I’m an international student. I had to come to Canada through a third country to get here since there were no direct flights from India to Canada during that part of the pandemic. It took five to six days to reach Canada with the help of my agent in India helping with all the paperwork. During that time, I stayed in Egypt for three days.
While I was in Egypt, I was with about ten or so students that were travelling from India to Canada for school as well. We knew that if something were to happen to someone, we would all stand together. Obviously we were all missing home and sometimes some people would even start crying all over again. But there was always one guy who was joking and keeping things light. He lives in Scarborough now, and another girl is in Alberta, and I am in Mississauga with my brother. We don’t talk as much but we still have each other on Snapchat and Instagram so we see what each other is up to. Most of them don’t have family over here.
We went as a group to some local attractions and visited Cairo. During my stay, I went to see the pyramids, about forty-five minutes away from the hotel.
The girl that’s now in Alberta was my roommate at the time. She was packing to leave that evening when I was at the Nile River. My flight was meant to be the next day. While we were out, she called the only guy with a working international cell from the hotel to tell me that they were immediately vacating our room! I didn’t know what to do, so I went to the nearest wifi spot to call my agent back in India. Yes, I understand that things happen, but I was so far away from the hotel, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I couldn’t even enjoy the view. Luckily, when I got back to the hotel I had another room to stay for the night.
Egypt was never on my wishlist of places to visit. I never thought that I would meet these people. But now, we message each other at the end of the day.
(Interviewed and written by Alya Somar; photo provided by the interviewee)