The Tumultuous Months of 2011
I know I haven’t posted anything since November, but thankfully, I’m still alive and in some ways I’m also thankful that I’m still in London. My beloved Cairo has changed so much since I left (is that a complete coincidence? :)) and I have no idea if I’ll return, but I wrote the following piece on 31 December 2011 and wanted to share it with you all here. It’s a little more personal than you might be used to, but it’s from me and about my journey in 2011. Enjoy. ~ LY.
P.S. I’ve split the post into several pages for ease of reading, so to read more, click the next page number.
Once upon a time, in a tale that held no fairies at all and in a world that is as real as the air you suck into your lungs, there was a young lady. For the sake of this story, we’ll call her LaYinka Sanni, because it’s quite a pretty name.
One night – let’s say on the 31st December 2011 – LaYinka sat to think back on the year and all that was dished out to her. For each month of 2011, she was able to mention an event that either helped to mould her, challenge her, shake her, enrage her, soothe her, console her, restrict her or free her. Each month had its own tale to tell, and in this story LaYinka recants them to you. Sit comfortably because LaYinka likes to talk, and it’ll be a long one!
“January – the month of rage, wherein Egyptians took to the streets, chanted for their liberties to be restored and for justice to prevail. It was the month I walked on a street that could easily have been the set for a movie: where machetes longer than my arm were branded, where I gave fruit and water to a wounded young man, and held teargas canisters in my hand. It was the month when I sat in a 5-star hotel with colleagues, worrying about the affairs of friends who were not able to be within its grounds; the month where swimming pools were splashed in as helicopters flew low above the heads of swimmers, and was the month when I was put on a plane to leave the land I loved so much, not knowing whether I’d ever be able to see it again. That month was January.
February – the month Al Jazeerah became my best friend: my eyes flew to it from my moment of waking until it shut reluctantly when I grew tired at night. The month when I knew not what to do with myself except to become a certified H&M junkie, and dined in various eateries. The month when I told my mother of my eating and shopping plight to only be advised, “Don’t put on weight!” It was the month when I was kicked out of the house by my sister who had had enough of seeing my sombre face, who demanded I do something useful aside from eating and shopping, and the month when my brother asked, “When are you going back home?” It was the month I cried with joy at the resignation of a 30-year dictator, then obsessively checked my emails for news of when I would be flown back. That month was February.
March – the month of starting over, trying to start from base. The month I vowed to value the land I stood on, and committed to doing something new every weekend. It was the month I stood in front of what I used to think were piles of very large well-placed stones, that made me feel incomprehensibly small – The Great Pyramids was a befitting title after all. It was the month I had my first hiking experience in Wadi Degla, an insane expedition considering my fear of heights. It was the month I stood at the top of a rocky mountain and thought that I had reached the top of the world, wishing that I could be as free as the birds I saw circling clouds far off in the distance. It was the month I made friends with comedians and medical students, and was awe-inspired by empowered Egyptian women who had no shame or fear in working in male-dominated fields. That month was March.