As horrible as this may sound, today (and sometimes other days) I blame my father.
I blame my father for what often seems to me an illogical attachment to country and people.
I blame my father for instilling in me (I’m certain it was deliberate) a very strong sense of national identity, long before I ever even visited the country.
I’ve been reading a book about Argentina’s desaparecidos – the thousands who disappeared during the country’s military rule from 1976 to 1983. It’s a heart-wrenching narrative of real events through fictional characters. And it pains me to my very core that I can relate in some ways to the events and the characters in this book.
I don’t know if I’ll ever come to terms with what has happened in Egypt in the past few years. I’m one of the extremely fortunate who have managed to come out of it unscathed, if not for an expected amount of post-traumatic stress disorder. My family is all safe for now. The vast majority of my friends are also safe, although I have a few who are very dear to me who are in jail; one with a death sentence on his head.
So many of my friends have left the country, a few literally fleeing it. I left for many reasons, mainly because of my personal family circumstances. But underneath those obvious reasons I know that part of me just can’t deal with what Egypt has become. And another small part of me fears it.
It pains me to have the luxury of sitting comfortably in a nice little house in northern England, drinking my tea and blogging about my all-so-important feelings, while there are so many people back home in Egypt who want to leave but can’t – either because they don’t have the means or because they are literally incarcerated. But because I’m the center of my own world, what probably pains me even more is that I am this fortunate yet I still have an illogical longing and pain for a country and a people now so far away. (more…)
I came back from an amazing two months of cycling across Europe and I finally felt content.
I was happy just recovering from the after-pains, relaxing and reading a book, watching my crappy reality television shows.
I found pleasure cooking for myself and for my family at home after two months of eating at restaurants.
I was enjoying testing out my general fitness by going back to the gym and by trying to run again. I discovered that I had great lower body strength, I ran 5km faster than I ever had before, my cardio was going strong, but I have zero upper body strength, my hamstrings aren’t stretching the way they used to, my knees make crunching sounds whenever I go up stairs, and I feel lots of pain all over my body after a normal workout at the gym.
I’ve been back for 19 days. It’s only been 19 days. And I feel – again – that something significant is missing from my life.
I need purpose. I need a project. I need to be doing something. But not just anything. I need something I can be passionate about again. (more…)