Almost all of my conversations in the past week have included some version of the following: “Hey, you’re leaving Cairo soon – are you excited? How does that feel?”
And every time I open my mouth to answer, I find myself saying different versions of the same thing. Mostly, “Yes and no.”
Yes – I am unbelievably excited to have my family and my friends in Atlanta in my life again. To drive a car and eat Mexican food and resume my life that I abandoned a year ago. I am ecstatic about leaving AUC and heading back to Georgia Tech. For American football and the smell of bacon. To rejoin my stateside AIESEC family and start making a change in Atlanta. For Target and Urban Outfitters and good beer and having voicemail on my phone. To start rebuilding a life in the States.
No – I have had migraine-inducing anxiety attacks over not knowing what will happen when I go home. And leaving my Egyptian family and friends. I’ve started randomly tearing up in the backs of taxis and get nostalgiac over the smell of ta’ameyya for the life that I have made here. AUC is a drag, but the people that I have met there are definitely not, and the AIESECers here have built me something I feel like I will be removign bones knowing I won’t see them whenever I want. I am terrified of reverse culture shock and all that comes with it – I know it will be worse this time. I am a very different person, and the US is a very different place than when I last saw it.
It’s daunting, and I think that the next few weeks will only make it more difficult. But it’s all part of the challenge that I signed up for.