Tuesday, December 25, 2012

My Egyptian Christmas

Well, I'll probably not get around to finishing and posting this until tomorrow anyway, since it is quite late. But MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE! <3

So, basically my Christmas started when I realized about halfway through the school day on the 24th what day it was - on the way back I listened to all of the Christmas songs on my iPod over and over again.
It was a little weird that this day that I used to count the days until when I was little, that I always look so forward to, had arrived, and yet here I really had to try to feel the spirit since so few people celebrate it on the 25th (the Christmas of the Coptic Christians of Egypt is January 7 instead).
I expected it to be a little sad - to just stay home, blasting Christmas music from my laptop, maybe watching "Elf", "Love Actually", or "The Polar Express", Skyping my family back home, being homesick..
And it looked as though that was what was going to happen, until I got an unexpected phone call from the always-amazing Regina, inviting me to go to Mass with her in a Catholic church near the home of our calligraphy teacher.
Now, as I have mentioned before, I am pretty much agnostic, but I originally am Catholic, and I have attended church very frequently in the past. I have some good memories of attending wonderful midnight vigil masses on Christmas Eve, so I very quickly agreed.
We attended our service in a church called the "Église San François Xavier," run by Jesuits. The service was in French, and a good number of the people in the congregation appeared to be from France itself. And oddly enough, a lot of them seemed to be speaking French and Arabic together!
In any case, it was a really beautiful and emotional experience, both because we were really feeling the spirit of this holiday we love so much, and also because it was incredible for me to revisit my religious roots a little bit, so to speak.
After wards, we bought some cakes to celebrate, and the whole way home we were singing Chrismas carols and hymns, seeing how they were in English and in German.
It was really a beautiful feeling, because after starting out that day a bit sadly, I really feel that I felt a genuine Christmas spirit. :')

Then today I woke up quite late since I had the day off from school, hung around home for a while. Then, as we were getting ready for the Christmas party that my local AFS chapter was holding, my host family had a beautiful surprise waiting for me:
It was such a gorgeous, thoughtful surprise; I loved it soo much!
Then my host mother and I went to the AFS Alexandria Christmas party, which turned out to be a wonderful experience as well.
Regina and I both (completely unexpectedly) received some lovely gifts, and then there was a really amazing time when, since no one brought any iPods or speakers or anything, we sang songs instead! I remembered words to songs I didn't think I would - I sang songs like "Angels we have heard on high," "Hark! the herald angels sing," "Silent night," "We wish you a merry Christmas," "Feliz Navidad," "Rudolph the red nosed reindeer," and such, while Regina sang their German equivalents.
And we just kind of hung around and talked with all of the beautiful people from the AFS Alex chapter.
It was fun, needless to say.

So, all in all, yes, I missed Christmas in general, and celebrating it with my family, and just the general feeling of this holiday season back home. I missed many things about it and felt a bit homesick.
I had a really beautiful Egyptian Christmas, a better one than I could have hoped for. So, I am happy. :)

Merry Christmas to everyone! Hope it was amazing.
Love as always from Egypt,

Yes it is sideways. Sorry. But either way, it's my lovely Christmas tree from my amazing host family, complete with the gifts from the party under it! :D


  1. So glad the true meaning of Christmas is alive and well in Alexandria! Thank you for sharing. I am proud to even KNOW you, let alone to be be your Dad.

    1. You made my day! I love you so much, you really have no idea how happy I am to call you my dad :')