You know, for all the "inconveniences" that Cairene life presents, I've grown to like it here.
When I first wandered the streets here in Maadi, I looked around in disbelief at the trash piles on the side of the road in in the streets. I tripped over random pipes that jut out of sidewalks. I nearly rolled my ankle in potholes on a daily basis. I was nervous about haggling over fruit prices at the fruit stand across the street. I noticed with worry how I woke in the mornings and coughed up some grey pollution bits before breathing normally. Those are all things from which the 'disbelief' has faded. The deeper I looked, the more I saw that those initially vexsome traits have become a part of what has endeared Cairo to me. Not only that, but they've been countered five times again by some really spectacular features of this place. ...Though I could do without the morning coughing routine...
There are such generous people here. One of my bus FRENDs (refer to a few posts back) recently relayed an invitation from her mother to me, to visit their home for lunch. I don't really know this young woman all that well, but here her mother is inviting me over. And our Coptic friend, Peter, has been an exemplar of hospitality for my roommates and I. He's proven an eager guide around the city, and insists on treating us to fresh juice every once in a while (fresh squeezed juice is a staple here, as water isn't so good for you). The American/French/New Zealander/Gulf country expatriots here have also been indispensable in making me feel truly at home here in Egypt.
I was also pleasantly surprised and extremely blessed to find a strong church community here. I've been the recipient of a lot of wise words and free meals from my fellow church-goers, and that's been an incredible boon to me during my stay. I've found family away from family, and home away from home.
In short, I guess that although I have a few more weeks in Cairo, I'm really going to miss it here. I know that already. I've made so many good friends as I've been here. I also see so much potential for Egypt to grow stronger economically, politically, even socially that I want to get to see the changes happen. I know that if I return in a few years I won't be returning to the same Cairo or the same Egypt. I love this country for what it is now as much as for what I can see it becoming in the next few decades.
I was just getting settled in, and now it's nearly time to go!
Dear friends and family, I will most certainly have to return to this country. I don't think I could stay away!