As I currently sit upon my Egypt Air seat of 53C at 11:06 AM, I decide its appropriate to turn to my poorly neglected blog for the upcoming journey that consists of 4-5 hours flight time. I created this WordPress account just over a year ago to document my gap year; which today, has indeed come to a very sincere end. I’m not entirely sure where to begin; I cannot tell exactly whether it flew by ever so fast or if it has perhaps stretched out to a decade due to countless events and wondrous happenings occurring in between. I seem to recall the start as fresh as I do the ending. But over the past few months, aside from what was apparent in my surroundings, ever changing environment and people; I most importantly, see a huge transformation within myself.
Departing the UK at 18 years of age in June 2013, I was an entirely different person. Witnessing oneself lose, gain, learn and grow in a place different to what I was perhaps used to, irregardless of my holidays spent in Egypt over the years, it was indeed challenging – but the most inspiring kickstart towards adulthood. Learning to thrive amongst the new, adapt to culture, to welcome with open arms and to simply, care less – was indeed a pure breath of fresh air in a city too extravagant to dislike.
I do indeed anticipate clicking that resume button in which I had paused my reality – to return to my future, my life back in England; but I cannot deny the fact that I do miss Egypt. I fully embrace that I am a part of two greatly opposite yet amazing cultures; I appreciate that I have two homes and feel ever so blessed for the opportunities I have been given in this life. When I am in England, I long for those warm, tropical summer days and nights spent by the sea at home; in the burning daylight of 40 degree sunshine – feet tickled by soft, warm grains of sand; our bodies entrenched in the cooling waves of the ocean’s blue. I strangely enough, like placing my head upon my pillow awaiting to fall into deep slumber whilst I hear the noise of street life and car horns sound alarmingly in the distance. To say I do not see flaws in Egypt would be a huge lie; I am only human and my writing to a public audience does not mean I will sugar coat life in Egypt. But amongst the poverty, total lack of safety and other misfortunes, I will accept my sometimes felt hatred and combine it with great love to the place.
Because I don’t permanently reside in Egypt, I do receive negativity for the times I complain about Egypt as well as the times I state that it is actually, a good place. Being an outsider will always prove a greater deal of wisdom; but will result in great criticism from others. I sometimes feel like I am a swab placed under a microscope in Egypt; I am questioned by people and their noses are almost always finding their way into my personal business.
I hold strong opinions against Egypt at times, for example I most often always clash with someone, somewhere. I don’t appreciate minimum charges at cafés (wasn’t ever forced to order something in the West if I didn’t want to) – I despise nothing more than littering and I don’t like constantly being worried about my purse or expensive items being snatched. Maybe, however, I choose to only open an eye to the good because my time is always limited there, and coming from a pessimist, that’s something. Learning to appreciate and be grateful for what I have has been very motivational, satisfying and has indeed proved great inner peace. I am very excited to move on and to resume a chapter that has been eagerly waiting to be read.
I hope that I have been inspiring readers to open their minds; to cherish their surroundings and to always aim for what seems impossible, because it can be achieved. To some, I may have wasted a year, I have paused higher education to have fun and have taken a decision I will regret later; but I do not let others excrete into my head regarding my own personal decisions. A year ago; I was far from ready to start University, with strange feelings of child-like high school insecurities and nerves. What I aimed for was the time, to explore, to develop, mature and indulge in my passions; so I could develop them further into my more serious years of life. I do indeed feel ready now to take the leap into further future building, now I am sure of myself and my home.
Holding mixed feelings of nostalgia, excitement, happiness and the pain of missing a person; all I can say for now is thank you, Egypt. For all the good, the bad, the hideous and the wonderful memories you’ve brought and will continue to bring. I look forward to visiting you again in the very near future.