I need to start by saying that today I leave Cairo, my home for the past 9 months; but more notably, today I leave my Cairo family—some of the most amazing people and friends I have ever and will ever meet. You all are amazing and sent me off with (several) bangs. I love you all dearly and know that saying “see ya later” to you all has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. Never before have I struggled to leave as I have leaving Cairo and you all. This only cements my resolve to both return to the country that will always hold a special place in my heart, and reunite with you all—wherever you may be.
A week ago today I made the decision to move to Turkey. I don’t have a plan. I have a rough draft of what I think I might do, but nothing officially set up awaits me in Turkey. The idea is to find a part time job teaching or doing something that will provide income, and spend the other half of my time volunteering with Syrian refugees and perhaps even networking into a job, should the opportunity arise. Anything, however, could happen. I am both terrified and excited.
I decided to leave Egypt because I felt restless. My living situation, although nice, had become unhealthy in the sense that I lived free, but far from my co-workers and most my friends, and had no one to really talk to once I got home. Teaching business executives English as a means of extremely minor income had started to wear on my patience and the influx of new interns at Saint Andrew’s led to a smaller caseload anyway. I either needed a job or a new destination. No doors opened. So I decided to jump out the window.
Turkey as a destination was inspired by the fact that my old roommate in Palestine Lindsey, whom I consider to be a sister, moved to Istanbul two weeks ago, with similar aspirations to the ones I described above (except she has a substantial teaching job lined up). She offered to let me live with her, and she would cover the rent until I found a job. With only the bare minimum of thought and processing required to make such a life-altering decision, I booked the ticket, packed my life into two duffels, a backpacker’s backpack and several jackets stuff together; and wrapped up all logistical loose ends left in Cairo. Then I started my goodbyes, which thanks to lots of practice, I managed to emotionally disconnect from in the moment in order to not to feel the pain of parting I have learned follows every goodbye. I still feel the tinges, and will likely burst into one set of sobs, perhaps as the plane takes off, thinking about all I am leaving behind.
However, as soon as the plane descends and I hit Turkish land, I know excitement will bubble at the smell of fresh air and limitless possibilities. Never before have I bought a one way ticket somewhere without any set occupation or program. Never before have I lived, much less visited, a country where I didn't speak at least the basics of its language. I am terrified of failure, of not landing on my feet; but I think this is perhaps a necessary step. My spiritual life has reached a standstill—and I think leaping from a ledge is perhaps the only way to force myself into figuring out what I truly believe. In all respects, this will be a great chance to learn, grow and challenge myself in ways different from those I have faced thus far.