The anxiety, that I held deep inside, was so heavy that I felt like I couldn't sit still. My whole body feared the change. I couldn't sleep, my skin was too tight or itchy, my stomach turned flips like a circus performer, my legs were as restless as my soul. The whole flight felt like endless hours of impending doom.
Don't get me wrong, I was super excited! But I also had to keep all my feelings to myself, or so I thought. I needed to be strong for my hubby and kids. I needed to be prepared to exude sunshine on the cloudiest of days. I didn't know what lay ahead, but I knew it fell to me to cover it in glitter and make it fun and special. Who knew I was taking on too much for any one person to handle alone?
When we landed in Cairo, after a full two days of no sleep for me, we were met with the absolute chaos of the Cairo Airport. My whole world was a blur of burkhas and bearded men. There were thousands of people pushing us so they could jump the line, and I was hazy and holding my tired children for dear life. It was not the happy, easy way you want to enter the country. It was a cattle call and I was a wee calf.
Finally, I saw our luggage on the carousel and the familiarity was instant comfort. Our luggage made it! We made it! We would have jammies and pillows tonight that would bring the smell of home to our new home. We were met outside by SuperHub's new boss, who was lovely and welcoming. The van was loaded with our ten pieces of luggage, and off we went, zooming through the Cairo night to our new home.
The first glimpses of Cairo were equally exciting and terrifying. I remember distinctly flying down the highway, with no discernible traffic patterns, passing cars without headlights that appeared out of nowhere, the sounds and smells of firecrackers in the air (celebrating the weddings that happen nightly in a city of 20 million people), and just hoping we would make it safely.
When we got to our apartment, I exhaled for the first time in two days. THIS I could do. I tore open the space bags that held the kids linens, and quickly made their beds. Within an hour, they were snuggled up in their beds, holding their glow seahorses and drifting off to sleep in familiar comfort. I went through the kitchen, making sure we'd have something to eat in the mornings and the ability to make coffee after jet lag set in. Thankfully, our sponsor made sure we had toast and coffee fixin's.
From that first night, Cairo was home. Home is where your family is. I was determined to enjoy our time here and, as the last two years have creeped by, I really have. Since becoming a mother, nothing has changed me so much as living here. I conquered not only my fears, but I settled in and made this place home. We haven't just made it through, we've been successful here at living. We've enjoyed it. We've let it change us.
It feels like a huge accomplishment.
It feels like an anniversary.
Two years in Cairo.
I can't be more grateful for this experience and SO excited for the next one.