The semester got pretty rough this last month and a half; thus the no writing in my blog. School, work, friends, I had an issue with each and it drained me and I had a hard time finding the energy to put it all into words that wouldn't sound self-pitying.
Today is Thanksgiving. Well, it's only 5 am at home so most people are already asleep. I've already eaten. A few days ago I found out that everyone I hang out with here was going to be gone today and that i would be celebrating alone. I was worried that I would be really homesick and cry in my stuffing. However.....
Mom sent me 2 boxes of stove top stuffing and I was able to save one until today so just having my favorite Thanksgiving dish is equal to a mood elevator. I also somehow ended up with the fixings for mashed potatoes- my other favorite dish! Turkey is good, but always served as more of a palate cleanser for the other two anyway. So I made my stuffing, mashed my potatoes with garlic and yumminess and turned on the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street. That's about all I needed. Yes I miss my family but we're going to recreate Thanksgiving dinner on Christmas anyway and thanks to the internet I get to talk to them often. So, here's what i'm thankful for this year (in random order):
1. Cairo- I get to live in an amazing city (well, near it) and experience something interesting every time I go out.
2. Stuffing!- thank god mom sent me some!
3. Internet- without it I think I would be more homesick but emails and skype and IMing have kept me in touch with all the people I miss and I don't feel so alone.
4. Family and Friends- without the support of all the people I love I could never have found the confidence to move 7,000 miles away from home and after 3 months, finally feel comfortable here. I know that I have a safety net if ever I should fall and that in itself is the most amazing thing to be grateful for.
In less than a month I'll be home. I have mixed feelings. On one hand it will be amazing to see everyone and be home to celebrate Christmas and have some normalcy which I have extricated from my life. However, I also feel like it might set me back. After 3 months I feel like I belong here. Things are settling down and I feel more comfortable in everyday happenings. Spending 3 weeks away might make it harder to come back. But these are the breaks :)
Classes.....oh classes. I guess I was lulled into a false sense of security in the beginning of the semester. That coupled with my horrendous procrastination skills and being sick these last 4 days have kinda made this last part of the semester super exciting! Tons of essays, paper, drafts of my thesis proposal. I'm not good at working on my own (something I need to get over, pronto) and I've been neglecting my thesis research because it feels like I'm doing something naughty. Let me explain: I enjoy reading about my thesis topic so much, and it's something I've been interested in for so long that when I do "research" it feels like recreational reading and it's fun; therefore, I should be doing reading for classes which is slightly laborious and lacking in fun. Hilarious. I know I picked the right topic then...
So far grad school is fun- in the way that we're given more agency (I'm trying to enjoy that part) and we finally get to study a topic of our choice. I think next semester will be different, though. The first semester at a new school in a new program is always a little rough. You need to push boundaries, see when you can fudge a little and when you need to work your ass off. When I get back from vacation I'll feel a little more prepared to work. I think I experience culture shock in a nice capsule of denial. I don't feel like I have culture shock, I enjoy new experiences, but I also don't seem to have the energy to do anything too strenuous which means I'm stressed on some level. When I come back I'll be in my own apartment, insha'allah, and living off campus will help me feel more like an adult than I do in the dorms. Having never lived in the dorms it's been an interesting experience....I feel like I'm 18 again.