In Awe of Egypt
A book, a documentary, and a paper
The first time I ever got on a plane, I was anxious. I thought this is it. I am going where no other man before. Even though it was 2008. I was not exactly the first man on the moon. How did I feel as the plane took off and my ears sucked into themselves? I felt bigger than my body. Looking down I saw the familiar parks and buildings. They became smaller and smaller. Soon, we were above the clouds.
I have an airy, light fascination with the clouds. In kindergarten, at age 5, I would look up when we were outside and think God is watching us. In his big house, the blue sky, where none of us can go. And then on my first flight, as I observed the clouds under us looking like white cotton candy, I realized that up until that moment, I had only learned the basics. Compared to what existed in the seven regions of the world.
I said, I am going to study the very corners of it.
There are three places I have pinned in my mind. Three places I am gravitated towards.
Egypt, the sea of sand.
Alaska, the home.
And Hawaii, the kindness mine.
This is not a story about visiting Egypt. This is a story about studying Egypt’s past and remaining a student forever.
What happened last week was what usually happens when I dive into a topic. I fall in love a little bit.
I did not travel last week. I studied.
Currently, I can not fly across the world but I can always invest in learning. And I am lucky enough to have been born in an era with enough resources to gain knowledge on something.
It all began with a dream I had of being a historian in a university in London. Which is absolutely insane. Because I don’t have a visa for London.
But, the dream got to me. I wanted to go back, back to ancient history, and learn. I found a course about the Pyraminds on Harvard’s open site. The platform was called edx. All it took was ten minutes and a great, great professor talking about his fascination with ancient Egypt. I was hooked.
The week was spend with documentaries, books, and notebooks. Exceptional. I walked right into it, heart first. A dive in the sea of history. I took advantage of any resources that drew me in.
Egyptologists and archeologists have shared their discoveries with the world. Hard-working, under the Sahara desert, weeks after weeks. In the documentary Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb, I felt a new surge of respect for the Egyptian worker. The government had not invested enough money to last for months and yet, they put their bodies under the pressure of the sun and worked for the best results. Highly intelligent and inspiring Egyptians have released articles about the Pharaohs and the model of Ancient Egypt. Truly, there is an enrichment of knowledge in the desert. Those Pyramids don’t seem to stop giving.
And there I was, taking everything in my little notebook.
I was in awe all week.
I tried to learn about the complexity of hieroglyphics. I watched the individuals with the knowledge to get in the tombs, carefully take care of every piece they find. The American archeologist in one documentary grasped a shaped statue of a cat in his hands and spoke of the importance of its reserved condition. He explained as best as he could how this discovery connects pieces of the past. There is immense value in the statues of Egypt’s Gods from years ago.
There is history in Egypt’s sand grains. On the outside, I knew the basics. But it is a mere star in front of a whole sky.
In the Saqqara documentary, I watched transfixed as they figured out the mummified cat-looking animal was actually a lion cub. A lion cub had lived in Egypt, among Pharaohs, cats, and ancient history. Did they manage to tame him? What was his role? The discovery brought beautiful tears to the eyes of the team. They spoke of a gift. It would be the same for me if I saw poetry be written in the waves. How amazing, what a beautiful moment for them. And for all of us. Because it is one more piece added to the history of the world. One more light turned on.
Moving on, I grabbed some books from the library and read about the tombs. Ancient Egypt seems to have been operating hierarchically. In front of the Pyramids, there was a big block that had been precisely measured and prepared for specific tombs. Nothing to be out of line in the straight path. In the houses, the cat was often to be worshipped, seen as a gift.
It is small details but if you go back, if you broaden your mind, you will see everything behind those small details shows a civilization unlike any other. It is much more than just ‘Egyptians had their own gods’. Egypt is rich and valuable. Egypt is a source.
Even though I could not consume or always understand what I was reading in the books, I am in awe.
As a Greek citizen, another country filled with jewels of an enormous past, I salute Egypt. I look in awe and fascination. Those untouched tombs, the Pyramids, the buildings, the habits of the Egyptians, the statues, the discoveries are of great value. A treasure.
Investments in archeology are an absolute must. 1/3 of wealth seems to be going into technology. But, we are nothing without our roots.
In a documentary, it was said that every archeologist should see the Pyramids. But, I think everyone alive should go to Egypt.