Category Archives: Snippet of Moi

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!

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Born to be Hot

Raised eyebrow. Wide eyes. Mouth slightly ajar. I guess I have this effect on people sometimes – when I make outbursts like:

I wasn’t created to live in a cold country!

Although some people go into a mini state of shock when I say that, I still stand by my words: I simply do – not – like – cold – weather. There.

I was born in Nigeria, (Yes, you DID know. Didn’t you? No? Moving on.) and although I was raised in the UK and learned to deal with the weather tantrums, living in Egypt was an absolute breath of fresh air. *sigh* No, the air wasn’t fresh, but you know what I mean. It was cool… in the ‘cool’ sort of way. Ya3ny fantastic. I loved it, and despite being veiled and having a love for cardigans (which I miraculously donned in 40 degrees without sweating!), I was in a climate I believe God created me to be in.

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Befriending Sterling

“Stop thinking in Egyptian pounds!” she shouted, “you’re in London now!”

One would have thought that at that moment when my sister said that, I would’ve  had my eyes uncovered and become aware of the fact that I was no longer standing on Egyptian sand – no chance. The fact that I was wearing a wraparound cardigan and socks indoors as opposed to playing around with the air conditioner remote control was enough of a reality check – I am in London.

It’s been hard to stop thinking of things in Egyptian pounds. Going grocery shopping and seeing £50 and then automatically gasping at the thought that ‘Oh my gosh, I just spent 500 Egyptian pounds on food!’ hasn’t been easy to shake off, especially when it’s accompanied by ‘I only ever spent 300 ginay in Cairo! Rip off!

See my point?

But then… I think of the delight of being able to purchase wild rocket, piquante peppers and Twiglets with great ease. The heart really is being pulled in different directions, but it’s getting better, and the sterling and I are becoming reacquainted, and we’re trying to be friends. Trying.

– LaYinka S. (The Londoner)

London via Cairo via London

It has been exactly a month since I’ve been back in the UK. I actually have a super long post that I wrote during the 5 hour plane journey, but after having it reviewed by a close friend, I’ve come to realise that it’s incomplete. So, until I get round to editing and adding to it, I’ll be posting a few tidbits here.

I’ll be in London for a while – a long while – and despite the fact that my heart and feet are still firmly placed in Cairo, there is no denying that England is where I’m currently at. I didn’t have a farewell party or anything like that because I believe that I will be back, God willing. Many friends in Cairo were unaware that I was leaving and many in London were unaware I was coming – I can be a little reserved like that, but also I’m not one to cause a fuss.

There are so many comparisons that I can and will be making, and I doubt this blog will die, as it has been so faithful to me in allowing me the space to be able to share a little of Cairo with others. It’s still Cairo via London, and I’m in London via Cairo via London. 🙂

I hope you’re all well – please do touch base, I’d love to hear from you.

Much love,

LaYinka S. (The Londoner)

Ramadan: Declared by a Crescent

I’ve been wanting to write about Ramadan before the thin crescent of the moon declared the beginning of the month of self-restraint, but I’m having a little difficulty with my pen at the moment (hence very little writing’s been happening).

Ramadan 1432 AH (2011) commenced on the 1st of August – it started without much fanfare for me, as the previous day was one of the most exhausting working days I’ve experienced in Egypt thus far, and one which I shall not dwell on.

There had been anticipation of great difficulty surrounding this year’s fast because it’s within the throngs of an Egyptian summer, so the first day was very chilled and I stayed at home with my sister (who was here for three weeks – I’ll blog about our not-so-exciting escapades in due course!) and accepted an invitation to break our fast in true Egyptian style.

Tonight is the 7th night of Ramadan and the second that I’ve actually spent at home. Every Ramadan night has been peppered with an Egyptian spice, whether it be breaking fast with very dear friends, meeting other expats and sharing a bit of ‘now we can eat’ joy or having the pre-dawn meal overlooking the Great Pyramids themselves.

I’m hoping Ramadan slows down a little. I don’t want it to to be devoured, but to milked on slowly so that I can pause often in thought and reflection, and travel within myself to do a little bit more self-discovery.

My highlight thus far has been spending an hour at the top of a minaret that overlooks Cairo with the Quran as my companion. An experience that I really cannot allow words to try to describe, because they’ll only come lightyears away from the emotions that enveloped me at that point in time.

  The view was breathtaking… 

A view from the bottom of the minaret

View of the old fountain in Ibn Tulun mosque from halfway up the minaret

Sneak peek at the city below...

I wish all my fasting readers a very blessing-filled Ramadan, and I promise to try to make some writing pit-stops soon.

Love, as always,
– The Londoner

p.s. I know I’ve failed to describe the joys of the month, or the sparkling lights that illuminate every street, or the Ramadan lantern (fanous) that is in abundance here, or the great happiness seen on the faces of the destitute as unknown donors drop off food along streets. I promise, I will. God-willing, I will. ~ T.L.