It was nearly six weeks after we got to Egypt before I got to the pyramids. An eternity!
Can you imagine seeing the last remaining wonder of the ancient world when you are three? Six? What a life our kiddos lead. I was just thrilled to see it. Even if I was 34.
The pyramids are built in the desert, riiiiiight on the edge of Cairo. Across the street from the Sphinx are apartments, awful flea-ridden motels, and shops. There is also a two story McDonald's across from the pyramids. I've heard it's a fantastic view from upstairs. I just couldn't make myself eat a cheeseburger and those gift-from-God fries while looking out at something so grand.
We began our journey at the great pyramid of Khufu, then drove around back to sit on camels and see the expansive view behind us, and ride through the desert a bit. Then we headed to see the Sphinx.
There was a moment when we were walking up a paved driveway that leads up and coils around and suddenly, it's there. You see the Sphinx with the great pyramid behind and it's exactly like you hoped it would be. It's awe-inspiring, suddenly Cairo is silent, your throat catches, your eyes well, and your daughter squeezes your hand. I will never forget that moment.
With tears running down my dusty face, I walked closer and closer, standing before moments in time. These stones were carved with care and adoration 3000 years ago. They have watched the earth grow and change around them. They have seen Cairo rise from nothing, basked in the desert sun, withstood countless sand storms, even felt the falling flakes of the rare snowfall. The thousands of years that these monuments have stood is constantly in the front of your mind. How on earth have they not been fully eroded by the sand blowing across the desert? How is it possible that you can still see where the chisels fell?
I can't wait to go back this fall, and winter, and spring. When the glaring sun takes a little break, the skies have a greater chance of being blue and clear, and I can just sit. I want to absorb the experience, allow myself to feel the emotions that flooded me. I want the words to explain to my children what they are seeing instead of just standing there voiceless.
Ever since our trek into the desert to stand before these wonders, I have been obsessed with watching every documentary I can find about the pyramids. I am fascinated. I want to take Egyptology classes, learn Arabic, and try my best to get everything I can from this experience. I want the kids to remember.
When we got home, we were filthy, tired, and even a little cranky. After a day of being fully overwhelmed, in every possible way, we were done. Neal and I put the kids into the bath and it turned black from the dirt. Washing off the desert that night, I teared up again. I feel immensely blessed to be living in Egypt. To be living my dream of seeing the world. But somehow, it's not enough.
Like some kind of addict, all I can think is "what's next?" I want to see it all. The temples of Angkor Wat, St. Petersburg, The Great Wall, I want to go on safari, stand below Big Ben, in the coliseum, or before the Taj Mahal. I can't get enough. A fire has been ignited in me that I can't seem to extinguish.
When Neal and I started dating, he promised to show me the world. Since then, we have moved seven times and been to five countries. Thank you, Neal. Thanks for living up to your promise, and then some. Now we have two little hooligans to take with us, to infect with our love of travel and history, and countless places to go.