Tag Archives: moving

Lessons from Teaching 3

As of 8 days ago, I’ve been in Cairo for 5 months.

And as of 16 days ago, I finally (or publicly) made the decision to leave Cairo this summer.

Originally, about a week ago, I had this long, detailed post going into my reasons behind why I am choosing to leave and the various responses I’ve gotten to my decision. But I deleted it.

I am happy with my decision. I know that the future is uncertain for me – I don’t have a job lined up, or even a country lined up (I’ve applied to jobs in some other countries already) – but I don’t feel afraid. I am happy with my choice, and that is enough.

Tomorrow I head off to the beach, to Ain Sokhna with friends. I’m excited to get out of Cairo for a few days.

The new quarter at my school has started, and while it is certainly no walk in the park (more like a walk in a pitch-black forest and I keep bumping into trees and shrubs, saying mild obscenities and then veering off in another direction), it is getting easier. Namely, my students are not as incredibly awful as they were the first few weeks I was their teacher. I think they’ve resigned themselves to the fact that the old teacher is not coming back and they’re stuck with me, so it is better to try and appease me than try and fight me (mostly). They are still rambunctious, disrespectful and lazy, but it isn’t like we’re pulling each others’ teeth anymore.

What I’ve learned in the past two weeks:

1. Be confident in who you are. Even if you are bumping around in that forest, say, “Meant to do that.”
2. Think like a student. What kept you engaged when you were in school? Children haven’t changed that much, what applied then applies now.
3. Tomorrow is always a new day. Don’t let the craziness of one day drag you down for the rest of the week. It isn’t worth it.
4. Be your quirky self. Don’t compromise your position as a teacher, but be yourself (relates to number one). Even if your students think you’re kooky, you’ll feel better being who you are.
5. Be organized. Makes life so much easier.

These past few weeks have been good to me, in many ways. I have gone out with friends frequently, made new friends, started a new tutoring job, and had time to think about my life. There have been some dark moments as well, ones that make me think on life all the more.

All in all, I am content with where life is at. Could it be better? Sure. But I am living with no regrets. And it is a glorious way to live.

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Filed under Daily Life, Emotions, Work

From Home to Home to Home, I’m Home.

We’ve finally made it to Longmeadow, Massachusetts, my parents’ new home! We got here on Saturday afternoon after a seemingly endless drive across the country.

The United States? The United States is VERY large. I could drive from Cairo to Casablanca and it would still be less that driving from Fresno, CA to Longmeadow, MA. I’ve no desire to do this drive again!

Thankfully, in just a bit over a week I will be in Egypt once again, and I will not have to be making any multi-day drives anywhere, inshallah. 

This new house for my parents, which is just a rental until they find a town/neighborhood/house they love and want to buy, is very small. My parents’ king size bed cannot even fit up the staircase to their room, so they are sleeping on my queen size mattress. Just the mattress, not even the box spring, because that can’t even get up the stairs. All that means I’m sleeping on an air mattress for the next week. 

Yesterday I went into Boston and hung out with two of my closest friends, Deepika and Arthur who had come up for Labor Day weekend. It was fantastic getting to see them – since I figured I would not see them for another year or two. It is so weird to think about, knowing I won’t see them face-to-face for such a long period of time. I am incredibly lucky to live in this digital age, where I can be in contact with my friends and family all the time.

Tomorrow I head to Long Island to go see another of my close friends, Sydney. She is, in a few short months, going to be doing the same thing as me almost: heading to Colombia to take the CELTA course then teach English and make connections. Her, my friend Alex in Argentina, and I are all on somewhat similar paths…and we’re all left-handed. No wonder we’re friends. 

Moving so much has really ingrained in me that
home is a mental concept. It is where my family and friends are, wherever that may be, for however
long I get to be with them. Home doesn’t have to be one place, but can be many places at once. It is where you lay your heart down at night, not where you lay your head. 

So starting very soon, although it really has already started, my heart will lay down in places around the globe each night. 

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Filed under Travel

The Sun, the Land, and the Rubber

My family and I are on the move! We’ve started our drive across the country to my parents’ new home of Longmeadow, MA with all our possessions (and pets) in tow. Thus my posting will be limited, being on the road.

Today we made it to Reno, NV after getting a late start, aka frantic packing and shoving packed items into the truck. Tomorrow my dad and I have set the goal of Rock Springs, Wyoming, an 11 hour drive away. Goodness.

Story of the day: got caught in traffic due to flying pig parts. Not a joke.

Peace from the road!

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Filed under Beginnings, Packing

Pack, Unpack, Pack

As my last post mentioned, my parents and I are picking up and moving to Massachusetts in exactly a week. We’re driving across the country in an SUV and a moving truck. My dad’s driving the truck, and my mom and I will be in the Tahoe with our 3 pets (one very big lab and 2 very ornery cats). We’re doing the drive across the country (from Clovis, CA to Springfield, MA) in 4 days. That means driving for approximately 12 hours a day. Across very flat land, by and large.

At least I get to knock off another 10 states on my “places I’ve been” list.

That isn’t what I wanted to talk about, though. I want to talk about stuff. More precisely, the amount of stuff a person has.

My summer, mostly, has been comprised of packing up my parents’ house. My mom, bless her, has been running herself ragged with real estate transactions and my dad has been in Massachusetts at his new job since the beginning of July.

Since 2008, my parents have had to move twice (I was not there for either moves). I’ve had to move 6 times personally, but all of my worldly-but-not-worldly-enough-to-have-in-DC possessions moved around with my parents. So really, if a person is defined by the objects they own, I’ve moved 7 times in the past 4 years. In a week, I will move again. And then two weeks after that, I’ll move once more.

Needless to say, stuff has been on my mind quite a bit. My parents have had years and years to accumulate the stuff they own. And since, for many years, I had few possessions of my own, their stuff was my stuff. It defined me and helped me form my idea of what a house should have in it, how things go together, what is necessary for ‘living’. Now that for the past few years I have lived without my parents and accumulated my own stuff, my thoughts on what stuff is to a person and how a person is reflected by the stuff the own has changed again.

I sold pretty much everything I owned when I left DC to come back here for the summer, and eventually head to Cairo. When I was selling my stuff (or donating it or throwing it out, depending on what it was), I kept thinking, “Whoa. I have a lot of stuff!” (So much kitchen stuff! Worth it.) Then I came home and have for the past month been packing up this house and realized, no, I did not have a lot of stuff.

And now I am moving abroad. The amount of stuff I have once again is going to be reduced. I can bring 90 lbs of my life with me, at most, to move to Cairo. That includes everything: clothes, shoes, toiletries, books, photos, electronics, pens, notebooks, jewelry, accessories, all the various little things that make up my life. I am not a materialistic person; I don’t buy things just to buy things. But I can’t detach myself completely from the sentimentality of stuff.

My parents will keep whatever I don’t bring to Cairo with me (about 75% of all I own, in other words). In those boxes of mine will be silly things, like my crazy hats, and what once were practical things, like the sundresses I love to wear in the summer. There will be notes from friends and heavy woolen winter coats. My art supplies and shoes that wouldn’t survive Cairo’s streets. A lot of this things were easy to say, “You cannot come with me.” Then you get down to what you really want to bring. Then you cut down again. And again. It gets harder and harder. I haven’t even had to pack yet for Cairo, not really, and I know I will have to make choices soon on things I love but just can’t fit into my suitcase – my house on little wheels.

I packed up everything I owned at the beginning of the summer. I unpacked it when I arrived in California, got rid of some things I didn’t need. A month later, I began packing it all up again, once again getting rid of things I don’t need. When we arrive in Massachusetts, I will take all my boxes, unpack them to pick out the things to take with me to Cairo, and then repack them. I’m not getting rid of them, they’ll have a home in my parents’ house, but it is about the same, isn’t it? I won’t see them for a long time. They’ll lose meaning. Out of sight, out of mind.

I, for a very foreseeable future, will not have a lot of stuff to my name. It is invigorating, knowing I can pack up my life in a few bags and just head out. It is also a little sad. Stuff doesn’t define me anymore, I must define myself, but they certainly add focus. Very soon, I will have to determine which bits of that focus must be moved to the side. Those that stay have to last me awhile.

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Filed under Beginnings, Packing