to it, and it goes away, there is a missing that occurs. Will I miss winter? Probably not. Fall always had a romance to it, I think.
All this, and writing too. My pen is starting to move again, after much agonizing over its stillness.
More soon. Time to study.