Answers to Watch For…
I’m three weeks from my flights. After driving to Minneapolis, I will fly to Chicago to Washington Dulles to Frankfurt to Cairo. Jeepers. But, at this juncture, there are a few rather important things that I know will figure themselves out…Eventually.
- Groceries. I have spent the last two years of college life in a dorm on campus eating out of the campus cafeteria – no cooking, little cleaning to do of my own. I grew up on a farm – my family grows vegetables for a living, my folks purchasing what food we don’t produce from local livestock farms, lockers, or small town grocery stores. I am a hardcore omnivore. This is a potential problem, because my conception of buying groceries is in a crowded bazaar (or souk) like the Spice Market in Istanbul, Turkey. I am not worried about the vegetable and fruit aspect – I am excited to try out new veggies and fruits that don’t grow here and learn how to prepare familiar ones in Egyptian fashion! But for meat…well, shucks. I don’t want to kill my meat, and I actually have no practice cleaning chickens or cattle or hogs, let alone goats or sheep. I have plucked a duck once. If I find someone selling dead meat, will I be able to trust that meat to not give me food-borne illness? Will I need to be a vegetarian for the semester to combat potential illness?
- City life. I loved being in Turkish and Jordanian cities during January. I love walking through Duluth, MN, on my Saturdays off at camp. But I do really love personal space and broad swaths of nature. I know I will adapt to Alexandria space and buildings everywhere, but can I really be comfortable without the ability to be completely by myself? Will I find places to be truly alone?
- Water. My family’s farm sits across the road from a state-owned wetland, with prairie-surrounded marshes on our land and a river flowing to the east. Luther has a river flowing through campus. And I guide trips down Wisconsin rivers, on Lake Superior, and through Voyageurs National Park. At Luther I began consciously reducing the amount of water I use, but I am American. I have easy access to vast amounts of water even though the activity of the nation is incredibly detrimental to Midwestern aquifers, such as the Oglala aquifer under my farm. I remember signs in our Jordanian hotels reminding us to be conscious that Jordan is a desert. Alexandria is also in a desert nation, albeit laying directly in the Nile Delta. Can I shuck American choices and unreservedly respect the water amounts available in a desert country?