Yesterday, Tuesday the 23rd of April, I attended the very last lectures of my undergraduate university studies. The realization that four entire years have passed with the same routine, lectures, study, exams, summer, go back and repeat is just a bit overwhelming.
I have to admit that there have been days that I have wished for nothing but school to be over. But on others, I have pondered over how lucky I am to have spent time in such a different place to what I was used to. I have made so many friends, most of whom I am sure will be life-long friends, I have learnt so many things, so many life skills, that I could have never dreamed of learning if I had decided to stay in my warm (cold?) cozy spot back in Helsinki.
I would have never met these amazing people, students and teachers alike.
I probably would have never overcome my fear of large gatherings and never learnt to understand that I, in fact, am a people person.
I wouldn’t have learned how to navigate a city of Cairo’s magnitude confidently and comfortably (…?).
I don’t think I’d have learned to speak Arabic and even understand jokes and proverbs like I can now.
These past four years aren’t just the four years of uni, they have also been the first four years of my and Ammar’s marriage. We celebrated our wedding 1.8.2015 and I started attending lectures roughly a month later. These two journeys of school and marriage have walked hand in hand, parallel (sometimes clashing of course…) and have left me in disbelief sometimes. This summer I won’t be only celebrating my graduation, but also our 4th wedding anniversary! Unbelievable. But like Ammar once put it, I can’t believe how, but we made it through, perhaps even as winners.
Despite this last term’s being incredibly tough, time and energy wise, it was the best. Due to super long days and weeks, I had to take the tough decision of putting Yunus to nursery. Thank God, I found the perfect spot for him: Nursery Anna, a Finnish daycare in Mohandesin, Cairo. I can’t describe my relief when I stumbled upon it during my search. My relief was largely based on the fact that it operates on the principles and system that I believed in and was confident of. The staff are amazing and the biggest gift they gave me was the gift of peace of mind. I could attend my lectures, most of which would begin at 8 am and end at 4 pm, without having to feel that I was causing trouble to any of my family members and at the same time I’d know that he was playing and interacting with other kids his age.
On several days, I’d take him there an hour or two before my own lectures and spend them at Starbucks catching up on my assignments or readings. These days were gifts from God, honestly. A day or two a week of peaceful alone-time while catching up on work were priceless and are definitely something I will be missing now. They gave me so much positive energy for the rest of the week to then give both Yunus and Ammar, instead of returning home all grumpy and exhausted, which did happen sometimes, have to admit. Many thanks go to my dear husband for putting up with my tired drama.
I can vividly recall instances of me coming home after a frustratingly long day, filled with disappointing moments and yelling at the world how I hated Cairo university and urged Ammar to slap me in the face if I ever, after graduation, would face a weak moment and say that I actually missed uni days.
I think I have to take my words back already. Sorry, honey.
I will miss meeting with friends, laughing, buying our morning teas and coffees.
I will miss sharing our struggles, tricks and pieces of advice with my other mommy colleagues.
I will miss sharing the successes and failures.
I will miss the study sessions at Diwan Zamalek over a cup of cinnamon milk.
I will miss quarreling over presentations but in the end managing to create something decent.
I will miss lectures of most professors who would make an entirely theoretical subject somehow interesting and relatable.
But because I’m a critical person and always aim at some level of objectivity, I will mention the things that I won’t be missing.
I won’t miss the yelling security ladies of the uni entrance 😀
I won’t miss trying to manage paper work.
I won’t miss the heat in the non air-conditioned classrooms.
I won’t miss the 2 hour car rides in traffic just to get home.
I won’t miss the loudness of some people which would give me a headache before the class even started.
Nevertheless, the things that I have learned and will be missing seem to be on the heavier side of the scale and I’m happy about that. I am happy and satisfied, and lucky. I had the best peers. You know yourselves!
I had the best support team at home. They didn’t only support me emotionally, but also took care of Yunus when I went back to school in third year when he was roughly 3 weeks old, with no judgments. They cheered me on while I lost some attendance grades during the first term of 3rd year due to my insistence on purely breastfeeding for the first 6 months.
Words will fail me in describing how I feel, but it is with a, paradoxically, heavy and light heart that I leave the English department of Cairo university.
Life, show me what ya got for me next!
(Okay just wait for another month oh Life, I’ve got 6 exams to go)
P.S. To read my previous post of Cairo University, click here.