On my way home

Sitting in an American airport bar now, with a good 5 hour gap until my next flight, so just passing time. Now that the whirlwind of school work and internship work is finished, things feel oddly calm…in this almost unsettling way. I don’t want to go home, not at all. I miss Egypt and I miss this experience more than anything, and I won’t even reach my home city until the 31st of July.

Going to France/Italy straight after Cairo was very interesting. From a sustainability perspective, Cairo is very…unsustainable. The city itself, though rich in adventures, has many issues. I met a friend from the U.K. I believe, part Indian and part…Greek? Anyway, he is great, intelligent, and ended up ranting on for hours about the problems of Egypt and how difficult it is to accept them.

I can’t agree…I guess I’m too accepting of cultures, the good and the bad. But I can see where he’s coming from. It’s one thing to accept a cultural society’s issues, and it’s another to want to do something to change it…but what can we do, as outsiders? Besides, perhaps, “inspire” and bring “talent” to the community, if even. It’s almost arrogant. Is there even evidence of a want for change? Yes there is a need, but do the people even care? If not, it’s a moot point. I’ve learned this especially when working with sustainability.

Compared to Egypt – the dirty and dusty, poorly managed streets, single-use plastic norms (especially with the water), the lack of urban green spaces…France is like an absolute dream. Clean streets, even sidewalks, lots of greenery and trees…and charging for plastic bags? Supermarkets with actual quality food? And without unnecessary excess?

In a way…it made me appreciate both Marseille and Cairo more. 

I love discussing, listening to, analyzing societal issues. This was probably my favorite thing in regards to Egypt, especially in the first few weeks of my experience while everything was still so new and fresh, awe-spiring. Even with the ugly – okay, there’s a lot of trash on the ground? Well…why? Why is there trash? Why are people motivated to throw it in the ground rather than a bin? Why do products contain so much wrapping? Why is the waste infrastructure the way it is? Why does the government intervention work differently from the operations of the Zabaleen peoples?

 It’s beautiful. Especially at first. Curiosity is how we learn.

Coming back to the United States was interesting. Hearing southern accents again, seeing so many…Americans. The unhappy TSA and customs faces. The long security lines. Again, I feel a little bit out of place here with my Asian features and tattoos. It feels strange. In Egypt, it felt okay to stand out yet blend in at the same time. Here, it feels….

It feels like reverse culture shock. And I’m ready to go abroad again. 

I’ll be waiting. In the meantime, I’ll publish more things on Cairo and Egypt in general. By the way, Luxor is worth it, hot as it is in the summer (godawful), but very cool to history lovers.


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