“It’s like deja vu all over again.”
Yup, it’s true. Three years have FLOWN by, and it is time to begin the grueling ordeal of relocating half-way around the world AGAIN.
Looking at the bright side – we divested ourselves of virtually all the furniture, vehicles and other large consumer items before coming to Egypt. We’ve purchased very little of THAT sort of thing. Then again, we’ve (ok, I’VE) purchased other things, like… ceramics, artwork, mashrabiyya, textiles.
Again, the bright side also says that THIS TIME AUC will be helping in the packing of the items (and Jack too – right honey!?). Our main job is to sort, they will pack. Sounds easy, right?
The sorting has begun. Books are the first level. Most of them will not travel to the States.
I’m beginning to look at things like socks (yes, seems insignificant, but this is what happens). The weather is getting warmer, so any holey socks get tossed instead of being washed.
We are discussing the relative “necessity” of bringing back this or that item.
And so the negotiation begins.
I can’t really wrap my head around it yet. I’m still struggling with completing the semester in any type of rigorous format. I have a BAD case of short-timers disease. Papers are waiting to be marked. I’m writing blog posts.
Also, this time, I’m not nearly as excited/desperate for the move. I’m not fully ready to leave yet. I am not chomping at the bit to “shake the dust off my boots” in the same way I was when I left Seattle. Three years in Cairo has shown me that the things I left Seattle for are not Seattle problems, they are part of me and my personality. They travel with me. Sad but true.
I’m also at an interesting point in my life/career. I came to Egypt to accomplish certain things. Virtually none of those things worked out as I’d hoped they would. That fact, for a while, left me feeling empty and failed. But it has also shown me that there are OTHER things that I hadn’t planned on or even contemplated which have come out of this adventure.
I’ve, of necessity, assumed more of an administrative role in the CORE curriculum class that I coordinate. I do a pretty good job of it. I guess I kinda knew that I would (shush AJ and Jack!!!) after being the “chair” of my Department in Seattle, but it has still been quite a surprise. I always figured that my greatest strength was my classroom teaching, but … perhaps there are other things.
I’ve also discovered a real love for Egypt and the people and the language. They (all three) can also drive me batty, but I never figured I’d like it so much here. That also feeds into the hesitation and anxiety about leaving. Although AUC can make me nuts, and my department needs a good overhaul (which can be said about virtually EVERY academic department in EVERY institution) I do not have the feeling that I had leaving Seattle – I don’t feel like I’ve “done all I can here”.
I could stay and do more. AND I can go home and have loads to do. The latter is the plan. And even before I can get to that, we have the Three S’s to deal with here (ship, sell, sh*t-can).
Deja vu, all over again.