Traveler’s Blues? Gazelle’s Life Fatigue


This is my last night in Alexandria as part of this program anyway.  I am going back to America for seven days!

I should be happy, but I am not.


Don’t get me wrong, I am ecstatic to be going home.  and I’m not sad about leaving the Egyptians I’ve met here or the Americans.  This is the nature of programs like this, you’re stuck together for a few months, get to experience some very particular things with each other, and then you go your separate ways. Some of you will meet again, a good chunk of you will not.  That’s life. The important thing is the impact we’ve had on each other while together and in this special environment.  There are so many wonderful memories centered around silly, little moments that perhaps only I will remember.  That’s ok.

But to get to point of this post, going back to the US does not represent relieve to me… and that is bothersome…

The weights of the world do not lie on my shoulders, but sometimes I realize some heavy ones are there anyway.  And I am left to sit in silence and ask myself the question:  Did I make a wrong turn somewhere?

In the past two weeks I have seen a lot of Facebook anouncements for graduation, and it has been nice to see people finish off whatever journey they started two three or four year ago. I was looking at the graduation photos of the women who would have been my Yale buddies, and thinking about how life would have been different had I gone there instead of here.

I wonder if Arabic and trying to master it (verdict is still out on that one as to whether or not I have… :-/) was what I should be doing.

On the one hand, my personal progress has been great, and very clear.  My vocab, command of grammar and written prose  have all greatly improved.  My speech always fast must too often littered with little grammatical faux pas here, there and everywhere, and some pronunciation mistakes to boot, is practically free of all those problems now.  Alhamdullilah!… I have to give all the praise to HIM for keeping me through.  It’s one thing to feel like you’re progressing, but it’s another thing to get that reinforcement from others who can speak to your case.  Alhamdullilah!

I learned a lot of Arabic, much of it (for Modern Standard) during these past two years.  I also learned two dialects and supposedly have a strong command of at least one of them.  So no, I don’t regret my choice for academic reasons.

What I do find myself thinking about tonight though is what happened to my thrill?  Where is the fire?

Egypt somehow as these months have passed on caused my to stamp all that out.  Even less of an optimist than I was before and all the more a realist, I’ve somehow stopped caring.  It’s like Gazelle is going through the motions of life, but I’m not stopping to enjoy it.  I’m connecting dots and checking things off but it’s not  because I want to do so, it’s because I feel like I have to do so.

this post might be a bit cryptic but oh well.

On second thought, I think I expected this to happen, back when the first year of my program was Hell and a hand basket.  It was the impetus behind my desire to pursue an opportunity in Spain….

the thing is, I don’t know if Spain is enough to bring Gazelle’s “essence” back. Even that right now, seems like  a series of checks marked off on a list, a web of steps that lead to God knows where…. sigh.

How did this happen?  My Egyptian experience hasn’t been all that bad.  It’s had some low points, but some high points as well.  Not on my top ten best life experiences, but not at the bottom either.  Something tells me I have yet to fully comprehend just how much a turning point these nine months have been…

At any rate, this is the end of this part of Gazelle’s adventures.  I’m opening a new chapter in a few days.


2 thoughts on “Traveler’s Blues? Gazelle’s Life Fatigue

  1. In the course of great accomplishment, in the course of life-changing decisions and turning points…we often have those moments of stagnation. I know…I had so many of them in medical school, painful ones…and now, I can’t remember them. Hehe, I’ll try to remember that as I trudge through residency… But I think you’re absolutely right when you say that you are yet to fully comprehend your last nine months. Insha’Allah, you will reflect and realize how far you have come and it will inspire you as you face new opportunities in the course of life…

    That’s why I like the lyric by Chico Buarque, “Tem dias que a gente se sente/ como quem partiu o morreu/ a gente estancou de repente/ ou foi o mundo então que creceu?” Sometimes we feel like one who has departed or died. We stagnated suddenly, or was it the world, then, that grew?

    Welcome back to the States when you get here…hope the reverse cultural shock is gentle, hehe.

  2. gazelledusahara

    Thanks… yeah, sometimes it all feels like too much to process… all the culture shock thus far has been much welcomed 🙂

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