May 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Listening to Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” on repeat is an emo and self-destructive decision at this juncture…

Tests and papers are done, and with them studying abroad. We had a beautiful haflat al-muahib (Talent show / final banquet). Naguib and I sang an Egyptian song about going away but always being close, which I thought was appropriate for the relationships we’d made this year / term in particular. I am very grateful for the professors and of course the dream team administration.

After the party we – all the Egyptian and American students – went to Silsila. I raved with Iman about how wonderful Middlebury is and how much fun we’re going to have. I have to focus on the things coming up in the more distant future because frankly the leaving sucks a lot. Afterwards the Americans went to Mermaid and we danced the evening away. A few of us guys stayed up way late have a heart-to-heart in the post-language-pledge English we enjoyed. Scott woke me up at 7am to say his goodbye and took off into the future. Since Tony’s departure during the talent show, we’ve entered a 3-day departure fest and it’s hard and not fun. They drop like flies. This is a group of people I never imagined could exist, for their brilliant minds and senses of humor and capacities for compassion and stories and ambitions. I’ve never felt so engaged and challenged and rewarded so uniformly in degree and variably in kind by relationships like these. And that makes it hard to leave.

I packed up almost all my room today – no more photos on the walls or flags from the curtain rod. All that’s really left is the clothing, which I won’t wash out of principle. That’s the basement of my childhood house’s job, and the elves’ who work there… On an unrelated note, I love and appreciate my mother a lot.

Today I went to the synagogue with SF, Steve, and Kremer and then the Jewish Cemetery. I wish I could say it’s woefully neglected, but it’s much worse. Defaced and smashed and overgrown and I don’t know why “they” haven’t plowed it and built something there instead. (because “they” have no money.) We had great talks about Israel and Jews and the future of geopolitics in the shade of a palm and by a broken headstone. Felt right, in a bittersweet way.

Everyone who’s left ate dinner at Mohamed Ahmed. Nehad and Lizz swung by and gave us chocolate (and Lizz ate our cheese) and then they whisked away before the waterworks could begin. We went to the citadel to watch the sunset afterwards. It was such an obviously symbolic moment, but I’d left my camera in the dorm. There’s a scene in the study-abroad-canon film “L’Auberge Espagnole” where, at the end of a year in Barcelona, the characters celebrate in their usual dive and the protagonist says by to his friends, not forgetting the bartender, and walks away. I was happy to see Yasl at Mohamed Ahmed. For the consistent readers of my blog, you may remember me mentioning this waiter early on. In that chapter, he had remembered my name and greeted me enthusiastically and I sort of became a Regular in that moment. So when I said goodbye to him today, there was cheek-kissing and hugging.

Asir Mecca, farewells, a bar, and more farewells followed. It’s emotionally damaging, these freaking farewells. Can’t wait to get the hell out of here and lose these emotional callouses! I’ll finish packing tomorrow, eat brunch with some Egyptian friends, and kill some time. Saturday I go to Cairo with a handful of friends, spend the night and all day Sunday there communing, and then leave from the hotel for at 5ish am on Monday the 17th, back to the inevitable Cairo International Airport.



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  1. Hema,
    I’ve had a blast getting to know you and reading your blog this entire year. Have a safe trip home and a good time in Oman. Keep in touch and i’ll see you in the fall.

  2. Is this your final post then? Or will you sign off with much fanfare and ado? Relish your last few days–though your adventures don’t stop here.


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