There are many things I used to take for granted, and now I live in this place where, well, I realize that I took those things for granted. I don't have many of the things I'm used to, and I lack some of the privileges I had when I lived in the US, and here are some of the things I've noticed that I used to think were so simple, so available, etc, but they just aren't.
1. Rotel. You know, that canned tomato-and-diced-green-chili stuff? Man, let me tell you, chopping tomatoes and green chilis takes time. And the green chilis made my fingers burn and they're still tingling 6 hours later!
2. actually, any kind of prepared food, especially that comes in a can. We have no canned beans, no canned veggies (which mostly are gross anyway, but still), few frozen veggies, no boxes of things (ie mac-n-cheese, cake mix, bisquick, etc).
3. the ability to call my mom to say "mom, the green chilis made my fingers burn, how do I make it stop?" That's not just something I'm missing in Egypt, it's something I'll be missing forever, and that sucks. I never bothered to really think about what it would be like to go through life without being able to call my mom and ask her what to do.
4. actually, the ability to call anyone, really, and likely get them because of cell phones. From here I can't call anyone because I have no phone card. Not friends, not family, not anyone. And I definitely miss having phone contact with friends and family.
5. church and pastors. Since I joined the church (omg now seven years ago almost) I haven't been without a good church community. I've had great pastors, great preachers, good community, a place to go and to be. But here I don't have that. Yes, there's the english speaking church i go to (which has a good preacher/pastor, actually), but it's not the same. Now that I really need a good pastor and a good church community, I lack one. It's very frustrating.
6. being in church leadership. I really miss being on a staff, having meetings with other ministers of all kinds, hanging out with the crochet group or the PW circle, visiting people at the hospital or at home, being with the youth group, preaching, planning worship, planning youth group, and generally just being in the midst of the daily life of a church community. I know I'm called to parish ministry partly because of how much I miss it here where I don't have any part in it.
7. My library. I have an awful lot of books, and I have a weakness where Borders and Amazon and little local bookstores are concerned. I had to pry myself away from the AUC bookstore (largest concentration of english language books in egypt, i think, novels and everything!). I miss my books--looking at them, referencing passages in them, rereading them, re-organizing them. We have lots of books here, but they aren't the same. For one, it's not quite the type of selection I have, and two I haven't read all of them, and three, I miss my own books. Especially certain ones I enjoy (need to?) rereading regularly. I was thinking today of Girl Meets God, and yesterday of Blue Like Jazz, occasionally of some of my school books I'd like to quote from, and pretty much everyday of some of my fave novels (Pride and Prejudice, the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, etc) and my worship/music books. Oh, how I long for my church song books!
8. My cat. I miss her.
That's all for now. I'm sure there are things that I take for granted here that I will sorely miss when I return, and the day I make a mental list about those things, i'll write it here for you to peruse. Until then...ma'a salaama.