Life is an on-going mystery, with so many unexpected challenges, high points, heartbreaks and moments of pure joy along the way. So many people come and go throughout our lives, but so few truly matter when all is said and done. It is with a heavy heart that I write that on November 29, 2016, I lost one of the closest people to my heart: my beautiful, precious grandmother, Madiha El Nadoury.

My grandmother was one of the biggest inspirations in my life, a wise best friend and a source of unconditional love.  And it was actually because of Mamina that I first decided to move to Egypt, despite being raised abroad.  The summer after my first year in college in London was a turning point in my life.  I was so happy to spend that summer in Egypt, after a challenging first year at the London School of Economics (LSE).  That summer, my dear grandfather, Salah Farid, passed away.  So, with the two major life events happening together, I decided to take a year off from LSE and study in Cairo instead.  Of course, I stayed with my beautiful Mamina….

The year that I spent studying in Cairo was one of the best years of my life.  Although I had visited Egypt many times before for holidays, it was the first time I actually lived in Cairo and truly got to know the city.  I remember my grandmother let me drive my grandfather’s car and I somehow managed to pull off driving in Cairo by myself.  But what truly made that year amazing for me was that my grandmother gave me complete trust, total freedom and unconditional love; things I had never experienced before in my life and things that I will never forget.

Because of that year in Cairo and the amazing memories I had of living with Mamina in Egypt, I decided to move back to the country soon after my first job experience abroad.  And although it could have been a phase, I know that it was because of Mamina’s guidance, love and support that I always felt at home in Cairo.  That’s why I stayed and opened my own business in the city, persevering even when I faced the biggest challenges and could have easily given up and moved abroad instead.

Since that fateful year, my home in Cairo was always with Mamina and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The years I spent living with Mamina will always be the most precious years of my life.  Those were the years where I truly grew into my true self, met my closest friends, built my business, made the best memories, and learned about love and all about my country.  It is truly because of Mamina that I am the person I am today. Her influence will be with me forever.

I know I am blessed to have had such a wonderful, loving, kind, free-spirited, funny and beautiful grandmother in my life; and for that, I will always be grateful.  The challenge now is to live the rest of my life without her, a thought that is sometimes too difficult to bear.  My only consolation is that I know Mamina will always be in my heart and I pray she will always guide me from above.  All I know is that I will spend the rest of my life trying to make her proud and honouring her amazing legacy.

May you rest in peace with angels now, Mamina, for you will never be forgotten and you will always be truly missed and loved by all of us who loved you so very, very much



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