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!
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.
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.
LaYinka S. (The Londoner)
The back of his washed-out jeans left a clean circle from where he’d been sitting. I didn’t know the make of the car, but it had a thin layer of dusty residue all over its body. He was throwing melon seeds into his mouth as he idly sat on the bonnet, his companion laughing along to whatever was being said.
It was an odd sight as I’d never seen anyone sitting on their car before, and then it became obvious that it wasn’t his car at all as he jumped down and hailed a microbus with his friend.
Clearly, I was left in a state of wonderment: eyebrows shot up, jaw dropped slightly and then the delayed head scratch of eh?! The young guy had been sitting on someone else’s car, with no care or concern of any sort of reprimand. Switch the situation to London, and what you would see – or rather, hear – is someone screaming, “Get the f*** off my bloody car, you f***ing p****!” No, I kid you not.
There is an unspoken rule that what’s mine ain’t yours and therefore, what’s mine can only be touched, removed or likewise with my permission. To do so without permission you are looking for the back of your head to be slapped, or any other sort of consequence.
Although I’ve been in Egypt for 9 months, I still have this ingrained in my psyche, and do not feel comfortable leaning against someone’s car as I wait for a friend, or put my feet onto a car’s bumper in order to tie my Converse laces. What’s his (or hers) is his (or hers) and I have no right to abuse that. I’m thinking that if Egyptians adopted this line of thinking, there would be less abuse of property and increased respect for one another.
Wishful thinking of a Londoner? Maybe, but one can always wish.
– The Londoner
I’m going to start with a bit of family exposure here, and I apologise to my brother (well, one of them) for exposing him on my blog. (Don’t worry, bro, I’m not mentioning your name! :))
Okay, so one day my brother got out of our dad’s car (I think he was meant to go into the house to get something) and all of a sudden I thought he was going to fall over, because there something odd going on with his legs as he walked.
It was a cross between a sway and a stagger and a bit of a wobble, and I shouldn’t have been surprised to see this dodgy walk, but the fact that our dad called out, “(brother’s name), is there something wrong with your legs?!” knocked some shock into my system. He was 13 (or maybe 14, I can’t remember now… I’m getting old!) and he’d caught the bop – the infamous weird walk that guys do, as though they’re being pinched in the behind!
(Yeah, my bro straightened up when our dad called out to him, but it didn’t stop him doing it when he wasn’t around!)
Now, fast-forward to several years later, there’s me in a metro station (this evening), minding my own business with my headphones in my ears, as is my usual custom, and through the crowd of people on the platform I get a little deja-vu as I spot the bop… this time it was two Egyptian guys who were caught. And if they were young, I wouldn’t have chuckled to myself the way I did tonight, but they looked well into their late 20’s or even early 30’s.
Seeing a 13/14 year-old walk in what some people think is a ‘cool’ way, is one thing, but what are 30 year-olds trying to prove? A peculiar sight, I tell you.
From London to Egypt… there are some things you just can’t escape. Not even the bop.
– The Londoner