Excerpts from David Watkin’s blog about studying and traveling in Egypt and Morocco with the UC Honors Program in February 2011.
Feb. 5, 2011 —evacuated from Egypt
One week ago yesterday I was evacuated from Alexandria, Egypt with 11 other students and our program director. I eventually made it back to the U.S. and have spent my time visiting the people I care about, my friends and my family. I imagine it will take me some time to fully digest and reflect on my time in Egypt.
It's something I never hope to experience again. At the same time, it puts a lot of perspective on life here in the U.S. Many of the things we take for granted, like being able to call or email loved ones, can represent a daily battle in the confines of such an oppressive state. I definitely have a new appreciation for the communication aspects of the Internet and the ability to pick up the phone and talk to loved ones.
I've not only received a new perspective on life in the U.S., but life in general as well. In my room in Cincinnati, I had a poster on the wall that said, "Live like you'll die today but dream like you'll live forever." I've always thought it was a nice saying and something to work towards but never in my wildest dreams did I think that particular saying would hit home so hard.
That saying filled my mind as I was confronted with the most dangerous and terrifying times of my life. Clearly, such an experience leaves a mark. Some changes may be obvious, others more subtle, and still others that may not be discovered for some time.
I certainly learned a lot about myself and my ability to survive under the pressure of extreme circumstances. Nothing like a revolution to force one to grow up. One thing is clear, though, I'm never going to take tomorrow for granted again.