Well, we made it. Overall, the trip was easy. Before we left, I was super nervous about bringing Tenney. Though I had read and re-read regulations, talked to the airline several times, and Justin had talked to the Consulate I don’t know how many times, I was so scared that there would be something missing or that her crate wouldn’t be right or the airline would say they had lost her confirmation or that, or that, or that. In actuality, though, it couldn’t have been smoother and easier. We checked in at the Lufthansa counter and they were amazing and patient. They got her all checked in, checked our baggage, and then gave us time to walk her one last time before wheeling her back to a special TSA agent, who swiped her crate and then waved her along. In Frankfurt, we actually saw her go onto the plane, and when we arrived in Cairo, she was waiting for us with a porter at the baggage claim when we got there. Her very excited yips echoed through the corridor. Needless to say, we made quite an entrance, as people stared (or tried not to make it obvious they were) . Crazy Americans, we are. But we also love our dog and its really nice to have her here. It makes it feel a little more like home in the middle of this unfamiliar place.
It also makes us get out and walk. And even though we get some strange looks, it gives us an opportunity to walk around the neighborhood a bit and start to get our bearings. We walked for a few blocks along the river yesterday and around the neighborhood a bit more today. It was a good sign when we came to a street and recognized that this was the way we had walked with our host when we came to look at the apartment earlier in the summer. Small steps, but good ones.
Other small steps of this weekend included buying our first groceries, finding the big grocery store, and ordering water in Arabic. I know, I know, huge steps. But we have to start somewhere right? And, strangely, ordering water was a big one for me. I asked in English and the server didn’t understand so I asked in Arabic and he knew what I was saying. It’s kind of funny, really, because one of the things I wonder about is how my images of water will change here in the desert. As one who grew up loving the water, in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, those images of flowing, clean, and abundant water are plentiful. But in a place where the water that flows isn’t all that clean and where the water sometimes makes people sick, and when the Nile and the water rights that come with it can even cause problems, how do images change? And yet, the water of life flows here, too.
It flowed yesterday, when I led worship for the first time, sharing communion with brothers and sisters from around the world. It really is a beautiful place because it brings together people who would not otherwise ever have reason to interact. It brings together members of the body of Christ to be filled once again by the bread of life and reunited in the bonds of baptism. The water of life flows through the fellowship time that follows, and in the ways brother pastors look after each other’s congregations in a time of uncertainty. And, yes, sometimes it flows in a neighborhood restaurant when maya is spoken and water appears.