Treading water, searching for a new shore

Another Eid al Adha has come and gone. This one was difficult, because I am still alone in Nuweiba and could not help but remember the last Eid last year, in Siwa with T and the family next door inviting us to join them. For the first day of Eid, I decided to take a rare day off work so I could try to do some positive things and take my mind off feeling stuck here, or work out a way to get unstuck.

A day off turned out to be a good decision, because the night before I came back to the house to find kitchen and bathroom flooded, due to burst water heater (which has never actually heated the water anyway, just makes it tepid). This was the latest in a string of problems with the house. With computer service problems at work adding to increasing frustration, I had really had enough, and determined I MUST now double my efforts to find some way to leave. I felt so down that I seriously thought it may be my only choice to search for work outside Egypt, as I have been unsuccessful in finding alternatives here. That would be devastating, I would be torn apart to leave here, and it would also mean for Habibi having to find a home for her or have her killed. But that night I could see no other options.

After cleaning out the water and putting everything wet in the garden to dry, I went to bed and slept until just before sunrise when I could hear people preparing to go to mosque. The incredibly beautiful call to prayer for Eid calmed me. Its opening words are repeated many times and, like chanting or repeating a mantra in other religions and spiritual practices, it helps stop your mind from racing and brings you back to a place of peace.

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Nuweiba sunset

As there was no-one to prepare for or share special meals with, I ate simply as usual. I had intended to do some writing work but after the flooding, decided to go for my usual swim and beach walk, but extend this to enjoy the day. It was good to see families along the beaches playing, flying a kite, and escaping the worries I guess they also each have.

The day out underlined that this is my favourite time of year in Egypt. Days are still warm, 30 to 35 degrees, but the mornings and evenings are cooler, around 20-25 degrees, working is more comfortable as is sleeping more than the 3 or 4 hours I manage in the hottest months. I hope this will give me the energy to push on.

I feel like I have been treading water for the 10 months here, earning too little to do anything but survive, and restricted even in my job hunting because of this. At least I am eating better as I am not eating at work but cooking for myself, and with more vegetables and fruit I am starting to regain some of the weight lost. It has taken nearly 2 months to see any improvement, for a while I thought I would never regain any flesh, but slowly it is returning and I look less like a haggard bag of bones. Even with the exhaustions of work and life I have made sure I swim and or walk each day, so I have some reserves of fitness, but need to build on that also. Although it is cooler in the mornings and for the first time in months I want to stay in bed a little longer, I still get up early because sunset is near 5pm now. That means no more swimming after work, only before.

I had sincerely hoped that moving here in January would solve the immediate problems of this time last year – that I would have secure work and improved finances, be living closer to T and more able to see him sometimes, but it has not really improved anything. It was expensive to move, and a risk, but one I had to take as there was no other way forward then. Now I must again try to find a better way. I have been in difficult situations before and come through those, somehow I must come through this and make a better life.

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