I’ve had an interesting week, walking in 3 different countries that I love. The first was during my third visit to Egypt, where we spent 10 days as virtually the only tourists in a land of political unrest. Because of travel advisories warning people to stay away, we had every historical site from Lower to Upper Egypt to ourselves. I loved being with Semsem Salib, our local tour guide and Egyptologist, who loves his country beyond measure. It was fascinating to see history come alive through his eyes and learn about the 2011 Revolution that began to unfold in Tahrir Square, a block or so away from where he grew up. (You can learn about what happened here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_2011_Egyptian_Revolution). I felt, over and over again, his love for his people, their history, and his land, and hope that maybe the coming months will bring tourists back to Egypt so he can share that love with others. I was able to love Egypt even more, because of the love I felt from him for his country.
Here are some photos of the Revolution that has stirred up Egypt:
On our way to and from Egypt, our flights touched down in Frankfurt, then Munich. I had a window seat both ways, and I looked out over the green fertile fields and the small picturesque villages of southern Germany, the land of my forefathers. My heart just leapt inside me as I saw that place, then landed and spent just a few hours in the airport. Just being there was enough for me to feel I was home. I marveled at the intensity of the feelings I had being on German soil (even in an airport). Hearing the language and smelling the food and being with German people felt right and good to me. I felt like I belonged there and I love that feeling. It was not foreign, it was part of me and of who I am. My first ever travel abroad was to Germany when I was 17 years old. That first trip out into the world beyond my own was life-changing, and started me on a path that broadened my world considerably. I’ve visited somewhere before 40 and 50 countries since then.
Then I returned home to Utah this week celebrating our American Independence. Today every home in our neighborhood had a flag flying. Our local Scouts and youth put them up every patriotic holiday. We’ve had family gatherings and barbeques and burgers and watermelon. I’ve spent some time in the yard feeling peace and enjoying the gorgeous mountains surrounding our valley from our own little Garden of Eden. I feel safe here, home in a land I love. Tonight we watched fireworks exploding all over the valley as we considered the freedoms that we enjoy. I am grateful to live here.
As I’ve considered these three lands this week, I am grateful for opportunities I’ve had to enlarge the boundaries and borders in my heart. I love America. But I love many other places too. And I love observing people all over the world who love their homes and countries. We all belong to lands that we love.
I’ve had thousands of visitors to this blog from more than 100 different countries. I love thinking about who you might be and what you might be doing. I don’t know you, but I am happy to feel your presence and I think about you–out there, connecting quietly here, with me. I love being a part of a world-wide brotherhood and sisterhood.
I wish you all a happy Independence Day from here in America. Let’s all celebrate living in lands that we love, and be open and willing to share and make this world a better, smaller place.