Tuesday, 16 July 2013

One Plane Ticket From Normal

My computer began making this clanking sound that according to my husband is a bad thing.  He asked (as usual), "You have made a recent backup, yes?"  Of course!  I just backed up…was it…last week?  Definitely last month.  He paused and waited until I finished my "how-dare-you-doubt-my-backing-up" ramblings then said, "Let me have a look."

He spent a full day trying to resuscitate the hard drive to its former glory, but to no avail.  5 years of traveling back and forth, here and yon…through security checkpoints and sandstorms…there wasn't anything left to do but leave a digital lily on its keypad.

I took the plunge and purchased a new computer and handed it over to John to "do his thang."  He added all of the proper software and restored all the items I had previously on my hard drive.  Well, almost everything.

I asked, "Did you see my Egypt writings?"  He shook his head.  He said, "I transferred everything that was on your backup."

Searching through every possible title I could think of…none of them showed up.  Aaaaaaah!  A year's worth of work, emotion, perfectly crafted phrases (well…you know)…gone!  We worked for a while to see if we could recover them, but alas they were indeed gone.  Deep, heavy sigh.

A thought came to me and I quickly signed into Facebook.  Recently, FB has changed their format (yet again!) and had reintroduced the "Notes" section back to my wall.  I went quickly to the notes and much to my happiness, they were all there!  Woot!

The last few days I have spent working feverishly to copy and paste each entry onto to my computer and (yes, of course) to my backup.

Reading over these notes at this time in our lives seems poignant.  You see, January 1, 2009 my family (husband-John, daughters--Emileigh and Aria) and I began a new life in Cairo, Egypt far from the reaches of the Missouri life we had known.  Now 4 years later, my husband and I will be flying to Southern Egypt on July 22, 2013 to begin yet a new chapter in this life.

A lot has happened in between those dates so I thought it would be good to start writing again, chronicling our days, work and experiences both past and present.

Many times during that first year in Egypt, I would look out our 12th floor apartment window and feel completely overwhelmed by the sights (donkey carts, women in head coverings), sounds (taxis honking, endless, unintelligible streams of Arabic) and smells (I'll leave those to your imagination).  Some days would be so difficult that I would pull out my computer and begin researching airline ticket prices.  My thought processes went something like this:

If it was only one plane ticket that catapulted me from a life I knew, understood and loved into a land of difficulty, chaos and confusion…then I am only One Plane Ticket From Normal, back to a place where I am known, loved and accepted.  

One click (along with my credit card number) and Dorothy would be returned to Kansas.  One click…but deep in my heart I knew what I had to do.  I had to lay aside my identity, my wants, my preferences and my rights even…for the opportunity to know and love these dear people as Jesus does.

2009 in Egypt was transformational for me and my family.  And now (with the girls grown and in college) John and I find ourselves returning to this complex land.  What lessons have I learned?  What lessons will I need to learn again?  I'm hoping this blog will reveal the learning in my heart and share the inevitable humorous encounters experienced by a (sometimes culturally inappropriate) American Midwest woman living in Northeast Africa.

So pour yourself a cup of strong steaming tea, add 3 heaping teaspoons of sugar and a dash of milk. (In Egyptian Arabic this kind of tea is called "Shy Mahzboot!" meaning "perfect tea").  Browse around entries from our first years of living abroad and subscribe to future posts as we again take this leap of faith into the "Land O' the Pharaohs."

Ahlan Wasahlan!  Welcome!

Pam, John, Aria (15), Emileigh (17) 2009
Pam and John 2013

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