02 June, 2010

Ending a Chapter: The End of the Adventure

A sigh of relief. A breath of fresh air. It's been about six days since I stepped off of the plane in New York City...and it's been good to be home. Things have been much easier to coordinate from Baltimore than they were from Cairo. And since my life just doesn't stop for a moment, I'm glad I came home when I did. There is a lot to do. Graduations, weddings, film festivals, jobs, etc., etc.

Leaving Cairo was both an easy and challenging step to take. As I waited for my cab Friday morning, sleep deprived and yet somehow alert, I was sad. I didn't want to leave everyone I had met or some of the experiences I had had. Explaining to my bowabs that I needed to return to America was probably one of the hardest things I had to do before I left. They didn't want to believe that I needed to come home. 

The more I think about it, my time in Egypt felt like a dream. There was no way that it could have been real. But, it was and I was sad to see it go. And yet, there are still things that make me realize why I needed to come home when I think back on my time in Egypt. The people were beginning to get to me, and the heat was getting bad. But, the memories I made in Egypt were fun and an experience that I needed to have. 

As I left for the airport last Friday, I sat back and watched Cairo pass by. It looked wonderful in the morning sun. I wasn't in the best of moods as the taxi driver was late which made me worry about not making my plane on time. When I got to the airport, I made my way inside and moved quickly through the initial security clearance, and then quickly through the ticket counter. While waiting to board the plane I talked to a really nice lady from Texas who had been in Egypt on vacation. She really loved her trip and also recommended seeing Petra in Jordan to me. I may do that one day. 

We began the boarding process a bit late, but got through in reasonable time. Although they did pull me aside to look through my bag...they couldn't figure out what my external hard drive was, but I expected that. Finally, I was able to get on the plane. I was sitting next to a really nice guy who had just finished up his time in the Peace Corp. He was stationed in Hungary, but then traveled through the Middle East before coming home. We chatted for a bit, and then made an agreement to wake each other up when the food came through. This was particularly helpful as he was sleeping for the first time and I was sleeping for the second. 

The flight itself was fine. I don't remember much of it because I was sleeping for a lot of it. But, that was probably a good thing. Getting through customs in the States though proved to be great fun. As I went through the line, the officer asked me where I was coming from and I told him "Egypt". He asked how long I'd been there and I said, "five months".  He then asked, "Why would anyone want to be in Egypt for five months?" I told him for study. He asked what I studied in Egypt and I told him Egyptology...and he didn't believe me. He had to google it to make sure it was a real subject. And he also googled my program to make sure it existed. Wow...longest interrogation at customs ever. Baggage claim was also horrible, but that was just because it took forever to get my luggage. It was wonderful to see Geoff and my parents at the airport though. 

Traffic was horrible on the way home, but nothing compared to Cairo. We made it to the Poncabird, my favorite pub, without stopping home first. I got a burger and a beer and it was good. Everyone...or just about everyone...was there to see me and it was like a makeshift 21st birthday party. Wonderful. 

So, the last few days have been me lounging around the house, eating the foods I've missed and visiting with everyone that I haven't seen since either January or September. Mom took me to the grocery store the other day and needless to say, I was overwhelmed. It may take a little bit to get used to such a big place to buy food. Last night was the Plenary for Rudes and we planned out the season and today I get to see some more people and start a job. Everything is in place for this summer to be phenomenal. I'm excited. 

And that's it! My adventure is over...for now. I'm in the States with at least one more year of college to go and no plans to really travel outside of the States for a bit. So, sadly this blog must now come to an end. I'm sad to see it go and I will definitely miss writing down all of my adventures in foreign lands in it. 

As for my experiences, they will forever be a part of who I am, shaping me in everything I see and do. I don't think I'll talk about anything else for a while. My program managers, Kim and Matthew, were both amazing people to work with and they supported us with everything. I couldn't have asked for better people to help shape my experience. I'm not going to reflect much on things I did, or places I traveled to because...well, that's what I've been doing all semester. 

I have to thank everyone who has come along on this journey with me. Mom, Dad, Gram, Geoff, Manya, Emma, Steph L, Shayna, Grandpa, the class from Mississippi (that I was told was reading my blog), and anyone I've forgotten or who is reading my blog and I just don't know it. You've all been great and I hope you've enjoyed the adventure as much as I did. 

I don't think this is really the end of me traveling. It's just the end of this blog. Perhaps I'll reopen it one day, but at this point I'm unsure. If you want to keep in touch, you can follow my blog/portfolio. And there it is. I'm out of things to say, except thank you and so long for now. 

Best wishes, Becky

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