So I typed a ton and then ctrl z’d to try to return a sentence I deleted but instead z’d away half of the post. That was so much fun.
I know I should have come on and posted that we arrived home but we really hit the ground running.
Gah ok, I don’t know if I can re-type this whole post again, and moreover, who is going to read it? Do I have anyone left still reading my blog? Does it matter? Should I keep blogging?
Or can we get into the nitty gritty? Can I do away with the niceties?
We’re doing awesome back home, alhumdulillah. Mr. MM is fitting in great, my family loves him, he likes America (although he already misses home and definitely misses his family as do I,) and he’s really fitting in well in the Ummah* here. The ummah is even better than I remember it being and this actually is a portion of why I titled this post the prodigal daughter despite the overt ties to Christianity that the reference has- so remember this.
Zuzu is doing well and learning the joy of the feline art of sitting in windows. For whatever reason windows in Egypt don’t have sills the way windows here do and Zuzu, having discovered this new past time, will meow at us until we open a window for her to sit in. She is now collared (man was that HILARIOUS watching her try to get it off in the beginning) and wears a bell now so I know where she is. There are so many, many more hiding places for her here so its handy. Right now she is thundering up and down the stairs behind me sounding like nothing so much as a herd of elephants wearing jingle bells. I just don’t understand how such a tiny cat can make so much noise.
About the move here: alhumdulillah it has gone so, so well. God has blessed us most certainly by making it very smooth and very easy. I need to remember that more.
There was re-entry shock for sure for me and a good amount of shock for Mr. MM as well but what surprised me was that we felt it for the same reasons and I had expected something different. Or maybe I should say that I never expected that I would be so affected by one thing: space. I never realized how accustomed I had become to the tight spaces of the tall buildings and the confines of the crowded city. Ten days after we arrived home we took a road trip to South Dakota (don’t ask. Isn’t visting Mt. Rushmore on the top ten list of most American things one can do? Right next to eating apple pie and watching baseball, right?) and our first night on the foothills of the Custer Nat’l Park I could barely hold down the heebie jeebies. It was so much space. So much open space. It was almost crushing the amount of open space there was around us and I didn’t know how to deal with it. I longed for the comfort of dirt-streaked apartment buildings and the crush of people- the very things I had a hard time dealing with while in Egypt.
Isn’t it odd the things we become used to? How familiar and comforting they become.
For Mr. MM he kept commenting on how empty St. Paul seemed in comparison to Cairo, he even began to call it a ghost town. But after seeing the desolate emptiness of the Dakota prairies I haven’t heard it again, lol. A day or two of being in SD helped me get over my fear of wide open spaces and I’m back to normal and Mr. MM has a healthy respect for how populationless an area really can be. It is still hard to be somewhere and have no one on the streets though and its infuriating how early things close here. 9 pm?!?!? come on!!!!!!
Most of all its unsettling for me to return to someplace so familiar to me when I feel like a completely different person. On the one hand I feel as if my time in Egypt had simply been a dream, that I never left, and my memories of being there play in my mind as if I had watched them in a movie rather than lived them myself. Its like I fit, but don’t fit. Its familiar but not. It hasn’t changed but I have. Its utterly disconcerting.
Do I miss Egypt? Yes, but I missed it before I even left. Am I glad to be home? Most resoundingly yes. Do I want to hop back on a plane and return right now? No, but then again I haven’t been home very long and I’m still greatly enjoying the convenience and efficiency of the American way. Ask me again in January when its -1000 F outside and I might have a different answer.
And yet there are so many maddening moments where I think to myself, “what have I done? why am I here? Did I make the right choice?”
Ironically those were the same thoughts I had when I first moved to Egypt too so maybe its standard in all international moves.
Mostly I wonder if I’m still cut out for the same relationships, expectations, fictions, and social-dances I did when here before. There’s so much at stake, can I really afford to be here with people who remember me before Islam and people who could do me damage if they wanted to? I’m more afraid of the evil-eye here than I ever was in Egypt and if I believed in it I would cover myself, my husband, and our marriage in blue eye-beads.
I just have to remember that God has protected and guided us this far, all we can do is submit.
Why did I call this post the prodigal daughter? Maybe I wasn’t away spending my inheritence but I am home again because being here, poor and helpless, is better than being away.
My Islam is so much stronger here than it was in Egypt. I know, right? Weird. People make hijrah simply because they feel that it will make them better Muslims. I, honestly, feel happier and more pushed to practice here than I did over there and I think it has to do with the Muslims around me. Its so taken for granted in Egypt and here it has to be a conscious decision to be a practicing Muslim. Maybe it has to do with my connections to the ummah with my friends and my walee’s** family. In coming home I feel like I’m returning to Islam.
My fears and uncertainties are unfounded and most likely born out of my re-entry shock. I’m still sideways from my return from Wonderland so everything seems out of place.
I’m still a big Alice in a room of tiny chairs.
* Ummah means community of Muslims. It encompasses the whole of the world-wide Muslim community but can be used in reference to the local community on its own.
** Walee means guardian or father-figure. The closest example would be godfather.