Today is actually March 5, so I’ve been home two months now. There are many reasons I have been putting off writing my last Egypt post, chief among them the thought that if I wrote about it, then my trip would really be over. I had such a fantastic time that I truly didn’t want it to end.
After crying so hard Sunday night (Jan. 3) just thinking about leaving, it was particularly difficult to wake up when Rachel came into my room at 7:15 Monday morning. She crawled in with me (Reid got out to make room), and we slept peacefully for three more hours! Oh, how I miss that!
The rest of the day was spent packing, playing, and trying to get in as much quality time with the family as we could. We took our last walk down to Road 9, with me taking pictures along the way so I could remember the scenery.
Of course, no trip down Road 9 would be complete without a stop at McDonald’s!
Since our flight was scheduled for just after midnight, we didn’t have to leave the apartment until about 8:30 p.m.. Instead of scheduling a couple of blue cabs to take us, Andrew decided to snag black taxis off the street. (Note to Andrew and everyone else: NOT A GOOD IDEA.) There were three of us, six large suitcases weighing 50 pounds each, and three carry-on bags. One driver said he would tie the suitcases on top of his taxi, but he ended up not having any rope. I forced them to put most of the bags inside the taxis, but Reid’s taxi finally did have two of our big suitcases just sitting in the small rack on top of the car.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am horrible with goodbye scenes, and this was the worst. Even worse than when I left for my mission. I was bawling, Nancy was joining in, Andrew was yelling at the taxi drivers, and it was chaotic. Again, Rachel just seemed to know what I needed. She said “Grandma, you crying? That’s okay. Who’s tomin’ in June? RACHEL!” That made me feel better, but it sure didn’t stop my tears!
Andrew had made a deal with the taxi drivers for a set price to take us to the airport, so off Reid went in one car; Jacob and I shared the other. I don’t know exactly what direction Reid’s taxi went, because ours went places I had never seen before. To be honest, he was making me a little nervous. I felt better once we got on the main highway that goes to the airport, and I had a better feel for where we were.
Now, there’s a thing at the airport where the taxi drivers have to pay a small exit fee after they drop off passengers. Our agreed-upon fare included that fee so the driver could get out of the airport without problem. As we neared the airport exit (I could even see the exit sign), our taxi mysteriously had engine trouble. The driver pulled over and made gestures that made it seem the battery was dead. He even pretended to try and start the car, but I thought it was suspicious that his radio was still working, and so were his lights. He flagged down another taxi for us and then demanded the full fare we had agreed on. Since he spoke no English, it was pointless to argue with him (although I did let him know I was mad that we had to pay the full fare when he didn’t even get us all the way to the airport). So Jacob and I moved all the luggage into the second taxi and went on our way. Luckily, this guy didn’t charge us much, but I was still angry that I had to pay extra. My feeling is that the first guy didn’t want to pay the airport exit fee, so he kicked us out before he even went into the airport, thus avoiding the fee and pocketing the extra cash.
Airport security was tighter than usual due to the attempted bombing on Christmas Day, so we spent extra time in line being interrogated about who we were, why we had been in Egypt, and where we were going. Jacob got so flustered that when one guard asked, “Is your name Jacob?” he replied “No.” Reid quickly corrected him, however, and we were soon on our way inside the terminal to wait for our flight.
The flight from Cairo to JFK was smooth and uneventful, and I was able to sleep quite well. We had just enough time at JFK to get through passport control and customs, get a bite to eat, and catch our flight to Salt Lake. Matt and Grandpa Frank met us right on time. Grandpa loaded his truck with all our luggage and took Jacob home with all our stuff. Matt drove Reid and me to his house where we hopped into my car and drove home.
The weather was such a drastic change from Cairo; it took me a long time to get used to the cold again. I was so far behind on my work that it took me a couple of weeks at least to get caught up. I came home with what I thought was kidney stones, but it turned out to be a bladder infection (and no stones!). After that got cleared up, I went in for a long-planned-for surgery on my right thumb to correct basal joint arthritis and have been in a splint or a cast since Feb. 1. Other than all that, I’ve been missing Andrew and Nancy and my two precious grand-daughters. Sure, we talk on Skype almost every week, but it’s just not the same as being tackled by Rachel and having my “Grandma time” with her. I will just have to hang onto Rachel’s thought - “Who’s tomin’ in June?” THEY ALL ARE!
P.S. Andrew sent us this email on Tuesday, the day after we left:
Rachel misses Grandma big time. We went and bought a plank of wood to fix the broken couch. She held it in the stroller on the way home and pretended it was a piano. She sang the following song:
"We're on Road 9. I like Road 9. Grandma and me tamed to Road 9 lots and bought bread. Nummy bread. I miss Grandma. La la la. I like Grandma and her yummy bread. La la la. Road 9 and Grandma and bread."
Fun song :)
She also can't wait until June. She keeps reminding us that she's "tomin' to Mriita in June to play with Grandma"