Today I am sharing someone else’s words because they have already captured an experience better than I can. Even after a year and a half here, when you may think I would be accustomed to anything life can throw at me, these words fit with new situations I encounter.
It is the learning that this quote expresses that makes life in Egypt a challenge, but also what makes it so worthwhile. Like well traveled musician Henry Rollins, I still have so far to go…
“Yeah, that’s my experience. Humbling to the point where you have major regrets about some of the stupid things you said, some of the things you thought were right. You keep going to these countries, and it’s like, you forgot the lesson from the last time. Because the first person you encounter kind of bitch-slaps you upside the head in the most wonderful, innocent way and you realize, God, I’m still an asshole. And this guy, by doing nothing except being broke and so incredibly polite—it takes you aback, you realize, I’m still not there yet. I still have like eight miles to go before I can even get into the parking lot of humility. I have to keep going back. It’s like going back to a chiropractor to get a readjustment. That’s me in Africa, that’s me in Southeast Asia. You come back humbled and you bring that into your life. It’s made me much more tolerant of other peoples—and I’m not saying I used to be a misogynist, or I used to be a racist, that was never my problem. But I can be extremely headstrong, impatient, rude. Like, “Hurry up, man. What’s your problem? Get out of my way.” That sentiment comes easy to me. Going to these countries, you realize none of that is necessary, none of it’s cool, it’s nothing Abraham Lincoln would do, and so why are you doing it? Those are the lessons I’ve learned.”