Getting ready to live the dream, the adventures of an ex-pat in his motherland. Pt. 1
by, June 12th, 2012 at 03:30 PM (897 Views)
Ok, just dropped my stuff off at the freight forwarder so there is officially no turning back! The wedding was beautiful!! Now the checklist of everything that needs to be done.
1) Got married
2) Got Visas
Let's talk about packing for a minute. There are always two schools of thought when it comes to packing, bring all of it, or bring nothing. Since we have way too much Scuba gear (is there really such a thing?) to carry on the plane we thought we would give a shot at bringing everything!! For those of you who have ever moved overseas I will give you a few minutes to recover from falling on the floor laughing out loud.
Better? Not yet, I know you are still laughing but since you are reading this at your own pace I will continue on for the rest of the world. For those of you who have never attempted an overseas move let me give you some advice. YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO BRING EVERYTHING!! The most painful and tedious part of this adventure will definitively be the packing (I hope!!).
First you pack everything you want to bring with you and when you realize about 25% of the way through that you have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF!! You then unpack everything pair it down to the important stuff. You then realize again that you have way too much stuff. You do this three of four more times until you finally say this is what has to come with me. Now you are left with having to get rid of all the stuff you said you want to take and can't. Countless moving and garage sales later you are left with your most valuable items.
Ok we are now ready for the final packing, the funny thing about this process is that we packed so many things that we will probably never use but just can't let go of yet. It is a painful process. When you move to a more "Western Nation" (I hate that term) you can replace everything, but when moving to a place like Sharm el Shiek, Egypt you have no idea what will be available and what won't. I even packed lead weights (thank god ocean shipping is charged by cubic foot!!) because the one place the antiquated imperial weight system seems to work is in lead weights for Scuba. In case you where wondering, yes almost all the weights I brought were odd number weights, since I couldn't find any half kilo weights in Egypt, lots of one, three and five lbs weights. I brought my professional mixer so there will hopefully be a lot of yummy food coming from my kitchen, can't wait to cook my first Texas style BBQ in Egypt!! You are all invited to come!! Then came the dive gear, my god there is so much of it!! Packed the electronics and was happy that I was ready to go!! Then came the realization that I had not packed any clothes, so one more unpacking, yard sale, repacking and I am finally all packed and ready to go (I think....).
So here I am with no turning back, still procrastinating the final packing of stuff to store at my mom's house and carry on my back for a month in Europe and I am looking back at how all this started. To understand the irony in this move is to understand what I think will be the most intriguing aspect of this story and that is of "The adventures of an expat in his motherland".
I was born of Egyptian parents and grew up in a very rural part of New Jersey where for the most part my family was the ONLY non-American family for quite some distance, the closest Egyptian that I knew of in NJ (trust me we knew them all back then) was about 30 miles away and guess what? They were my relatives!!
Growing up in a town that still used butchers, dairies, and bought produce directly from the farm as an American raised me in a way that formed my whole being. It made me over time what I consider to be a true American. If that was not enough I spent most of my adult life in Georgia and Texas and loved every minute of it!! I am your poster child, truck driving, "good 'ol boy" and very proud of that fact (I even like country music!!). It will be interesting to see how that will play out in Egypt.
For instance on my first diving trip in Egypt (the one that started this whole crazy idea) I was having so much fun with all the Egyptian staff!! They were so thrilled to have another Egyptian on the boat, so much so that I actually felt quite sorry for the rest of the group diving with us as the staff gave all their time and energy to accommodate the needs of my then fiancee and me. After one particularly amazing day, a Dutch guy on the boat bought me a beer which I gladly accepted!! That's when it all changed, I went from long lost brother to asshole tourist in just one sip. The whole attitude of the entire dive staff towards me changed in an instant.
It will be hard enough for me to be judged by me diving peers day in and day out but as any good guide will tell you is that you are only as good as your support team and I will have to find a way to keep the Egyptian staff happy without losing touch with the Expat crowd that will be the closest thing to home for me. Can one man bridge the gap between Egyptian boat crew and Expat dive instructors? Stay tuned to find out!!