June 29, 2009

Feel the Love

June 13 @ Sharm El Sheikh

Okey, I have not yet finished writing my last entry but I have to write about last night...

June 15 @ the airport - back to Stutti

As you can see from the last two entries, I never actually sat down to write. The truth is that I couldn't, and still can't, find the proper words to describe my time here. I'm now at the airport waiting for the boarding call back to Stuttgart and I'm still processing everything lived in the past six days. How to describe the generosity and respect I have been offered by all of Meda's friends? I'm on a state of trance... of ecstasy... split between Heaven and Earth. I'm fascinated by the beauty of these guys and the magic of this place. I'm being objective here. I intend to write facts, not feelings, cause if I were to even try to transcribe my feelings into words, I would probably end up with an incomprehensible display of disarranged letters. My heart is beating fast and I'm split between trying to control these heavy emotions and spilling my heart out into tears, to cry this harsh farewell Egypt...

At this very moment I realize that I can chose to think two ways. For one, I could melt away in deep emotions, feeling all the love I received from these amazing people. I feel that I could cry forever, as once again I met someone with whom, in no time, I shared everything that can be shared with another person. Someone with whom I connected deeply from the second we met. This someone loved me silently and held my hand on the back seat of the car, when no one was watching, before we even shared a kiss. Someone who was willing to take his mask off to kiss me passionately, 10m underwater... my first one. He took care of me when I got sick like only my grandmother does, by putting compresses on my forehead and holding my hand... till I fell asleep. This someone gave me his soul with each kiss and opened his heart to me from the moment he said to me his first "hello".

And here is where I'm disjointed... I could go on and on describing how amazing this guy was to me and to his friends. I could write for hours defining each gesture, each given smile, each act of generosity or beautiful madness... but by doing this, I can feel my heart beating faster with sadness. And because I have experienced this in the past, once in Cuba and once in the Yukon, I know how terribly wrong it feels to say goodbye, how heart-breaking a farewell between two lovers can be... But because I know, I can try to consciously choose not to feel the heartache, cause I've learnt to be lighter... I CAN TRY... to treasure inside my heart the moments lived together, letting go of the "feeling"; cause the feeling becomes heavier and heavier the more one thinks about it.

To be completely honest with myself, part of me wants to dwell in the feeling. The old habit is kicking in... I feel like a recovered addict being tempted by the same poisonous but beautiful drug that made him so high and so miserable in the past. I think that being "depressed" or "unhappy" gives most people -me including- some sort of incomprehensible high; the lowest of the highs... This is why we get so hooked up to the heavy feelings. If you think carefully, you'd realize that being "happy" or feeling fulfilled, is not that difficult. Actually, I believe it can be easily achieved. And if you consider the possibilities, you can't help but wonder why most of us always seem to be so negative... so heavy... so attached to moments, people, possessions, relationships... when the truth is that these things are nothing but ephemeral, temporary, transitory. Hey people, think about it and save yourself the heartache...

But you might wonder... will I miss him? YES, I will... of course. Will he miss me? I'm pretty sure he will. But HOW we miss each other is what will make all the difference. I'm smiling... "My heart is smiling, Agata" he said. That's all, that's what matters. Not that it might be over. Not the expectations of seeing each other again. Not how terribly cruel it is to have to say good-bye under the circumstances that we did. All that matters is that we existed. That we were one for a while. We enjoyed every single moment spent together. We rejoiced in each other as if there was no tomorrow -cause there really wasn't. And the truth is that we will love each other openly and fearlessly for as long as we can. If the love is eventually gone, we will always have the memories... THIS IS ALL THAT MATTERS...

So why be sad? Really... sad about what? what for? I do feel the tears and the pain surfacing, but it doesn't appeal to me... I've recovered from a long term addiction and it feels beautiful. I'm free! I feel free and more ALIVE than ever!! I honestly can choose to not feel miserable. Instead, I choose to be happy that it happened... I'm thankful to have lived the time of my life, surrounded by warmth-hearted people, who showed me nothing but generosity, endless affection and an amazing sense of humour...

The plane is about to take off now... I'm leaving this magnificent place and a bit of my heart is staying here... I might have to come back soon and pick it up... For now, Shokran!! Egypt... See you soon...

June 21, 2009

Singing a Love song

Almost simultaneously...

From him to me:

Here I am
Starting over
Once again
I lost my place
The edges frayed
The story ended
And its still so hard to face

I wanna cry on your shoulder
But I'll smile and try to find my way

Seasons come and go
Nothing lasts forever
We're all on borrowed time
And love's not set in stone
But life is now or never
You and I can make the world our own

So here we are
Pushing forward
Pulled apart
And turned around
The ties untied
The world wide open
The ever-after here and now

I wanna cry on your shoulder
But I'll smile
I know I'll be okay

Seasons come and go
Nothing lasts forever
We're all on borrowed time
And love's not set in stone
But life is now or never
You and I can make the world our own

Now is our time to shine
Now is our time to stand up tall
We can have it all
All the stars realigned
Every ending turned around
Cuz it's our time
Starting now

(Now or Never - DJ Shah)

From me to him:

And I'd give up forever to touch you
Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be
And I don't want to go home right now

And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
Cause sooner or later it's over
I just don't want to miss you tonight

And I don't want the world to see me
Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And you can't fight the tears that ain't coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything seems like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know your alive

And I don't want the world to see me
Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

I don't want the world to see me
Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am

(Iris - Goo Goo Dolls)

June 19, 2009

In Cairo

June 11 @ Pension Roma

I still can't believe the day I had yesterday. I'm so thankful I feel extremely humble... and vulnerable. I'm so blessed... I am.

I was picked up at the airport by Seif -Meda's friend. I think we recognized each other immediately, maybe from another life... maybe from the pictures that were sent to each of us. We greeted each other like old friends and began a non-stop conversation. The first thing he said to me on the car was that Meda had said we would get along perfectly because we were both out of our minds. I laughed when he said this, but it didn't take long for me to learn it was true. As we were leaving the airport's parking lot, either he read my mind or I read his "I have a surprise for you" he said. Let the journey begin.

How to describe the city? Chaos might be the right word. As we drove down the busy streets, I couldn't believe my eyes. I'm in Egypt! I'm in Cairo! From the moment I woke up from my sleep, on the plane, and saw the pyramids of Giza from the window, I've been in some sort of trance... like dreaming... being fully awake. The city smells like Buenos Aires: a mixture of laundry powder, dust from construction sites, street meat and car's exhausts. Nah... it's quite impossible to describe this smell, specially because it's quite a personal experience, impossible to reproduce in words. The streets are crazy busy with cars and people here drive like maniacs, including my driver. But I guess you have to go with the flow of cars if you want to avoid accidents. But this flow is not a stream of water, is more like the break of a water fall, it has no particular order and it is fierce whichever way you look. Now, there's people everywhere. I understand now what Brandon meant when he said this place is crazy busy... The architecture is extraordinary. I'm truly mesmerized by the contrasts, specially alongside the Nile's shores.

As we drove to Seif's house -he wanted to switch cars- all of a sudden the car stops in the middle of a busy street, on the streetcar rails and with the traffic honking at us like animals on heat. No more gas. High as a kite, it was pretty hard to tell what was going on. Was this a joke? This guy looks like someone who would pull one of these jokes, just for the fun of it... I'm not quite sure. So Seif got off the car and started pushing. I attempted to do the same but he ordered me to stay inside. Silently, I begged for someone to come help cause the incoming traffic was getting quite aggravated. Out of the blue, a guy came to help with Seif's struggle. Finally, we crossed the busy street, parked in the nearest spot available and walked five minutes to his house, where we switched to a more "elegant" car. I was quite confused the entire time, but this guy is quite nice, constantly asking me what I want, paying for everything and telling me it was "non-sense" when I said I would pay for my stuff. After driving around and exchanging some euros to EP, we went to meet up with Psycho. This is the guy I've been in touch with before coming to Egypt, and the one who was originally supposed to pick me up at the airport. However, he just got a new job... not being able to come greet me, he made sure someone would. So, after picking him up, we went to contemplate the Nile River for a while and when I had enough "quality time", we went for lunch.

After some good pizza at Thomas, we decided to go drop off my luggage. On the way to Pension Roma, Psycho pulls out a cell phone from his bag and gives it to me "I got you this so you can call us. It will be easier to be in touch" Wow. Wooow. Speechless. Not even my closest friends are so considerate. These guys are unbelievable! So nice, so thoughtful, so welcoming, so generous... I truly don't know how to express my gratitude at this point. Can this get any cooler? Well, it did... but I just finished my breakfast and I want to get going. Walking alone around Cairo... exciting, eh?

2pm @ Cairo Museum

Sitting outside the Cairo Museum, a bit overwhelmed by so much. I seem to get exhausted inside museums reached a certain point, but I still feel a sense of ease. I want to learn, I want to comprehend history a bit better, to understand how is it that we reached this point as a civilization. How did it all start? If you think about it, there's connections everywhere you look, amongst different cultures. For example, the throne of Tutankhamen was decorated with many symbols, including two winged-snakes. Mayan's highest deity, Quetzalcoatl, was indeed a feathered-serpent. The Egyptians and the Mayans were probably the biggest and most mysterious ancient civilizations on the planet, on opposite sides of the world. How do you explain their symbols being almost identical?

It's hot, maybe 35C, I can't really theorize in these conditions, I just don't feel like doing it right now... but I'll leave it as a thought, maybe to come back to it later. So, as I wait for Seif to pick me up and drive me to the Pyramids, I will continue where I left at breakfast...

While we were on the car, on our way to drop off my stuff, Meda called to check how I was doing. For a person I hardly know, this is a huge gesture. I feel quite protected and I'm aware of how much I'm being taking care of... like never before. When I got off the phone Seif tells me he had booked a room for me at Sharm el Sheikh, so that I could go diving with them. Half an hour prior to my conversation with Meda, I expressed how much I would love to do so, knowing that Seif was going to go on a diving trip on Friday. "All it took was two phone calls" he says. Apparently, while I was on the phone, he made sure my wish was granted. So YES! Friday morning I leave till Sunday to dive in the Red Sea... these guys are AMAZING!!!

Now another surprise was awaiting downtown: the hotel. Well, it's actually more like a pension, with shared washrooms and single rooms. Antique and cozy, my room has a sink, two mirrors, a bed with a hard mattress -I did sleep like a baby, however- an old wardrobe, a night table, shelves, a desk and a cute coffee table. I could live here... There's also a common living room, a kitchen, a diner -where I had breakfast this morning- and a reading room. To access Pension Roma, you have to go up to the 4th floor of the building, on a very old elevator; the kind that has double doors which open manually. I love these kind, the way they are built allows you to see all around as you ride it. In Buenos Aires, there are very common in the old buildings and getting inside it here in Cairo, is bringing back memories from my childhood. The staff is very welcoming. Last night, I chatted for a bit with Nehal, the front desk person during the night shift; he truly made me feel at home and because of his warmth, I went to bed with a big smile on my face.

Once in the hotel, I had a quick shower while Seif and Psycho waited for me at some coffee place near by. When I was ready, I called and they picked me up. We drove for half an hour away from downtown and into a very different part of the city...

June 17, 2009

To fulfill my dream...

June 10 @ the airport on my way to Cairo

"The fastest way to find yourself is to STAND STILL"

Five minutes. That's all it took for me to get off the subway, find the Air Swiss desk, check in and drop off the luggage and go through security. Five minutes. I love Stutti's airport. It's so efficient! Really... five minutes. Fascinating. But anyhow... I'm about to board a plane to Egypt, to fulfill one of my biggest dreams. It's hard to believe that it's actually happening... And this trip seems to, once again, come at a perfect time, as I have been quite melancholic in the past few days, specially after returning from Rock am Ring. I've been thinking too much about the passing of time and I got scared, petrified of how quickly moments come and go and life passes you by while blinking. I had quite a long chat with my friend Aldo, when we got back from RAR. I was feeling quite heavy on my chest just thinking it felt like yesterday when I was buying the tickets for the festival... and now it had already passed. I felt the huge weight of emptiness and it's the fear you feel after jumping to the abyss: you've already made the decision to jump, there's no turning back. You feel free but scared at the same time. You are trapped in your own weight, trapped inside your body.

As I continue to peel layers of skin off, I slowly learn what it means to not want, to surrender to the circumstances and most importantly, to look at the chain of events rather than to stress to much on an event itself. I'm learning that one of the reasons why we tend to be so unhappy is because we get stuck in a particular situation or moment. If it was a "good" thing, we are happy to re-live the moment in our head, over and over again. If it was a "bad" situation, we analyze it and over analyze as if by doing so, we would be able to change the facts. Instead, I think, we should look at what that particular moment or event has unfolded into. An example of this is what happened at the festival. After my wallet was stolen, I had a little... let's call it "misunderstanding" with Aldo. I was angry first, but then it turned into a bit of... mhmmm.. pain. I was hurt, honestly. How could it be? After all we share... we are like an old married couple. And after what happened, he was a stranger to me, for some frightening 10 hours or so. But, I will not write too much about how I felt because it's pointless. I choose to MOVE ON further into the story, to prove my point. Anyhow, when we talked yesterday he said he regretted what happened and he would do different if he had the chance. I said "don't regret anything, just look at all that has came out of this, both for you and me. Look at the entire chain reaction, look at the bright side. Things are neither good or bad, they just are. It is only when we categorize them as such that we get so confused, so uneasy with life. And it certainly doesn't need to be that way."

Moco, I hope you know how much I love you. You are one of the greatest things that happened to me in this Erasmus experience. I'm grateful to have you so close, even when sometimes I want to kill you -and it's probably reciprocal- you know that a piece of my heart will be forever yours. Just keep in mind that you will be sharing it with some other people. I hope you don't mind...

My relationship with Aldo is an example of what it means to love without wanting. For the longest time, I wanted something else. I wasn't quite sure what it was, but I wanted different than what I had. Interesting... didn't know what, just something OTHER than what I had. Even when our relationship seems to sometimes not make sense at all, I accept things as they are and this sets me free. But freedom, at this very moment, is becoming something I'm scared of. It feels like I've gone up a million steps and now I'm looking down and feeling vertigo... and the sensation is crawling up my stomach like a poisonous spider. I have climbed a huge mountain. I'm still climbing and I know I have a long way up to the top -if I ever reach it during this lifetime. I know this is just a phase. Fear has taken over and I can't help but look down and be scared. What happens when you stop wanting? What propels you forward?

Once I've opened my eyes, I can't chose to close them. Once I've seen the mountain, I can't stop my legs from climbing. Once I've taken off, I can't jump off the plane... and at this very moment, I'm taking off... PERFECT TIMING... as always. Cairo, here I come!!