One Month Back

Now that I have been back in the United States for a month I have had more than enough time to reflect on my experience in Cairo as well as readjust back to life in upstate New York. Coming back felt a little weird at first, like I was not gone for too long and everything, for the most part, was the same. Meanwhile I was on a roller-coaster ride, like a weird dream I was caught in limbo. One of the hardest parts about being back is answering the question, ” How was Cairo?” and so far I have been unable to answer that in a few sentences while retaining someone’s attention. It was like a crazy academic learning intensive vacation, but the type of learning where you gain something new through doing, through trial and error. Where you figure out that in order to get your taxi driver to take you home for not an extremely crazy price, just attempt to talk in Arabic; by learning so much about Middle Eastern politics, religion and ethnicity it seems like this information was somehow absorbed into my mind by osmosis rather than actually acquired through academic means. It was more than I would have learned in any classroom.
Another crazy thing about being back is coming from a city filled with 20 million people to town of less than 8000. However, growing up in upstate New York my whole life it has been nice to be back in quiet old New Paltz. This is part of the mixed blessing of being home, you miss so much but yet you are so happy to be back. There are some things you miss more than anything and yet there are some things you are so happy that are gone. I also think that it is a scenario where the grass is greener on the other side. I have come to realize that traveling is addictive, as soon as I settled down all I wanted to do is get up and go anywhere, as long as it was abroad, go and explore, see what there was beyond New York. As of now I am here in New Paltz and back in school for the semester which I am happy about. We will see what happens in the future and hopefully someday I will be able to go back to Egypt and see how much the country has (possibly) advanced and changed in the time I was gone.

Alexander, a junior, is double majoring in Sociology and International Relations. He is very excited to study in Cairo and learn more about the culture and language.

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