I’ve always been confused with being an Egyptian. I’ve never actually lived there, apart from visiting my grandparents almost every summer. I would then go back to what I call my actual home, Saudi Arabia. An Egyptian who has lived in Saudi Arabia all her life while acting rather American can be a perplexing case to live with at times. This has honestly caused me quite a large amount of confusion in regard to who I am and my identity while growing up. Sure, I am an Egyptian but I only ever thought of it as a vacation spot due to the nature and timings of my trips there and to be honest, it was usually a vacation spot I didn’t like very much.
I think I tend to puzzle the people around just as much as myself with this identity issue. When I was telling my German friend I was going to be returning home during February, she questioned what home I was referring to.
That all being said, though I never felt like I truly belonged in Egypt, it does have a very special place in my heart and I had actually forgotten that until now. Recently, Egypt has released a campaign hoping to improve Egypt’s reputation worldwide using the hashtag #thisisEgypt. A video was then released on Youtube (that you can watch yourself below) urging photos to be posted on social media with the hashtag.
The video did nothing but make me extremely happy. It made me miss so much about Egypt as I wasn’t able to go there this year because of university. True, it isn’t my favorite place in the whole world but it’s literally in my blood and roots, it’s where my people are. Joseph Mitchell once said: “…you can hate a place with all your heart and soul and still be homesick for it.” And that’s how I feel about Egypt, especially lately. I feel homesick for it even though to some extent I don’t consider it my main home.
Through social media sites, instead of bringing out the positives of our land, some people have taken to posting the negatives. It’s really understandable since social media is how people express themselves and Egypt is by no means perfect. What I’ve decided to do, on the other hand though, is attempt to spread some positivity through this campaign.
So much reminds me of Egypt. Family home-cooked meals. Constant car horns. The smell of fresh mango and watermelon. Exhilarating greenery. The crisp breeze of the sea. Oum Kalthoum’s voice. Staying up late. Watching shows during Ramadan. Yes, we’ve been through so much as a country together. The Revolutions, the protests, and even the very recent plane crash. I have even been asked here in Germany whether Egypt is safe to be in or not. Regardless, we’ve always gotten back with our voices, determination, and strength and no matter how bad it is and gets, I will always believe in my country. #ThisisEgypt