Sunday, July 26, 2015

Goodbye, Times Of Our Lives!

With coffee next to me and the "Cairo" playlist blasting, I am ready to write what should have already been written: my farewell letter to Egypt. Naturally, as a highly emotional person who has surrendered to the fact that the only talent she has is bringing words to paper, this blog post was a long time coming. Musicians write songs about their experience, artists draw a picture and most people just indulge in memories while they go through their photos. I write blog posts! Thanks to my awesome friend Sherif I woke up this morning to a true masterpiece of a video that captured my time in Cairo with my friends, and I finally feel inspired to let my kind of creative juices flow: writing a freaking blog post!

"Nothing's ever what we expect, but they keep asking where I go next"

I'm not a religious person but these days it's hard for me to not believe in God as I watch this video. How was I nothing last year, with no hope and no happiness, and today I am able to look at a video that shows one year in six minutes, with faces whose mere existence make me feel like I'm blessed if ever there was such a thing. It's not self-evident that someone would be lucky enough to have such a video even be possible. I remember when I first came to Egypt and someone told me he was "a lucky guy". I felt the opposite about myself, so that boy offered to share his luck with me. Whether it was him, the universe or God who provided me with my luck that day, I truly stopped being unlucky because I was given a life I never thought I could have.

Within days of receiving that guy's luck, I had a boyfriend, a new job and subsequent career and a group of new people who would become my family away from home. I went from alone, unemployed and unfulfilled to excited and successful just because I had the guts to move to Egypt although it was the last thing I wanted. Due to my boyfriend and sister's help I never had to be the usual foreigner in Cairo that gets ripped off or lost, and thanks to a job I loved I got to go to open bar parties, dinners and interesting interviews which would have been impossible anywhere else in the world. On Thanksgiving, a few of us sat together and were thankful for having met each other, and today I know that it's worth being thankful for that.

Yes, you can find friends everywhere in the world, and it will always suck leaving people, but sharing an exhausting experience such as living in Egypt with like-minded people changed the way I look at friendship. When I was in need of muscly boys to help me move like fifty times not a single person bailed without expecting anything in return, and when I had the spontaneous idea to have some drinks on a boat an hour later my friends showed up in large numbers because why the hell not? This community of people who do not second-guess what it is that made you friends was the thing I took from Egypt the most, because "Why the hell not?" is the perfect attitude to have about friendship, and it rubbed off on all other aspects of my life as well...

Because some things sound stupid, many people hold off on doing them. If there's no reason not to do something, I will do it, and that's what Egypt taught me. If I can take daily sexual harassment, social injustice, horrible landlords, terrible wages, a police force that is anything but my friend and utter chaos wherever you look, I can take on anything. And why? Because all this is inferior to the power that lies in meeting the right people that fulfill, challenge and complete you. I find it hard to believe that any other place in the world is home to more interesting people that instantaneously make you want to stay with them forever than Cairo. There is no such thing as forever for me and Egypt, or me and these people, but there is a forever for me and all those memories, and for the first time their existence makes me happy, not nostalgic. Thank you, Egypt!

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