"Hey man, sing me a song, when we were everyone. We were more than just a slice of American pie." -Five for Fighting "Slice"
With only a handful of days left here in Egypt and facing my return to the Land of the Ice and Snow, I must say that I'm really, really going to miss this place. In particular, I'm going to miss the friends I made at the universities and all of our tour managers and guides--you guys are awesome, and I can't begin to thank you enough!
As I sat in my hotel room this evening and listened to the echos of protests in the streets below (which, as Brad mentionned, are not as widespread and dramatic as the news makes them out to be), I realized that this goes to show that no matter our nationality, we all seek peace and safety and prosperity, but we will fight for and protect that which we love.
Thinking back on this month, especially the people I've met and the friends I've made, I'm glad to say I've learned everything I wanted to and then some. When we left New York City nearly 3 weeks ago, I really had no idea what I was walking into, but I hoped that I'd get something good out of it--clarity, perhaps, or maybe some new pals and a new perspective. And that's exactly what happened.
I firmly believe (and this trip has only strengthened this belief) that the only way to get to know and understand other people is to go to the places they call home and see for yourself what it's really like. Talk to people, walk the streets, open your eyes and take a look around. With this comes a deeper understanding and awareness of one's own culture, both the good and the bad, as well as acceptance of the fact that there are some things that you will never fully understand because you haven't lived them. And that's OK, I think.
The point is not to understand everything perfectly, but instead to comprehend what you can, respect what you can't, and allow the experience to make you grow and deepen as a human being.
Perhaps history is being made tonight in Cairo. Only time will tell. But it's my hope that as paths cross and connections are established, history will be made in our own lives. That's certainly what happened to me. As we move forward in our lives, let us leave behind the walls and misconceptions and carry forward the lessons of peace and friendship wherever we go, be it across the Nile or across the Atlantic Ocean.
As far as I'm concerned, 6,000 miles is a simple question of geography--friendship and harmony know no boundaries. Let's make our story one of respect, understanding, and acceptance and see where history will take us.
"Let's make this our story, let's live in the glory. Time, it fades away, precious as a song, 'cause someday we'll be gone." -Vanessa Carlton "More than This"