Greetings from Cairo!
As I write this, most of you are in bed, dreaming away in cooler climes. For me, it’s 9am and I’ve already had to put on the AC. If only I had a fan…project for later today.
First, I want to give a huge, Luke-filled thank you to all those who so generously gave me gifts upon my departure. Your generosity has honestly made my transition smoother, from allowing me to leave with love and courage in my soul to being able to acquire what I need to settle in (i.e. a fan!) Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am now in the good hands of the brothers here, and they ask me to offer their thanks as well as their cordial greetings!
It’s very smoggy here, and that took me by surprise (and I was surprised at being surprised)…everywhere there is this burnt yellow glow about things. You can even smell it. Either I never really took note, or it’s simply gotten worse over the past six years. The noise is the same, however. The brothers have outfitted me with a great room on the garden side, which helps mitigate the noise. I also have an AIR CONDITIONER! (God does indeed shine on his beloved).
And the garden is as beautiful as ever! Oh how I missed it! The first full evening I was here, we were hosting a wedding reception, and the whole place was lit up! And I had forgotten how much I love our after-lunch coffee, where we sit and chat before moving on with our day.
I haven’t been outside the priory much; only to go to IKEA (yes, they have IKEA here) to supply/furnish my room (pillows, an armoire, and a chair were a must!). I guess I don’t feel the same confidence as I did before to venture out on my own, given my Arabic is definitely not up to snuff. However, my days in the priory have been quite productive with simply nursing my jet lag and settling in. It’s been restful, actually, and I think the jet lag is over now.
The brothers of the program (let’s call us “The Five”) are arriving bit by bit. The first of us to arrive, Sunil (from India), has actually already been here for a year. He seems genuinely grateful to now have others in the same boat as him. He came to Cairo without having ever left India, not knowing a single word of Arabic or French. I’ve got to hand it to the guy, he’s quite resilient. He did well in his first year, and feels more settled going into the second. I hope he finds the support he needs in us.
Paul (from Nigeria) was supposed to arrive late last night, but never showed…we’re waiting to hear more. Pierre-Marie (from Senegal) and Touffik (from Pakistan) will hopefully arrive in the next couple weeks.
When I first arrived, only a few of the brothers of the community were in town, but now the Chapel is getting fuller with habits. Community life here (over the next year, at least) is beginning to take shape: chapter meetings, liturgy, bellman jobs (I’m in the Laundry and helping with guests in the Scholar’s house).
Well, it’s best I get on with my day. I’ve reinstalled Rosetta Stone on my computer, and am determined to make the most use of it to supplement my Arabic learning, as classes don’t start for another couple weeks. I’ve got to take full advantage of the time to brush up!
Be sure to follow me on Facebook where you can receive more regular and spontaneous updates (i.e. when I popped into the wedding happening in the Priory Garden).