It’s official. We are actually moving to Egypt (sorry, Grandpa!). I mean, I guess it’s always been official, at least since I signed my contract in February, but we finally have a date of departure, which makes it R E A L. We are leaving on Wednesday, August 15!
Now that it’s official official, it’s time to write lists. First, the list of things I will miss oh-so-much when we leave the land of 10,000 lakes:
- My mom’s home-cooked meals, infused with love and garlic
- Finishing crossword puzzles with my dad and discussing literature, history and life
- Sticky fingers and sloppy kisses from nieces and nephews
- Grandparents (we’re bringing back the art of writing letters)
- Green as far as the eye can see
- Friends who understand and love me, even when (especially when) I’ve entered the dark side ***(quick edit: I nanny for a kid who likes to listen to Top 40, so I now know this is something Kelly Clarkson sings about. Completely unrelated to my dark side.)
- My sweet, sweet students
- Familiarity: knowing which roads to take or where to find the hummus in the grocery store
- Bacon (okay, that’s mostly Ben)
- Babies that belong to our friends, precious peanuts who will transform into toddlers without us
- Craft beer
These are things I am looking forward to in Cairo:
- Being pushed outside my comfort zone, into that place where growth happens, both personally and professionally
- The pyramids of Giza and the Nile River
- Looking at the world from a different point of view
- Opportunities for travel: Istanbul, Ethiopia, Petra, Athens and more
- A mild winter
- Not driving (though I’m not ready for the crazy traffic or the pollution!)
- Being immersed in a new culture
- Mangoes and eggplant and figs, oh my!
- Forging new relationships with new people
- Living in one of the oldest cities of the world
- Museums, underwater cities, libraries
- Camels (okay, that’s mostly Ben, too)
- Exploring, observing, absorbing
- Nearly half of my day as prep time (this is where that balance thing comes into play)
- Discovering one of the pieces of me that is hidden in Egypt
- A school with its own paintball field
Oh, change. That punk that lurks behind corners, who scares you with his perpetual scowl and piercings and black lipstick. The same punk who ends up introducing you to a new band that changes your life. (The metaphor might be a stretch, but the music part is not. Many bands have changed my life.)
I’m ready for my life to be changed. We will miss many a-splendid thing from Minnesota, but Cairo has so much to offer. Huzzah.
**Weird parallel: My cousin Sara, who first showed me that teaching abroad was a possibility, wrote this on her blog. I had already started my lists when she published hers. I love how our lives are mirror images of each other right now. She’s returning state-side, pursuing a life-changing career, just as I am joining the ranks of ex-pats.