Sunday, February 12, 2017

Egypt, A Year Later: Do You Miss It Yet???

Last month, I returned to Egypt for the first time since leaving to get the rest of my stuff before I move back to the UK. There's no way in hell I was ready for Cairo, and I don't think I'll ever really be excited about going back there, but I found a great, cheap flight to Sharm and arranged to meet my friends (and stuff) in Dahab, also known as by far the best place in the Middle East, definitely Egypt. Of course, this trip was more convenient than it was a joyous occasion, I thought, but I tried to look forward to it anyways. I was curious if after eight months feelings had changed, and I actually found that they had.

Maybe my glasses were clouded since I was in Dahab, not the soul-destroying, polluted Cairo. I was also meeting my best remaining friend in Egypt and my best friend I met in Egypt there who came to meet me there from Cairo and Ramallah, Palestine, respectively. Both of them, dear to my heart, obviously made an already nice place nicer to be in. We rented bikes, went snorkeling at the Three Pools and ate the freshest and most delicious fish meals in the history of my life. I could have done all that by myself and it would have been amazing already. Since I didn't have to, I also felt the love which, again, would have been quite hard to do in Cairo. It had, in fact, been my first time in Dahab since April 2015 that I was not in Dahab by myself but because finally needing space isn't something I need now.

As a result, I spent my days smiling, enjoying seeing familiar faces, and being generally happy about being where I was. That, my dear readers, is a new experience after even two years in that country. Usually, coming to Dahab meant survival: finally clean air, no noise so the sanity could remain prevalent in my brain and quite literally an escape from social situations in Cairo I felt anything but comfortable with. My time in Dahab had previously served to maintain my ability to make it in Cairo for another few weeks, and the essence of a vacation was drained since anything but the occasional flight would have resulted in damage much further than the one Cairo already had. It was still nice then, but a necessary "nice". Today, visiting Dahab is more like the cream that is served on a hot piece of pie; my life is good, I enjoy it, and I get to add an extra toping to an already great period in my life.

For the first time, I actually came to visit Dahab because I wanted to, not because I had to due to Cairo raping my head and heart. I got to tell my friends I am happy; happier than I ever was since they met me. I got to share my good news with people who were happy to see me, and even had the wonderful moment of seeing some folks from that old life I hadn't seen in a long time. Everything about that trip reminded me that I lived a different life not too long ago, but it also became painfully obvious that all the change that has since happened is irreversible, and that it is the past, and not the present or future. It only hurts because in every scenario where you move on from something that was a part of you once, you have to leave things behind. In my case it was a lot of bad things, things and people who made me doubt myself, tried to convince me I was horrible and made me the worst version of myself. At the same time, that also meant leaving behind those beacons that even then chose to see that the person I was those two years was never really who I wanted to be.

This time, I recognized how much I wasn't myself when I was living in Cairo. My friends I saw in Dahab all told me how much I had changed and that they enjoyed to see the smiles back in my face. I missed those smiles, too, although I never realized they were gone. I would never change anything about my two years in Cairo, and I am thankful for every minute, but I only saw now how much it had affected me. And today, without being able to explain why, I feel something in my heart that I never felt in that place before, and that is organic happiness because I remember who I am again. It's a no brainer to lose yourself at certain times in your life when you make a choice for a life like the one I lived, and I can now safely look back to my time in Egypt from afar, and assess that it was the loss of my path that led me to Cairo that made the path I'm supposed to be on so evident.

Needless to say, that week I had in Egypt was probably the best one I had there ever. I was a tourist, I was a visitor, I was a friend. As a Cairo resident, you can never be a tourist, a visitor or a friend. You need Dahab as much as it needs you. Those days are over, and I can give back Dahab the love it gave me for so long when few other things and people provided it. The way I interacted reflected my happiness, whereas everyone was used to my confusion to be displayed in my words and actions. I will never miss Egypt, but I'm happy it made me this way. Maybe one day I'll even be able to have this experience in Cairo as well, but for now I just saw that the closing of this chapter was really the only change I needed that led me to happiness. And when that happiness prevailed, more good things unfold... in that respect, I can only imagine what happens next.

No comments:

Post a Comment