2016 has been a year of profound change. Although all years are years of profound change, this one made itself obnoxiously obvious in its sharp cut with the past. IN a way, this is the razor we need, and in other ways, it is product and producer of much anxiety. Yet it is a bad year in a three decades of softer ones for the world: economic growth slowing all over in the first, second, and third worlds. So I find myself in Utah, spending Christmas vacation out of Cairo, and back in my home country scouting out Salt Lake City for a new life.
My wife has improved massively, and will be returning to working here in the states. She has been living at home for health reasons and for her family health as I had written about before, but now her prognosis is improved and her energy is returning. We spend the week going to Hedwig and the Angry Inch, discussing the Utah AIDS foundation with friends, visiting the various Mormon holy sights out for cultural understanding, and beginning to think about moving back.
I have been gone for seven years–gasoline is two dollars cheaper than when I left and food is more expensive. USB outlets are everywhere. Things say “Made in America” again beyond hipster clothing brands. Things are different and the West is the not the South where I am from or California or DC where most of my friends moved when they could.
I am exited, although I still have six more months as a teacher, away from my wife, in Cairo. At the end of this, I don’t know that I will be a teacher anymore after doing teaching in either secondary or post-secondary settings for over 12 years. I am not sure I won’t stay in the classroom either, but I am open to working in NGOs, consulting, and data-analysis or anywhere that can use my administrative, writing, and data-analysis skills acquired in teaching, educational research, publishing, and working the arts.
I have also been reading on Hellenistic and Greek philosophy and will be doing more writing on that. My thoughts on politics are still forming. I have not commented on the President Elect because I feel like we don’t know enough yet about what is actually going on and while my predictions and observations held up better than the average pundits, being part of the chattering classes on politics before things unfold is, in a way, reading tea leaves or throwing entrails.
So I will watching the Utah snow freeze, we got almost two feet, and four years in the desert and most of my early life being in the South has left me not used to snow. The black ice, the driving patterns, and the shoveling being somewhat alien to me now.
So times they are a-changing. They always are. In six months, I am coming home to a new phase in my life.