I’m sitting on a rooftop patio with a cool breeze, sharing a shisha and (non-alcoholic) drinks with some new friends at the Paradise Inn Windsor Palace Hotel in Alexandria and over my shoulder are views of the Mediterranean and the city lights at night.
We are two Muslims and two non-Muslims, enjoying a peaceful night and getting to know each other. In this moment, our beliefs do not separate us. In fact, we have more in common than not. The factors and personality traits that led the four of us to leave our lives for the relatively unknown have common threads that weave us together.
In moments like these it becomes clear to me that people with different cultures and beliefs can accept each other nonetheless. I know from travelling around the world that people are good and bad and everywhere in between no matter where you go. My experience so far in Egypt has revealed that people here are like people anywhere. They live their lives, take their children to school, do their jobs and enjoy their free time.
Our little group of new friends is not part of some noble effort to unite people and cultures across the world. We are just people thrown together through circumstance, drawn together through the urge to make connections and living life as best we can.
We are all just people.