Travel Map

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks in Cairo

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.

Off to finish my holiday movie and spend one more day recovering.  The weekend is for work!

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