Change of pace
Not to get all personal or anything, but I’m going to write about my emotions now.
You just can’t intellectualize some things, or even make them sound a little bit smart.
When we landed, my emotions became immediately trivial compared to coping with the logistics of cultural upheaval. You know: international ATM charges, conversion rates, what foods will ruin me, how to cross the street, figuring out when it’s OK to accept a stranger’s help or when trust will translate into a 30-minute tour of Aly Baba’s perfume shop.
But I’m settled now. I can think about personal stuff before bed. (Though I mostly use that time to read Twilight, no joke.) And in the van the other night, we got talking about gushy stuff. I took the opportunity to verbalize this one particular thing I’ve been reflecting on.
Right before I got on the plane at Logan, I experienced this crazy metamorphosis. It wasn’t profound. Pretty anticlimactic, actually. Unplanned, unannounced. I didn’t notice it until recently, even, in retrospect. But since May 2, I’ve been absurdly calm. Quiet inside. Unshakably present. Really, really peaceful and happy.
I can’t find a direct connection between those feelings and this trip. Instead, I’m filing it under “great coincidences,” because, for a generally anxious person, that emotional sea change gave me the chance to sink into my work and surroundings to an invaluable extent.
Egypt helps, too. There’s the inherently meditative quality of walking through a mosque, barefoot. And the city’s policy of zen-by-force: the competing sounds and smells of Cairo will pummel your Western sanity if you don’t mellow out.
And the people are great. They inspire me to take it slow and, as much as I hate to say this, because it’s an unfair luxury of a disconnected American, seeing the way so many Egyptians struggle puts life into perspective.
Finally, I’ve never been this far away from the people I love, which makes me realize, more and more every day, simply having them close is the best thing ever. Details are totally important, but mini points of contention are not.
A lot of things mean more than my narrow definitions of comfort and perfection. For once, that’s comforting unto itself.