Ever since we first arrived in Egypt, I had been planning to visit home at least once during our program. As the months passed I grew more and more eager to return home and see my family. I had it in my head that I wouldn’t be able to go more than 4 months without going back to the States to see them. It wasn’t until we had just reached September (6 months into our program) that I realized that I was just going to have to wait until timing, plans, and especially finances worked out for all of us. Finally, we decided that December would be the month that we’d take the time to visit home. I would’ve loved to have gone back sooner, but because of an important family event happening this month it only made sense to wait.
Now, we are back in the States for what seems like the shortest vacation ever (if you can even call it that, because some of our classes are still going on while we’re not there). My husband and I have been diligent to meet with friends and community members curious about our studies. We’ve also switched between my in-laws’ home and my own parents’ home to visit them equally. We’ve hosted dinners and we’ve ran our errands. With all of us these things happening, I can honestly say that I’m overcome with emotions.
On the one hand, I am missing Egypt dearly, and the little study environment that I’ve created throughout the year. On the other hand, I am just completely and utterly homesick. I was already homesick from the beginning of our journey to Egypt, but now, being back home and seeing everyone and being in America again, I am battling my desire to just be here again. Don’t get me wrong, I love Egypt and more than that, I love studying. But there’s just something about being with family, that is without a doubt irreplaceable. It honestly feels like no time has passed, and like we’ve just picked up again from where we left off. They are the most important thing in my life and being with them is such a special thing for me. Fortunately, I’m not experiencing any reverse culture shock (I didn’t think I would) seeing as we’ve only been away for just under a year. I think that the real shock will only hit when we are returning after several years of being away.
Right now, even though I’m already homesick and missing my family, I know that I have a responsibility, as well as a desire, to return to Egypt and finish what I started. I am eager to get back and to dive back into my classes that I have worked so hard in. I want to reach the goals that I’ve set and I want to continue to expand my knowledge and life experience. I’m also hoping that, in time, my family will be able to visit me in Egypt. Right now, I just have to be strong and patient and remember my goals and how much progress I’ve made with my Arabic. I must remember that I’m not doing this for my own pleasure, but the pleasure of God. I am doing this to be a better person and to learn about my Creator and in turn, about myself. With that, I pray that I will reach those aspirations and that I will be rewarded for all the struggle I’ve endured to attain them. Leaving home and family and going to a foreign country to study has not been an easy task… but God-willing, the result will be worth it.