Though I have lived most of my life in the United States, I was no stranger to Sahel season. The time of year, usually during Eid Al Adha when people flock off to their chalets or rented homes on Egypt’s North Coast. My family has had a long-standing tradition since I was a seven-year-old where we would go every summer to my aunt’s villa in Marina 5, a small resort town on the North Coast. That experience has made even my family and I living all those past years in the United States not sever ties with our long-distance family. If it weren’t for the annual trips, we probably would have stopped talking. From sleeping in to small bunkbeds to playing cards all night, am providing you with a round-up of the best family experiences that are only lived during Egypt’s Sahel season.
Imagine you’re in a room with eight other girls and only about four bunkbeds available to sleep in. With matching pajamas, we change into them and we talk, squashed together in beds until the sun comes up. You can either look at this as endearing or like we’re in jail; I prefer the first. As we got older, the number of bunkbeds increased but the traditions continued. We would still fight over who would get the lower beds and the bigger beds and who got stuck with the top ones.
The Games We Play
From playing violent card games like Spoons or Fruits which I am almost certain we made up; our voices get so high from calling everyone on the floor a cheater that you’d think our neighbours would make a complaint.
The Memories Made There
Besides the good times at Sahel, our annual vacations have been times when big things happened for each member of the family. These sunny days by the pool in our bathing suits were also the times that we celebrated major events in our family. Whether the announcement of an engagement or a baby on the way, or someone deciding to start wearing the hijab. These vacations were not only the times for tans, and dancing competitions but major turning points in our lives.
After fighting over who gets which shelf from our one shared closet, we eventually have to pack everything back into our suitcases and head back to Cairo. After we realize that the fun is over, the bubble has popped and everyone will be heading back to their homes, the trip feels even more special. All of us would just have anticipation for the following year knowing all the great memories we have. If it weren’t for these annual traditions of eating and laughing too much, eating mangoes by the pool, these small and special moments are what make these trips a treasure no matter the distance, and no matter how often we do or don’t speak. Just recalling one of these memories will put a smile on your face and make you feel like you were with them yesterday.
WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss…The Go-To Guide For A Day In Egypt’s Sahel