So I am NOT in Egypt. I won’t explain exactly what happened, (let’s just check off been deported from my list) but wanted to share how the experience, or how I remember, the events to FEEL. Now, a few days later, the remanants of a deep seated sense of defeat pilfer in the lightening Marks on my arm. I recall the sensation of complete exhaustion, of wanting to peel back my skin and undo myself, but safely tucked with my tea and Grumpy Care Bear T-shirt on, the endorphins shadow themselves through these words. My memory kindly betrays me.
Suffice it to say, that traveling solo, male immigration officers detained me, and after five hours of explanation with staff, who both has no authority, or meaningful use of my language, there was no use in arguing. I would not be going on my tour. There was nothing I did wrong, and nothing really that they did wrong. Misunderstanding, plus culture, plus political fibers, and a little bit of being able to control something all mixed in. I was voiceless, nameless, and I had no control over it. All paths towards resoluton: kindness, firmess, showing of the appropriate documentation, calling the embassy, were unsuccessful. This was something I could not fix.
I’ll save you boring political how’d this happen story, but instead share with you the moments mercy rained through a small crack in my hopelessness and exhaustion, and I felt HUMAN again. A timeline of grace, perhaps. Knowing that I arrived at the immigration at 8am, they boyued their way in random spells of relief, unexpected glories.
Moments of relief
12 they give me my phone back, and clicking on the email function, find three emails of support and giving me resources for the embassy, and other sound advice. This was not about havin hope that “this too shall pass” and I would be victorious. This was about knowing that I am NEVER alone. (My cell phone bill? over $200!, and WORTH it! LOVE my Iphone and pushed me more in favor of MACs than ever!)
2 am a Arab citizin living in the states is also detained, he and I joke about how relieving it is that no matter where you are at in the world, a friendly Irish pub can be counted upon
3: 15 am A cleaning woman bravely excepted $10 from me for some food, bringing me some pizza and a cold salad mix from the food court upstairs in the “you’re free to roam around the airport” secton. I couldn’t detect my hunger but devoured it knowing I was nourishing myself.
4:30 am. I request a cup of hot water, and I pull out a yogi tea bag from my purse. Sweet Thai Delight, with the quote on it
be proud of who you are
5:35 am The flight takes off back “home” and I feel happy to be confined for once. I become a bit unglued, imagining a warm embrace I may receive from reassuring eyes back home, reminding me that I matter, that I am not a felon, that I am wanted.
And you know what? I received exactly that: Love. Connection. A renewed desire to master Egypt one day, even if not on my time table. Have to say, it was humiliating, confusing, frustrating, chaotic. That I can lose, and be disappointed and oh so, out of control, and can live through it. fear transforms into gratitude, even a sad gratitude.
Seems simple enough, sipping this tea now, in my PJs…with a flag of paper laughing at me, the quote
She brings me coffee, She brings me Tea. She brings me everything, but the jailhouse key