Back to D’Nile

6 Sep

A week ago, Patrick and I were at JFK airport checking in for our flight. In line ahead of us were about a dozen or so carts groaning under the weight of the largest bags you’ve ever seen, each about the size of a Ford Fiesta and probably packed to bursting with things like clothes from the Gap and cans of tomato sauce.  I assumed there were people to whom the bags belonged, because the carts would occaisionally scoot forward and we could hear rapid-fire Arabic shouting coming from behind them. We had been worried about the weight allowance but those worries quickly dissipated. After checking in, we took our bags towards the security scanner, only to be suddenly lost in a swarm of people and sedan sized bags, vying for the attention of the baggage handler. There wasn’t a line to be seen anywhere. It was every man and bag for himself.

We settled into our seats on the plane and watched in amazement as a lady carried on a 4-foot tall doll and tried to stuff it into a carry-on bin. Not only was it creepy to watch her violently slam a lifelike doll body into the bin, but it was ridiculous in that the doll was twice the size of the bin. An airline attendant assured the lady that there would be a seat available for the doll. Then suddenly, a man speaking Arabic plopped down into the seat next to me, gave a wink, and then got up and ran off again. It was 6:30, 5 minutes till departure time and the plane was fairly empty. At about 1 minute to departure, crowds of people starting filling up the plane as the call to prayer began over the TV monitor.

As the plane took off and the chaos died down, Patrick and I just looked at each other and realized… we were headed back to D’Nile.

Arriving in Cairo brought back memories of the panic and confusion we felt when we arrived almost exactly a year before. Rather than apprehension, we felt relief to be in Cairo. The airport didn’t seem as complicated and scary as I remembered. There were no white knuckles during the high-speed drive to our apartment. When we opened the door to our place, we breathed in the familiarity and were glad to be home.

Since then, we’ve been settling back in and resuming our Cairo lives. Finn has been a champ the whole time and didn’t seem to suffer any jet lag. As you saw from the picture below, he’s started to pull himself up. He’s a funny kid and everyday we see his sense of humor coming out. The boabs along the street where we walk were happy to see him and everyone has been remarking on how big he’s gotten. The church branch has grown tremendously, we’re up to about 80 people now. It’s fun to meet everyone and know what they’re going through as they adjust to life here.

Patrick goes back to work tomorrow and I’m sure he’ll have plenty to say about that. The new AUC campus is not even close to done. There’s no electricity in much of the campus, no air-conditioning, some offices are missing windows (not a good thing in the middle of the desert with blowing sand), bathrooms don’t work, there’s no internet. This could be a disaster of epic proportions. Adding to it, Ramadan has started, meaning that no work will be done for the next month, as people fast and spread grumpiness.

As for me, I’m settling back into my routine. I’m taking a belly dancing class and working on many new art projects. I’m working on making our apartment more homey and having people over more often. I’m enjoying getting to know new people and looking forward to a new year in Cairo. We’re planning on having many more adventures, so stay tuned!

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6 Responses to “Back to D’Nile”

  1. Dre September 6, 2008 at 11:13 pm #

    What a difference a year makes (and a good dose of home)! I vividly remember your postings of last September, descibing you curled in a fetal position in a corner of a strange apartment,nearly hysterical, and finally soothed by ice cream. You’ve come a long way, baby.

  2. Andrew Heiss September 7, 2008 at 11:53 am #

    There’s wireless in the library – I’m on it right now!

    I’m actually uber impressed with how much they’re tried to finish in the past few days. I was here on Tuesday and there was nothing – no electricity or water in any of the buildings. A/C is working just fine in most buildings.

    Just not in Patrick’s building. Still no windows there. At least they have electricity now.

  3. Kay September 7, 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    We’re glad to know that you are safe and that Cairo didn’t change while you were gone. We can’t wait to hear about more adventures.

  4. Alyssa Grow September 8, 2008 at 9:16 pm #

    It was so good to hang out with you guys a bit over the summer. Glad you made it back to Cairo safe and sound. We’re settling into our new life and schedule too (although Evansville’s nothing compared to Cairo). Best to you three.

  5. Whitney September 9, 2008 at 9:44 am #

    I had vivid flashbacks to Christmas time when you were describing departing to Cairo from JFK. Glad to hear that you’re back safe and sound with Sammy!

  6. Melissa DM September 9, 2008 at 11:47 pm #

    Sammy’s a great houseguest. We’ll have to make her do a guest post. A real behind the music look at the Mason household. It could be pretty wild, VH1 might even pick it up. A sneak preview: there was a massive grape throwing fight at dinner today. Finn laughed until he turned purple and we’re still stepping on grapes everytime we walk into the dining room.

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