I know, because even though I knew our expat life would take place in Egypt, I assumed the difficulty of living here would be balanced by fur coats and limousines. Not really, but I knew our dollar would go further. I knew financially it would be much easier to live here. Instead of living paycheck to paycheck, we'd actually be able to save!
As an eternal optimist, I have had a fairly easy time finding humor in the daily life of Egypt. I have truly enjoyed my time. If you keep your eyes open, you will see some of the strangest sights of your life here. I've tried to see every historical and cultural attraction, to taste all the local foods I could, and to shop until I've dropped. I've made amazing friends. Volunteered at the school.
But... there are days. Days when you wake up with a raw throat from breathing in way too much pollution.
Days when the sky is yellow and thick with dust from a sandstorm.
The internet is down.
The plane with milk didn't come and your kids won't stop asking for milk.
You dust your living room at 10pm and wake up at 7am and have to dust again.
Moments when you decide to hunker down and burrow into your blankies and pretend you aren't here.
Even for me! There are dark days that come.
I get sick of being exotic everywhere I go. Of being stared at like no one has ever seen blue eyes before in their lives. Of being asked where I'm visiting from. Of nearly dying every single time I get on the highway.
I miss being able to get deli meat. A double-bacon cheeseburger from Wendy's. The simplicity of walking into Target, pausing to get a Starbucks, and leisurely strolling through the clean aisles where I can get anything my heart desires. I miss driving in places that have rules and laws. Of getting home and my back NOT hurting because I hit 2,000 potholes, each at least 8 inches deep. I miss fresh sandwich bread that has never been frozen. I miss walking and not having to step over countless piles of dog crap.
Mostly, I miss the mindless ease of living. Of knowing that I can get nails and rubber bands and salad greens all at the same place. Of driving and realizing I wasn't paying attention. Because it's all so easy.
Days like today, I miss that so much.
It's easy to ease into that funk and stay there. A couple months ago, I hit a low point that lasted about two weeks. For someone who rarely has a bad day, and never lets life get me down, it was excruciating.
It is then that I have to think about how much I will miss it here. We only have three more months. In three months, my life will change again. My kids will look to me to comfort them and reassure them that this new place will be just as wonderful. I won't catch glimpses of the pyramids when I drive. I won't see babies on motorcycles, or laying on the dash of the car. I won't come home from the Khan el Khalili with amazing treasures that light up my home and tell stories of my time here. Of knowing that I can pop over to Italy in just a couple hours and have a little vacation.
It's not all sunshine when you live overseas. Especially when it's a hardship assignment. Sometimes, it feels like it's all difficulty and darkness. But then you laugh with a friend. You find shared humor in something so ridiculous you know very few people would understand.
There is darkness.
There is also a beauty in growing in a difficult place.