Out of Egypt

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


7 thoughts on “Out of Egypt

  1. I’m glad you made it back safely. Although your plans may have fallen through this time, it’s inspiring to know you haven’t been scared off of the future adventures Egypt has to offer.

  2. wow i am so happy to hear that you got back home safely! that sounds like such a scary situation but you seem like you took it in stride as best you could. love that your tea bag told you to “be proud of who you are”

  3. holy crap! i am glad you are ok. what a craptastic situation but i am very thankful that you were able to make it back home safe and sound. and how great is yogi tea?!?!!!!

  4. Why on earth were you deported from Egypt? How bizarre. But then a lot of things here are bizarre. Did you by any chance have an Israeli stamp in your passport? Sometimes that will do it. Most people who want to go to Israel in this part of the world have them put their stamp on a piece of paper in the passport and then tear up the evidence later. At least they’ve renovated the airport and you can get some half decent pizza now. Thank heaven for small mercies.

  5. OMG that is nuts. My step father is from Egypt and I have very close friends with a home there and I plan to go one day, so if you have any words of advice to actually get there, let me know. I am hoping that in Morocco, having my step dad there will be good because he speaks arabic, although they do French in Morocco too.

    As for Mac, DO IT! So worth it. Ryan and I bought each other Mac books for our 1 yr anniversary and we couldn’t be happier. It was worth the money.

  6. So sorry to hear about your travel chaos. It must have been so frustrating, sometimes its the language barrier and communication that let us down. Knowing we are right but not being able to communicate it is something I still struggle with (having lived in several foreign countries, it feels good to live in a country where I can express myself fully and clearly).
    Glad you are OK and very impressed you are not done with Egypt as yet. I would love to go there one day too!

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