My name is Laura El-Tantawy.
I am Egyptian.
Thirteen years ago my life changed dramatically. I remember the day.
It was just after sunrise had ushered in a new morning.
I stood under Cairo Airport’s flickering fluorescent lights, my heart pounding ahead of what was about to happen.
I knew my life was changing forever.
My family surrounded me.
My mother weeping, my father worried.
My grandmother—my uncle, aunts, sisters, cousins.
I can’t forget the moment my mother and father let go of my hand. Their eyes holding back their tears.
This memory has guided my future.
I have lived away from Egypt for nearly two decades, yet somehow a lot of me remained behind.
Being far away, yet so close leaves a strong imprint. A sense of love and loss all in one.
When people took to the streets on January 25, 2011, I had to be among them.
It was a moment when my past, present and future came together as never before.
In the square of liberation I found dreamers. Just like in the films. Thousands of them.
In Tahrir Square I found myself again.