Mystical voyage of Roots
How often do people get to visit their ancestory..explore fragments from the lives of their families,parents,grandparents..?
Not very often I should think,especially given the fact that the world is undergoing constant change and so many people find themselves migrating even when they havent had any initial plans to do so..leaving their children/grandchildren further away from their roots,from the colors,fragrances;flavors and sights that accompanied their own upbringing.
As a person that actually tends to celebrate this movement ,since I believe the inevitable need to adjust in a new country contributes to the understanding of “other” cultures,and brings with it the hidden gift of “openness”.
But,I admit there is a backfire of being somewhat detached from ones roots,though it can also represent an exciting challenge to rediscover them and as a result connect with certain ”lost parts” of oneself.
I have been given lately such a wonderful opportunity,and it came in such a perfect timing,filling in an important missing link on my personal journey which suddenly connected with a whole lot more.
I travelled to Egypt,mainly Alexandria ,with my father who was born and grew up there till his teens(his father was also born there),his good friend and cousin with whom he spent a great deal of his childhood and his cousin`s wife who is from Cairo.
Alexandria back in the days of King faruk was a very colorful cosmopolitan city,full of various foreign nations who have found in Egypt their home.Once Abdel Nasser took over leadership they were to leave .The city remains beautiful with a special mystic charm,but I cant help but wonder what it was like with a combination of so many different nations living together..
It was an extremely emotional trip.Ive grown up hearing so many of my father`s colorful stories so vivid I could almost see them in real life.As Ive mentioned before,I would watch the Egyptian movies on tv with him each week,as he would show me in nostalgia the scenes of his childhood .There was something stronger than I could explain that has always compelled me to live that piece of his history that I have not known,but mysteriously sense within my bones.
And then..there we were..walking the streets..talking to the people..and digging into those dishes!
Coming in by train from Cairo,I felt the tension growing,within my father aswell as within myself..taking the taxi into town and realising the driver chose to take the route through the ”corniche” along the sea brought extreme excitement to my father enabling him already on the way to recognise many memorable spots,not to mention the entoxicating breeze coming from the sea taking us at once on a trip of its own..the trip to ALexandria.
We booked a hotel on the same street and exactly opposite his childhood apartment.The minute we entered the street I could see the sparkle in his eyes..we tried going through the motions of checking in etc..but we were not “there” not in the ‘Now’ atleast..he was way back to a time once was..and I was somehow there with him..
We immediately walked across to ”the building” ,walking in an out of the building in a somewhat confused pace,not knowing exactly what to do with this newly found emotion..I stood there endlessly outside the building trying to imagine what went on through those windows as he explained which window belonged to what room,then at the hanging laundry..then to the right,straight at the sea,understanding at once his gloryful expressions of life in Alexandria by the sea…