In 2010 I went on a study abroad where I met so many amazing people from all over the world. Two friends are from Cairo, Egypt and we’ve stayed in touch all these years. As I was in Dublin wishing I didn’t have to leave, my friend Malak reached out to me asking for me to visit Cairo. I looked up flights and decided that I can fly there from London in only 4hours and 40minutes and for only $300. Being that I’ve always wanted to go to London, I spontaneously booked the trip and extended my vacation by ten days.
I arrived in Cairo at 5:30am and my friend and her husband, Fadel, were waiting for me at the airport. At first, I didn’t have U.S cash to pay for a Visa and I thought for a moment, they weren’t going to let me leave the airport. I was struggling at ATM for 10minutes until someone came over to help me. I was in this foreign country, everyone was staring at me, and I didn’t have money to get a visa. Instead of worrying, I took a few deep breaths and continued to try the ATM machine. Finally I was able to take out Egyptian Pounds and they let me pay with that currency.
We visited many mosques and I learned a lot about the Muslim religion. I always enjoy learning about other religions as I appreciate and respect them all. I am on a constant search to get closer to God and I like to experience all religions.
I visited the Egyptian museum where I saw ancient artifacts found inside the Great Pyramids and actual mummies. This experience was really exciting and seeing what was found inside of the pyramids was my favorite part. The rulers chose their most prized possessions to bring with them to their afterlife and some of their belongings included bed frames, chariots, stools, jewelry, etc.
Then I got the chance to visit the pyramids and actually climb inside the Kings Chamber. The crawl space was so much smaller than I expected and I was ecstatic the entire climb. It is moments like this that I will never take for granted. It is such a blessing that I was able to go to such a historic sight and witness the wonder of the pyramids and learn the meanings behind them.
One of the evenings, we went to a site where the pyramids were in view and saw a light show. They used lasers and projections to light up the Sphinx who was narrating the story of the pyramids. I learned that the tallest one is 450ft tall. The wives also had their own pyramids nearby but they were a lot smaller. The pyramids were also built as large as the king could afford to represent his power. The Sphinx was built to represent the guardian of the pyramids. It is such an amazing story and being there was an incredible feeling.
I filmed part of my submission video for American Ninja Warrior here at the pyramids and while taking a camel ride. The camel ride around the pyramids was one of my favorite parts of the trip as it was surreal. I felt so present and it was an unforgettable moment in time.
Some of my other favorite parts of the trip included tasting all of the delicious foods. I discovered a dish called Koshary which is full of carbs, but is so amazing. I had an almond paste cake that was so good I wound up eating 3-4 slices within a few days. I ate delicious lentil soups and Zambia desserts on the street. I also got to do shopping at local stores where there was amazing jewelry, leather and brass bags, and artwork. I could have spent a few more days shopping alone.
I also saw a whirling Dervish show! This type of prayer dance was inspiring. I can’t imagine whirling for 30 minutes and then just stop and not fall on the floor.
This time in Cairo was also really special to me because of the amount of time I was able to spend with my friend Malak. I remember when I first met her I couldn’t believe that she knew all about pop culture in the U.S. I was so ignorant to other parts of the world and what types of things they were exposed to. 7 years later, I got to visit her in her country and experience her culture. I am so grateful for my study abroad program that brought me and Malak together because I feel that we are soul-sisters.