Chapter Three

Last week we left South Bend. We packed up the car and drove away in the early morning, familiar sights getting smaller in the rearview. We had each come to this place years ago separately and for our own reasons but last week we left together. We drove home to Texas to spend time with loved ones and relax a little, our own brief island of calm between packing up the house and unpacking it again an ocean away.

Today we fly out of the country to embark on our new adventure. Moving to Egypt. I hear it’s hot. Thousands of miles from loved ones, far away from the comforts and community we’ve enjoyed, we will be starting over. It will just be the two of us for a little while and in a few months, three. We will be confused and overwhelmed, we will feel awkward and out of place. But after a while, I hope we will find our way. Right now though, as we’re zipping up the last of our bags and getting ready to leave for the airport, I have to sit down and confess to you that I’m a little nervous.

When I step on that plane in a few hours, or maybe when I step off of it, I expect to feel closure, and an opening. I imagine my life like a book and a giant page is turning today. We leave behind Chapter Two, in which our heroine discovers the world, meets exciting people, finds God, and with a satisfied nod, settles down to be a grown-up (or so she thinks!)

And so begins Chapter Three, in which our heroine embarks on a journey spanning continents to begin a new and untested phase of her life. Little does she know…


  1. As my high school drama coach counseled, you rarely do your best if you aren’t a little nervous. What an exciting opportunity lies before you; no doubt you will do your best and that will be enough to learn and accomplish and enjoy much. People everywhere need your skills. I will be very interested in your perceptions of Egypt and the Middle East. My best wishes to you and Patrick!

  2. Melissa! Good luck. I think this moment is the hardest because everything is so unknown. I mean, it’s Egypt. And it’s you and your husband living together in a foreign country. And then there will be three of you. Doing something you’ve never ever done before. As things become known, I’m sure you’ll feel better but until then, good good luck.

    I trust you will get lots of wacky wacky stories out of this.

  3. Wow, Egypt. I have always wanted to go there. Please write us about the Sphinx and the Pyramids, et al.

  4. Good luck, Melissa! I certainly know the terror of heading off to live in an unknown foreign country — so much harder than serving a mission, but potentially even more rewarding. For now, though, I’ll mainly wish you a good trip and add my hope that you’ll give us excellent blog posts about your Egyptian experience.

  5. Congratulations, Melissa, on this new chapter. I’m looking forward to hearing from you in Egypt.

  6. I’m jealous. All the best to both of you, and please let us hear from you now and then.

  7. Standing on the edge of a precipice is alway heart-pounding- relish it! I can’t wait to hear/read of your adventures…

  8. Joshua A. says:

    Is your baby a girl? If so, enjoy your two or three years in Egypt.

  9. Congratulations!!! Are you having your baby there? or coming home? Good luck! I am excited to keep reading ou stuff.

  10. Is this for Arabic study? If I may ask, what’s taking you to Egypt?

  11. danithew,

    Since Melissa is en route to Egypt, I hope you don’t mind if I answer for her.

    Patrick starts teaching this Fall at the American University in Cairo.

  12. Deep Sea says:

    Will Patrick be in the History dept. at AUC? Can you (or Mark IV, or anyone else) say any more about the decision to teach in Egypt, of all places?

  13. Melissa De Leon Mason says:

    Thanks for the good wishes. We’re in London visiting family for a few days before heading to Ireland next week to get some much needed R&R before heading into the desert. It was a long flight over but luckily we had our Arabic lesson CDs with us. Nothing says scare your neighbor like muttering Arabic to yourself on a transatlantic flight.

    Deep Sea, yep, he’ll be in the History department. We decided on Egypt for many reasons, among them was the appeal to Patrick’s background in international peace studies and the prospect of teaching American history to students who hold a different perspective than most American students. Plus we love to travel and were looking for an adventure.

    I expect lots of blog posts to come from this experience. If not, I fear Steve Evans will hunt me down in Egypt and send me the way of the pharaohs.

  14. Bon Voyage!