What is it about us that seeks the unknown, the space between nowhere and somewhere we desperately try to avoid while…going somewhere.
I spent the last four months living out of a suitcase. I uprooted, left the southwest and officially moved to Cairo. Then I visited South America and pretended I was some character in one of Neruda’s poems while speaking conversational Spanish with anyone who seemed friendly enough to talk. My husband was surprised my Spanish was so good. So was I, but it can be better, just like my Arabic.
I’ve been living in our new house for nearly two weeks and haven’t left. I like it, I don’t want to leave it. Maybe i’ll write more about life outside this house in another post. Let this one be about the end of suitcase life. The end of transitioning, and the beginning of transitioning.
So this is Cairo. And this is me now. I lived in Cairo for five months in 2011. I learned a lot and was an activist getting involved with human rights and refugee groups. That doesn’t seem far away but I look back and think of how young and nervous I was then. I was constantly anxious and nervous wondering what would happen in regards to the war…
Now I have learned to live with it and move on without feeling guilty or ashamed for the hand life has dealt me.
I miss Arizona but I don’t want to go back yet. There is much to accomplish here. In Cairo, you feel closer to the rest of the world. When you read a news article about the Middle East you identify with it more. I think empathy is a good thing although I don’t know what it accomplishes sometimes.
I don’t write about Libya much for many reasons. When you make the decision as a Libyan who writes in English who wasn’t born or really raised in Libya to write about your Libya, you face many critics. The criticism gets so noisy it overshadows your work, to where only those with an astute appreciation for storytelling will appreciate the pain and suffering and joy and relief written on that piece of paper. I have stories of Libya inside me, just as any Libyan does. I don’t understand why they all have to be the same. Or why one has to be right and the other wrong. A story is a perspective. It is personal and it is yours.
I’m a private person. I don’t like people taking what is mine and manipulating it into something it isn’t. And that’s my inner conflict.
To the end of the suitcase era? No ma’am. Nomad for life.