This past week has had two foci:
1) The 16 cm of snow that have fallen across Cappadocia, taking an arid-feeling, dusty landscape and transforming it into the curiosity that is an arid-feeling, dusty landscape capped by snow; it’s a whole new kind of beautiful, and our moods and sledding energies were ready for the change, not to mention the feeling of a fourth distinct season exhibiting itself…
2) The uprising in Eygpt, which caught us off guard and yet, somehow, we should have seen coming. As Byron and I (and the kids! amazingly well able to take in unfolding events!) have sat, night after night, watching the riots and anger and rock throwing and analysis on Al Jazeera, I’ve harkened back to the Gulf Storm coverage on CNN, tossed myself back to that first time we all realized history moves, has motion, and isn’t simply frozen in textbooks. The part of me that knows I’m a spoiled brat has to wonder if my interest in Egypt’s events would have been as intense, had we not been scheduled to take a tour there, um, next week. Truly, nothing reveals what a selfish sod I am more than my own interests colliding with a revolution. We watch the news; I support the desire for democracy (at the same time I fear a power vacuum that will open a place for militant Islamicists); but mostly I holler at the tv, “PEOPLE OF EGYPT: we are behind your movement. We hope no one dies. We want Mubarak to step down and for fair elections to take place. We respect the vehemence with which you are expressing dissatisfaction–it reminds us of America in the 1960’s, and wouldn’t it be cool if Bob Dylan were writing songs about you right now?–and we wish for you peace and satisfaction and a payoff for all your courage…BUT, there is also this little problem called We Wanted to Come There with Our Children, and We Were So Excited to See Pyramids and Swim in Pools and Look at Sarcophagi and Eat with a Nubian Family and Sleep on a Felucca.”
You can see how personal interests clash with all the dramatic clashing there in Tahir Square.
Yesterday, our tour company in Egypt officially cancelled the dates for which we were scheduled. That means, in turn, that we can get a refund and talk to the airlines. That also means, in more turn, that we’ve had to weigh our hopes for Egypt against potential realities. We’ve decided to accept that revolution follows no agenda and that, if it’s February and we were ready to travel, we should get our money back, still play with a “perhaps, one day” possibility regarding Egypt (it’s so close, and airfare is so profoundly cheap compared to what it would be when based out of the U.S.; this issue of travel possibilities versus what is reasonable, in fact, has raised a household discussion of “Is it wise to go into debt for travel?” One of us feels one way. Another of us feels the other way. Take your best guess as to who feels how!), but move on and use this opportunity.
And that’s why, as much as we’ve adored sliding in ditches on pieces of cardboard this past week–
as much as we feel strangely invested in the politics of Egypt–
as much as we’ve marveled at the sight of fairy chimneys smothered with dustings of snow–
as much as we’ve been chanting “Power to the people”–
our focus this next week
is going to be
a trip to