It had only been a few hours since flying into Cairo and already it has been filled with scenic moments that would fit into a movie that has the history of the old world and the romance of a foreign place. As Brooke, Abby and I were napping in the air conditioned room at our hostel, Arabian Nights, a thought fluttered into my mind. It was the thought and realization of where in the world I am with the feeling of utter amazement for how lucky we are to live in this world. While lying on my bed in the hotel room (with AC!), it felt like it could be any bed anywhere in the world, but it is a bed in Egypt – a place that is home to a remarkable ancient civilization. It was at that moment that I realized it would not matter if I was lying in a hotel bed or in my bedroom. I am still on this planet, part of a human race that has fostered many civilizations that continue to amaze and bring wonderment to us today. I am now in Egypt, a place the three of us have dedicated time to study about and have dreamed on visiting (or living). I believe that Egypt has been an inspiration to learn more about this world and its people.
It is with the different cultures of this world with interesting histories and people that has pulled me into the field of archaeology. When I was younger, it was with exciting stories and adventure movies that sent me off in frequent day-dreams of traveling to the same places and having my own adventures. Back in high school, I starting writing a book that I had planned out. It was a story with archaeology, adventure and romance set in Belize. A part of the story took place in the courtyard of a restaurant for the last dinner at the end of excavation. Then as life happens, my last night in Jordan ended up at a very nice restaurant, Blue Fig, in which our project director treated the supervisors of the project to an end of season dinner. It happened to also take place in a beautiful courtyard with candles and palm trees – and cheesecake and calamari and wine.
When I had remembered the moment in my story that I had envisioned when I was sixteen, it happily pulled me into the present. Growing up in a big city where everyone is competing against one another, and when you are stressed to produce an impressive resume in your early twenties, my current age of twenty-two can be daunting when you are finished your bachelor’s degree and do not have a job or graduate school lined up. I am sure that it sounds silly, but it is inevitable to get caught up in the competition, especially when you are part of a large city and a large university. So, sitting at the restaurant, surrounded by my friends and colleagues, I finally felt like I am in a good place at the age of twenty-two. In fact, I am in a place that I fantasied about being a mere six years ago.
Now, it is my first night in Egypt, and Cairo has already been everything I expected and more. What I envisioned actually came from the normally inaccurate Hollywood films and books. But to my surprise, it was very similar. Abby, Brooke and I got dropped off at our hostel, Arabian Nights, which was dark and deserted. A lone Egyptian man was smoking next to a rusty fan that was not doing much to improve the sticky, hot air. A fluffy, grey cat snuck past as the man welcomed us. His name is Abrahim, the owner of the hostel, and his greeting included showing us pictures of his family and talking about the revolution currently in Egypt. Brooke and I quickly ventured for some water down the road, into a rustic nook covered with a canopy of trees. Rusty motorbikes and wild dogs lined the road as we walked away from the smiling man behind a refreshment stand. Just then, a man with a fez hat walked by, carrying a pane of glass. It was as if we were living a scene from a movie, reminding me that daily life and being twenty-two is filled with great moments worth venturing out for.