i'm miles from where you are

All too clearly, I remember standing in the airport. As hard as I tried to act like it was no big deal, just moving to Egypt, whatever, I could hardly breathe. Against my will, the lump formed in my throat, tears clouded my eyes, I wondered if it was too late to back out, to slink back to Tuscaloosa...just kidding, I didn't go, I want to stay here with you. I sat there with my parents..stalling, waiting...finally, I realized there was no going back. Better to just get this over with. Goodbye, goodbye, see you at Christmas..

Going back to Egypt this time will not be so hard, I hope. It's home now. I miss it. I miss Cairo; the dirt, the grime, the magnificent decay. The honking, the cacophony of a city in a state of perpetual motion. The smell of shisha wafting on the night air, the sweet aroma of spices in the market, the calls of shopkeepers, the pushing and shoving of people impatient to get wherever they're going, so that they can sit around and do nothing in particular.

I won't miss home so much this semester. I realized in the past month..there's not much left for me here. Somehow, I don't belong here anymore. The people I missed the most...well, only one of them actually deserved my constant longing.

I will miss my family, and I'll miss Kenny...but other than that, I'm ready for another amazing semester in the Middle East. I can't wait to see what adventures are in store for me this time.


Alabama's 6 All Americans, 22 SEC Championships, a Heisman winner, and 13 National Championships. Roll Tide Roll!

This week, my best friend from high school, Megan, came to Alabama to visit during the National Championship. We went down to Tuscaloosa the day before the game and settled in for the game at Kenny and Murphy's apartment. After a warmup on Wednesday night with Phi Sig and some Sweet Carolina with Kenny, we woke up Thursday afternoon and immediately started pregaming. By gametime, everyone was pumped and pleasantly buzzed. After a rough start, the game took a pleasant turn and the first half ended 24-6. There was a turbulent patch of nausea when Texas staged a fourth quarter comeback, but in the end, the Tide triumphed 37-21.

Chaos broke out in Tuscaloosa. Megan and Kenny, after taking tequila shots after every Bama touchdown, looked on in amazement as fireworks were shot off in the parking lot by raucous fans. Opposite sides of the apartment complex shouted Bama chants back and forth to each other as a gigantic and very illegal fireworks display exploded in the midst of crappy college cars, until a Tuscaloosa PD car turned into the lot. Everyone slowly lowered their drinks and looked on to see if the cop would shut down our city-wide party. Instead, the cop watched the rest of the fireworks display to make sure nothing bad happened, then turned on his loudspeaker, shouted "Roll Tide!" and drove away.
Suddenly someone shouted "Veazey!" and my heart nearly lept out of my chest as I saw the last member of the Cult bound up the stairs and into my arms. Holding a bottle of champagne and a cigarette in one hand, a Natty in a GO TO HELL AUBURN coozie in the other, surrounded by Megan and the Cult, and singing Yea Alabama at the top of my lungs into the frigid night, I realized that this was one of the best moments of my life.

Veazey, Kenny, Megan and I retreated into the apartment to warm up. Soon thereafter, Murphy bounded into the room carrying a giant "yellow hammer" and demanded we follow him to the Strip. "They've shut down the Strip!" He yelled, "There's a mob!"

We sprinted toward the Strip in varied, glorious stages of inebriation, only to find a giant mosh pit of zealous Alabama fans jumping and singing in the middle of the street, chanting "13!", "RTR", "It's great to be from Alabama" and singing Yea Alabama, Sweet Home Alabama, and Rammer Jammer.

Then, we made our way over to the Walk of Champions outside Bryant-Denny stadium. There reside the famous Alabama coaches who have led us to past National Championships. There is an empty spot where Nick Saban will one day reside. In reverent solitude, we erected a sign which sad "Reserved for Nick Saban" and watched as grateful Alabama fans streamed in to place a symbolic rose in the hands of the legendary Bear Bryant's statue.

Walking around campus, shouting Roll Tide to everyone who passed and hearing it shouted right back, you could feel the pride. The tradition. The dynasty. The legend. I'm sure somewhere, the Bear was smiling. And I was in Tuscaloosa, crying from happiness, and a little from nostalgia, of heartache, knowing I'm not a part of it anymore. What a beautiful, beautiful night, what a perfect feeling. God bless Alabama. God bless the Tide.

"I ain't never been nothin' but a winner." -Paul "Bear" Bryant

Now I can cross one more thing off of my Life List. Watch Alabama win a National Championship? Done, son! 13! RTR!

ps..I didn't win that travel writing scholarship, but I read the winner's essay, and she deserved to win. It was very impressive. I'm honored to have been selected for the short list and I'm excited for my writing career. And besides, what could take away from the amazing game last night?