Friday, January 11, 2008

Back in Cairo

In case there was great concern, we have arrived back in Cairo and will be leaving in 25 hours for the states (but actually wont be back for much longer then that).
 
We have adopted the motto "when in Cairo, do as the Cairenes do". Since Cairo, the city victorious, is also the city which never sleeps. That means that many of the 'mangos', or fellow travelers, have grown accostom to later nights and earlier mornings. This trip, or pilgrimage as some may say, has definitely stretched our abilities to operate on a little bit of sleep and a lot a bit of caffine. For some the typical late, leisurely, Egyptian dinners lasting into the wee hours of the morning have contibuted to the lack of sleep, others have yet to get used to the calls to prayer ( I need to emphasize that there are several calls going off at different times and at different volumes and intensities) in the morning, while others have yet to embrace the late night honking wars of the city's cab drivers. This leaves a group of 27 weary travellers ready to embark on a journey back to the states only to hit the ground running in yet another (for many the last) hectic semester.  A pilgrimage is supposed to leave you refreshed, relaxed and (as Tony the Tiger might say) rooaarringggg to go. Right? I mean, at the end of this beautifuly overwhelming experience we are supposed to leave this place and return to the lives we have established elsewhere. Returning with a new perspective on society, culture, and life, we should be able to apply what we have learned and immediately see the fruits of our adventures. Now, don't get me wrong, no one is putting these pressures upon us. Instead, these are often pressures we put upon ourselves. For many of us who are already physically exhausted, the sheer thought of processing our experiences here is stressful, let alone attempting to apply them to a different culture and context. I'm kind of hoping that these answers will be handed to me on a silver platter when I go through customs, or maybe the fortune cookie on the plane will have life's answers perfectly spelled out on a phrase inside a nice little cookie. Instead, many of us are leaving this place with more questions than answers. Most of these questions do not even have answers. I think part of the challenge is finding comfort not knowing. Comfort in the uncomfortable. Maybe we should stop putting pressure on ourselves to have everything figured out upon arrival at Dulles and embrace the fact that we have only just begun to understand. This is just as much of a challenge (and rambling) to myself as it is to anyone else. Maybe, just maybe, this comfort in not having everything figured out, will leave us refreshed at the end of our pilgrimage, and rooooarrring to go ....
 
just a side note ... sailing down the Nile on a crisp day with the sun shining and excellent company isn't too shabby ...

1 comment:

carter said...

I forgot to sign my entry, apparently a rookie blogging mistake. Blessings,
Carter