We are now back in Australia and I thought I managed to ward off the jet lag but here I am awake, on my laptop at 2am.
It was so lovely to see family after so many years away from them and Lindy developed a deep, loving bond with her relatives which is something you cannot put a price on.
Both my brother in law and father in law are recovering slowly from their operations and there is still much more rehab for them to do. But we know they will get better and as my surgeon once said to me “family is the best medicine.” What I didn’t expect was seeing our daughter ball her eyes out on the taxi as we said our goodbyes the night before we left. I felt my heart being ripped out of me and I knew what it meant to see that my daughter fully understood the emotional weight of loss. It made me reflect on my mortality on the way back to the apartment before we headed off the next morning. It made me think of the cry she will make when I am gone and that is something I want to push as far out of my mind as possible (even now I am getting teary writing this).
There is something about travelling that if you have anxiety you will know it all too well. You either are forced into the present, absorbing the sights, sounds and smells of your environment, or you are flung into fight, flight or freeze mode. I oscillated between both although it would not be visible to anyone at all on the outside, I had to do my very best to remain calm and in control of my mind and body.
In our second week we all got colds (not COVID) and I lost my sense of taste so unfortunately I could not enjoy all the yummy food! I am still waiting for my taste buds to come back so my morning coffee I look so forward to just tastes like dishwater!
I connected with a very old dear friend of mine and I met her loving husband and their son. This friend held me and took care of me and made sure I got on the plane back to Australia when my father died. For this we developed such a deep bond that has transcended time despite not seeing each other for over 10 years.
In between family visits we did manage to do some sightseeing. In our final week we had a dear friend who is also like my adoptive sister (well, her and her family lovingly adopted us) come to visit. We went to the old markets called Khan El Khalili, we saw the Pyramids and ate at the 9 Pyramids Lounge which is a restaurant with the most breath-taking view of the Pyramids. We stayed overnight at the Marriott Mena House walking distance to the Pyramids. It was the most expensive hotel I have ever stayed in but it was worth it for the amazing views, great breakfast and amenities. It is definitely a bucket list hotel to stay at! We also got to have a little cruise on a felucca (small boat) on the Nile and watch the sunset.
There were so many things we wanted to do but the traffic and simply having limited time with family responsibilities made it a bit difficult to pack any more in.
What we are focussing on now is applying for visas for my husband’s family to visit so they can finally see together what life is like for us in Australia. We hope to be able to bring them around Christmas time.
On the way back we were so lucky to be able to be provided with the option to upgrade our flight from economy to first class and only pay $1374 for the three of us from Cairo to Doha. We flew Qatar airways and although it was only a two-hour flight, we got a taste of luxury which made the economy flight from Doha to Brisbane all the more difficult! I think I need someone to give me some point hacks so we can fly business more often!
Whilst waiting in line for our flight back to Brisbane, our daughter said “are we flying first class?” To which I replied “no, not this time” and she let out a big “oh no, that’s disappointing” so I can only imagine what the woman in front of us thought about our kid. Little did she know we too are part of the hoi polloi and only got a very minor taste of luxury, it is not a regular occurrence for our kid!
There is so much more that I could write about our trip but one thing I did not expect is how grateful and motivated to work so much harder I feel now that we are back. I don’t want to take any opportunity for granted as we are so lucky here in Australia. I may write more about this trip but this is all I can muster in the dead of the night.