November 7, 2012

cairo diaries

i just came back from cairo where i was grateful to spend quality time with my father's side of the family. i got to meet up with some relatives i never really got the chance to talk to much when i was younger. my father's cousin sat me down and gave me the low down on my father's father's ancestry. turns out my father is mainly turkish and only partly egyptian through his mom and of course by default of growing up there. it doesn't make much of a difference in my life, but hearing about his great grandmother's journey to egypt from turkey was fascinating and one of the most interesting stories i've heard in a while. definitely script worthy. some day....

every time i go to egypt i get overwhelmed by the same feelings of nostalgia, happiness and disappointment. i'll always remember visiting more regularly when i was younger, spending weeks learning more about cairo as well as spending time with the whole family by the sea. i'm not only happy to be around family, but happy to explore the vast history which leads me to disappointment when i see the living situation that people have to endure as well as the insurmountable problems constantly on the rise. unfortunately, most of the time these problems do not find a solution.

egypt is so organized in its disorganization; the streets are a perfect example of this. i get anxiety attacks every time i'm in a car because i'm almost certain i'm about to die or someone else is. at one point, we had to rush my grandmother to the hospital and the amount of time it took us was disturbing. of course you're more aware of every detail and second wasted when someone's life is on the line - cars just randomly decide to stop halfway through a roundabout, people find that catching up in the middle of the street is normal and the traffic is always jammed. immense frustration is an understatement. we're grateful we got her to the hospital and everything turned out alright, but i have heard a lot of freak stories of people not making it to the hospital on time because of the road situation.

the photo above strangely enough depicts how i would describe egypt right now. figuratively, it's not in good shape, but there is hope, and literally, one of the few visual attributes that saves some areas is the greenery. i don't see myself ever living there, but it is a place i truly wish will improve.


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