Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Waiting Room

At the end of August, the US government extended the evacuation for another 30 days, which means I'll be staying in NYC until at least November 1. The Powers That Be won't reevaluate the situation until the end of September, so Nick and I find ourselves in the middle of another cycle of waiting.  However, there are some new developments that make this cycle a little different from the previous two.

First, I'm starting to lose faith that I will ever be allowed to go to Egypt, given the current situation in Egypt and Syria.  Cairo had its first car/suicide bombing in years, just to add to the fun cornucopia of ongoing political repression and street violence.

Second, because I was supposed to move to Cairo this month, the US government now considers me to be an evacuated adult dependent...without actually being an evacuee.  As a result, this month I'll start receiving the same per diem as the USAID officers and family members who actually did evacuate Cairo.  I find this to be very funny, but also just a little bit weird.

Actually, the whole situation that Nick and I find ourselves in is weird.  I mean, on the surface really nothing in our lives has changed as a result of the evacuation.  Nick is still in Cairo, just as he's been for the past 18 months.  I'm still in NYC, just as I've been for the past two years.  Our day-to-day lives are pretty much the same as they've been since Nick left.

And yet, to me it feels like our lives are being turned upside down. As a bit of  a compulsive planner, I find it very difficult to cope with the uncertainty of living month-to-month, and there are days when I can feel the uncertainty fraying my nerves.  I stew over the fact that we had a plan laid out for the first 3 or 4 months after I moved to Cairo, but now that plan is just gone and we can't replace it with a new plan.  I do not like not having a plan.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed by sadness over how much of each other's lives we are missing out on, how many shared experiences we're not having.  I already worry that at the end of our lives I will regret spending these past two years apart, and now I feel the weight of every extra day of separation the evacuation forces upon us.

I hate to end this post on such a whiny note, because really Nick and I are quite fortunate compared to other evacuated staff.  I didn't have to evacuate Cairo solo with a passel of kids.  We're not dealing with trying to find temporary housing in the DC area while registering said passel of kids at temporary schools.  We're not trying to make sure that the home/vehicle/pet we left behind in Cairo is being taken care of.  We're not moving to our next post without any of our belongings because our assignment in Cairo expired during the evacuation and we can't go back to manage a packout.  Like I said at the beginning of the post, the impact of the evacuation on our daily lives is really quite small.

But the impacts are there, whether on the surface or underneath or just in my mind, and they are growing every day.