Yesterday I went to Target. While wheeling my children through the aisles I picked up a can opener and a bread knife. Last Saturday I purchased a mixer and cookie sheets. On my previous trip I bought small cups and bowls, an immersion blender, washcloths, a pizza wheel, mixing bowls, a pizza pan, and clippers.
I already own all of these things. Due to our present circumstances, however, they're halfway across the world, and I won't be seeing them anytime soon. In the meantime, I still have three children and a husband to feed and take care of. And so every time I go to Target, I pick up a few more things that I already own.
We have now been evacuated for over a month, and living in Oakwood for just over three weeks. The initial trauma of the evacuation is over; we're in no danger, we have a safe place of our own, and we've even established routines. The immediate dislocation of evacuation is finished.
But now comes, in some way, the harder part. This is the part where we wait, and while we wait we set up a semi-permanent, but ready to go with three days' notice, lifestyle. Every time I think about buying another piece of household equipment, I wonder if I really need it. Could I get along for the next few weeks without a garlic press? Probably. How about the next few months? It would be more annoying. But which do I have in store - weeks or months? Which is more important - money or sanity?
After traveling between Egypt and the US several times, I feel like I've developed a split reality - third world and first world - that I can switch between in the blink of an eye. Sitting in the Cairo airport, waiting to board a plane, I'm in a third world country. But when I step onto that Lufthansa plane with its pleasant German flight attendants, I'm back in the first. No problem, no dislocation.
I find the same developing now - evacuee and typical American mother. I take my children to the library and they agonize over which books to take home. We go to Costco and eat samples of crab dip. But then I think of what we were doing just over a month ago - riding a felucca on the Nile. I look at the emerging flowers and anticipate spring and warmer temperatures. But will I be here for spring? Or just skip it entirely and head back to Egyptian summer?
Who knows? At this point, nobody. And so life continues - the first world American one. For now, anyway.