Egypt, InterConnections and Being Brave

Egypt, InterConnections and Being Brave March 5, 2019

Life continues to fly past at record speed these days. It seems like just yesterday it was December, and now it’s March and I’ve not written again in almost 3 months.

Since my last post, we visited Egypt (my first time back in 14 years) and we’ve had 2 more InterConnections events and this weekend I’m speaking on a panel about Intersectional Feminism.

So, Egypt. Why had it been so long? Well, the last time we were there was 2005, and Kate was just about a year old. I think after that, something changed with the airlines and we had to pay full price for the kid’s seats (or something?) I can’t really remember. Then my sister in law came to visit us a couple of times, and then the uprising…and the massacre at Rabaa.

After my brother in law was murdered, Khaled’s family specifically told us that it wasn’t safe for us to travel there, despite what others in the community told us. Khaled travelled to see his mother, and his brother visited twice when he came to the states for work, but the family insisted that the children and I not come.

In 2017, they gave the green light for a test visit. Khaled and Mr. Fox went for a week and things were fine. When they came back, we talked about all of us going the next time, and when Khaled’s father asked to see us, we knew it was time.

Visiting Egypt after 14 years was a little shocking, but mostly, I knew what to expect. My girls, however, did not. They did well though. I think Mr. Fox gave them the quick notes on what they would encounter. It was nice to see the family. I won’t share a huge number of pictures, because I think it’s super boring to look through someone else’s vacation photos. But I’ll share one…or 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to share the first 2 because I found them surprising and really amusing. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that they don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve on December 31st or Christmas in Egypt. They DO. And they do it big. Granted, they celebrate the Coptic Christmas date (January 7th), so they are still selling Santa hats and whatnot after December 25th, but they have Trees and Candy Canes and Gingerbread Houses and Poinsettias. Oh, and while we were driving in that roundabout so I could get the picture of the tree…they were playing Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas’ on outdoor speakers. No Joke.

The third picture is my people with my niece. We were on top of a really old masjid in Khan al Khalili in Old Egypt. (I can’t remember the name.) She was born here, in my city, and came home to my house. When she was born, I knew that she would be part of my nuclear family forever. I’ve not tried to Skype with her before now because it hurt a little too much to see her so far away from home. But being there with her, I know she belongs. She and Kate resemble each other the most in facial expressions, build and personality. I don’t know what the future holds for my sweet girl, but I hope we are never that far away from her for that long again.

In January, InterConnections joined forces with YWOT and did a Vision Board event. Then in February. we gathered at Lava Wellness Spa and talked, relaxed and just spent time together. It’s amazing how you can put 10-15 women in a room together and if you just look at the group from the outside, you don’t see anything that would bind them. But then you listen to the conversation, and you learn that they have much more in common than you might imagine. I feel so blessed to have these women in my life.

Sometime in late December, Nina told me about HerStory, an event during Women’s History Month, organized by the Toledo Public Library. When she said she thought I should do it, I demurred. She made her case, and convinced me.

 

So, this weekend’s event is about Intersectional Feminism. I’m terrified, but I hope that by being brave and putting myself out there, someone in the audience will feel less alone.

About Kristina ElSayed
-2013 Brass Crescent Award Winning writer for My Islamic Life. -Creator of The Wudu Cling, an educational tool for American Muslim Converts and Children. -Owner and Designer, VianneFere - Jewelry by Design, Sylvania, Ohio. -Native Toledoan, non-Muslim wife, and mother of 3 Muslim children. You can read more about the author here.
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