Home, Sweet, Home

Home will always be a feeling; instead of a physical place.

Returning home after a long time away indeed feels wonderful.  I feel a mixture of excitement, contentment, nostalgia and slight confusion due to my forever existing sense of separation anxiety; which often reveals itself when I move between places and am faced with fresh transitions in my life.  Although I’m a traveller at heart; I make home a place in everywhere I go and find endless comfort in my surroundings, which often meant that I would get attached to where I was before moving onto somewhere new – despite how excited I may have felt without it.  When I was younger; I recall coming back to the UK after a few months away in the summer in Egypt every year to be met with severe post-travel blues; that was indeed too overwhelming for a child of my age at the time.  The feeling did always however, pass within a few days & I always resumed to being my normal self.  I always found the sensation strange; of how one can one day be somewhere and the next not be.  I certainly believe that my overly sensitive nature and my being as a deep empath means that all situations in life almost always affected me way more than a perhaps they would your average, normal person.  The feeling of settling down in new places every time we moved often overwhelmed me as we relocated from city to town, nesting in a variety of homes around the UK before settling down in Norfolk due to my fathers profession.   And although I appreciate the excitement of turning a new leaf, just like anybody; I really do dislike the uncertainty of the unknown.  Which is why I more than ever cherished the importance of learning to detach from these negative, residual feelings of endings and embrace that my transition to higher things in life can only be a good thing – that holding onto the past only causes myself nothing but further suffering.

To those who are unaware; a few days ago I gathered all my belongings and moved back to my childhood home in Norfolk’s countryside after three years of living in my university halls.  Based on my previous fears in life regarding transitions; I honestly thought that it would be harder to bid farewell to a place that became home, despite it’s limitations in comparison to the real comfort of a real home that one may have once been used to.  What I realised however following a stressful few and rather hectic weeks of packing and adjusting to the upcoming changes, I believe a sort of epiphany occurred deep within me.  I understood that all those years of suffering in regards to transitions were not necessarily needed and that this change in perception has allowed me to understand that this is not a goodbye to London; but in fact a stepping stone to a new future ahead of me.  I also thoroughly believe that home will always be a feeling; instead of a physical place.  And I will move on with and cherish the memories that I have made in mind and heart, alongside holding a hope for all the bigger things to come.

If you ever find yourself also feeling similar to what I used to feel; just remember that an ending is not always that; but is instead a beginning.  If we spend all our time contemplating time lost or past happenings, we are only starving ourselves of experiencing what really matters, which is nothing more or less than simply the absolute, present moment.

Back to Cairo!

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It has been a week since my plane landed in Cairo’s airport on the 13th of June; after an hour long delay and struggle to find my 46 kilos of baggage on the extremely slow moving conveyer belt. I can’t tell whether time in this country stretches out or the fact that I am busy and constantly occupied 24/7 makes my days last longer, a definite positive, and contrary to everything back home being pretty dull.

The 13th of June – I set my alarm to 5:30am the day before, as I had to make it to Norwich’s bus station to catch the National Express coach which claimed to take 5 hours to get to Heathrow, purely because so many stops were to take place. I love the excitement pre-travel: updating my iPod, packing last minute things and constantly checking my lists. I liked that I was traveling alone because I can completely zone out and listen to music all day, and not worry about anything or conversation. The coach was, what it is. A lovely gentleman decided it was acceptable to spend a long time in the toilet to empty his bowels, right next to where my seat was fortunately placed. The smell was so horrific that my nostrils began to burn from the stench, talk about bad manners. I later discovered that the same man was accompanying me on the EgyptAir plane to Cairo. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

The past week has been an exciting experience of introductions, new cafes, places and being reunited with friends that I’ve not seen since February, some last summer. I had set myself the glorious task of driving for the first time in Cairo in my Grandmother’s very poorly functioning car on the following Friday morning. I passed my driving test in the UK on the 8th of April and due to no insurance, this was really my first time of driving in 2 months. I was prepared before I came and had applied for an International Driving Permit for a mere £5.50 to save my self the hassle in case I was stopped or whatever.

Came Friday morning, my friend passed by and we set off. After the Friday prayer the streets are almost golden; empty and not many stupid drivers were to be seen… Yet. Let me first of all mention, that in Egypt the steering wheel is on the left, meaning my entire driving tactics – gear change and all are entirely reversed. Also, these are not people driving, but maniacs. Ok? I have never seen such crazy driving habits and it was indeed an adrenaline fueled morning/ afternoon/ evening, I struggled to first grasp the concept of no lanes, manners and lack of signals. As the day developed I actually realized it wasn’t too bad, but came the evening the streets got busier and the car had already decided it did NOT want to function. Every gear change to second came with a horrifying screech, and the brakes were extremely late to catch on, simply being a hazard which would endanger us all. But hey, I’m alive! It definitely requires patience and full awareness on the streets of Cairo to be somewhat close to a ‘safe’ driver. We went to a lovely cafe in the hot sun and cooled off with an ice cold watermelon smoothie at Wel3a in Zamalek. Later that day we also went to Jazz Mate, a cafe I have gone to several times here over the past week; also in Zamalek, which I have really liked. I expect a lot more visits to it with its antique, jazzy feel and I hope to witness a live band play there soon.

The following days were great; it feels so relieving to wake up with an intention of going out, to spend the day with friends or family and to explore Cairo’s ever growing cafes and hot spots. My favorite days include my unhealthy tanning obsession which I was able to feed by a day in the sun, by the Lido pool at the Gezira Sporting Club -AHHH bliss! Finally being able to witness pure SUN and HEAT is a huge relief; especially being Vitamin D deficient – it makes a large change from England’s dull gloomy weather and lack of sunshine. I love how in Cairo the city never sleeps. I come home and I can still hear the car horns beeping in the distance, the rumblings and laughter of passers by. It feels so right. I am more of a city person than you can ever imagine. Screw waking up to nature and annoying bird song! I also went to finally watch The Great Gatsby in 3D, which by the way makes me want to marry DiCaprio who I swear to God NEVER ages. Man. That film was wonderful – from the imagery to the story to the awesome soundtrack in the film. I was very impressed and left feeling nostalgic with a hope of turning back time and attending a massive party in the 1920’s – move over Project X!

I must say however, my biggest disappointment yet is not being by the North Coast catching fresh rays and swimming in the beautiful, Mediterranean sea. The best thing to do is go to the seaside and escape the traffic, and spend a magical few days. I expect to hopefully go towards the end of the month once Mother and my family arrive to catch up on tanning and breathe fresh, stunning air! But I am, very pleased to be back. I enjoy the simple things like being able to sit in the balcony, reading a book with my headphones plugged in just before the sun starts to set. It’s so peaceful. I can’t express how much I could actually live in balconies – overlooking the vibrant, city life yet not being so occupied by its difficulties, it allows you to observe from afar. Living in such a large, populated city with 85 million citizens, you can imagine how busy it gets. I must say however, I am very excited to witness what hopefully this year will bring. I aim to travel, have fun, meet new people, do new things, and just let loose! I am grateful to have such wonderful friends, family and opportunities to simply enjoy myself and have a good laugh. Bring on summer.

God love Misr.

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