Friday, August 27, 2010

Future Plans

Medora becomes quite a different town once the end of August is reached. Last summer I never experienced the "ghost town" of Medora, but I'm experiencing the first part of it now... After Labor Day, most of my friends within Medora will be gone. With that said, I'm ready to leave here. Hopefully a job pans out in the near future.

I'm looking into grad school, but have had difficulty choosing between Museum Studies and Middle Eastern Studies. After talking to my friend Abby for awhile tonight, I discovered NYU's MA in Near Eastern Studies and Museum Studies--which would allow me to have the best of both worlds!!! :) (Yet again. Some of you may remember that I did the same thing with my BA degree in History and English.) I think I will still apply to the University of Milwaukee's Public History/Historic Preservation program, too...

I can't explain just how much I'm missing Egypt and MESP this summer. I can't believe it's been a year since I left on the program. In between job searches across the United States I periodically search for job listings in Cairo, too. What I wouldn't give to be in my flat on Shaara El Fardous, Agouza, Cairo right now...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

People often ask me what it is that I miss most about Egypt and MESP. I'm still not sure that I can give a detailed answer to that question. My answers center around "the people, the food, the language, the culture" -- just enough to satisfy them, without actually giving a direct answer. I miss different things at different times, but the "reverse homesickness" never goes away.

This summer, I'm back in Medora. I've missed the town and its people a lot over the past year and have realized that historic preservation may be the career path I choose to follow in the future. I've started an application for graduate school at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee that is due Sept. 1. And although I'm hopeful that I will get accepted for the Spring 2011 semester, I often will surf the internet looking for job postings in Cairo or "facebook-stalk" MESPers, looking at their pictures and remembering my own experiences in those places.

One of the things that I've been meaning to do this summer is to write a few personal memoirs of my experiences in Egypt. However, as of yet, I have been unable to write something I feel comfortable showing anyone. Perhaps by the end of the summer I will have come up with something.

Cairo, inshallah someday I will return to you...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Poem for the Future

The Future

by Rainer Maria Rilke

The future: time's excuse
to frighten us; too vast
a project, too large a morsel
for the heart's mouth.

Future, who won't wait for you?
Everyone is going there.
It suffices you to deepen
the absence that we are.

Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Friday

This morning I got to sleep in...until 8:30! I don't have any more classes left for college, just 4 exams, my Senior paper, a violin jury, and a photography portfolio review. Crazy!

I'm starting to get at least a little excited for the summer, though. I plan to go back to Medora and it will be good to see everyone from that area again. I've missed them over the school year. I do wish there was some possible way to go back to Cairo. I miss the people, the food, the language, the culture in general...perhaps someday I will find a way to go back.

In the meantime, I wrote an essay on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the United States involvement. I think I'm going to try to get it published somewhere...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Already? But...but...but...

I'm not ready to graduate yet... How can there possibly be only 2 weeks left in the school year?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Graduation? Am I Old Enough For That?

Right now, I'm sitting in my Southview Apartment living room watching The Bourne Ultimatium with papers concerning my Senior Sem paper strewn all over the couch next to me. 11 revised pages, that's all I have. I need 9 more, and right now, I'm ready to throw it all out the window... The paper is going better, flowing better, sounding better, but I'm still not happy with it.

Facebook is open on my computer--flipping through MESP pictures. Mine, my friends, MESPers I've never heart aches for Egypt. I never thought that I could miss a place as much as (or more) than I miss home, but since I've returned to America, I'm constantly thinking about the Middle East and trying to find ways to get back. Right now, it's (seemingly) not financially feasible, but it's my goal to get back sometime in the coming years.

I graduate in 19 days (soon to be 18). I can't believe how quickly the years went by. Freshman year, it seemed like I'd be in college forever. Now, well...the end is painfully near. This year hasn't exactly been a "normal" college year--first semester I was in the Middle East and now I'm rooming with a bunch of people I've never lived with before. At the beginning of the semester, I was trying to make the days go faster, now I'm trying to find ways to stretch them out... :-S

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Re-entry to Life in America

It has been a long time since I posted anything on this blog. (duh) But, I've have a lot of thinking and processing to do (and by no means am I finished with that) and now that school has started up again -- a lot of homework. (Professor Elgersma would cringe at that's way too long. But, I have a tendency to write absurdly long sentences.)

Coming back to America has been hard in so many ways. I miss the burger wa beyd wa gibna (basically a cheeseburger with an egg -- strange, I know, but really, really good), the schawerma (a chicken (or beef)/yogurt mixure on either a tortilla or a bun), and basically any and all things that Kareema (the MESP cook) made for us on a daily basis. I've made my first attempt at kosheri (a high carb food that I loved in Egypt), and although it turned out ok, it really wasn't much like the way Kareema made it -- except for the fried onions. Mm Mm, good. :)

"Sticker shock" has also affected me much more than I had expected. I still find myself walking through the aisles of Wal-Mart or Fareway thinking, "They want me to pay this much for that!!! That's ridiculous." Then I have to realize that I am no longer in the Middle East and can't expect to buy things as cheaply here as I did there.

I wish I had bought more scarves. Yes, I said it. While on MESP, I was often accused of suffering from a severe scarf addiction. I was always looking at and buying scarves. Now that I've given some of them away, I don't have as many as I did before. There are colors, patterns, etc galore that I wish I had...but I don't. It's probably all for the best anyway...

I miss the landscape and the heat (which isn't as existent now as it was when I arrived, but it's still warmer in Egypt than it is in Iowa). I miss seeing all the people in the street selling vegetables, fruits, and bread. The Bread Lady -- she was wonderful and welcoming to all the girls. Always telling us, "Ana bahebik" (I love you) and giving us hugs...or waving to us as we walked to class.

I miss speaking Arabic. I said "Happy Birthday" to someone today in Arabic and the words sounded strange coming out of my mouth -- and I couldn't form them nearly as well as I could a few months ago. It's slipping slowly, and I don't like it.

I miss the deep questions -- theological, philosophical, etc -- that are asked everyday, and the constant struggle I had with deep issues. Right now, I've kind of put the big issues on the back burner to keep from going crazy while I try to get through all my homework. But those questions are there, still nagging at me from the back of my mind. Some MESPers have gone back to their school outwardly changed, but I feel like most of my changes are inward or I haven't dealt with the issues I need to -- sadly, from the way I look at how I'm living, I haven't seen change. But, I'm working on it.

Most of all, I miss the people. Both MESPers and Egyptians. I don't even know if I have the words to explain what I miss about them. Most of the time, it just seems like there is a hole. As if someone/something is always missing. I thought having a couple MESPers with me would help -- and it has -- but I don't see them very regularly at all... I guess I just miss the sense of community I had...

I don't want to sound like America is all bad and that I wish I hadn't come back. In some ways, it's been good to be back at Dordt and meeting new people. I'm living with a bunch of people I've never lived with before -- even one person I'd never met! Most of the people in my classes are unfamiliar or I don't know them very well. It's been a good and exciting adventure so far, but my heart longs for Egypt and MESP right now -- and I can't settle it.

** I don't know how pertinent this is to my questions and ponderings about MESP, but I often hear these lines from "You've Got Mail" running through my head: "Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."