Amreekia Min Bab Al Sharayah

That was the name of my old blog. Translated, it means an American woman from the old, poor and rundown district of Bab Al Sharayah in Cairo. I was given this nickname because although I was born in the USA, my mentality is more ghetto Egyptian. I'm a curious mixture of east meets west, and dont care if you call me balady!

I'm going to slowly bring some of the old posts from Amreekia over here (see archives), basically to give new readers some background. I hope you'll enjoy the old and the new and join me on this fascinating expat journey!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Welcome to my world

Join me as I venture into my third--yes third--"permanent" move to Egypt. Between vacations and actually living there I've bounced around more times than I care to count. But this move will be the last. Planned for October 2007. For those of you who have never moved, let alone internationally, you might not appreciate my trials and tribulations. For those who have, you'll breathe a deep sigh of relief as you read this and say "Thank God it's not ME this time!" In any case, I hope you enjoy yourself here. Welcome to my world!

The title of my blog, Amreekia min Bab Al Sharayah, needs some explaining. It means American (female) from the Bab Al Sharayah area of Cairo. This area is supposedly a lower class area filled with common folk who might best be termed the "working poor". You most likely wouldn't find any 5 star restaurants there, just fava bean and falafal shops and dreary old "ahwas"--coffeehouses for men only! I've never been to the Bab, but because I watch so many Egyptian movies on the Arabic Dish, I've managed to pick up a lot of slang. Low class slang, apparently--haha!

So one Egyptian officially dubbed me, after hearing me speak Arabic, an American from Bab Al Sharayah. I cherish the title. I like being "balady"--and I don't even know how to explain that one! I guess it means countrified in a way. I don't want to belong to the hoity-toity, so-called Egyptian "high" class. I prefer to be one of the common folk. Because high class in Egypt doesn't mean the same thing that it means in the USA.

High class there means you have MONEY--even if you have no manners! You can be a rich drug dealer or cop on the take and spend a 1000LE on a meal, wipe your mouth on your sleeve and belch loudly when you've finished and be considered high class. On the flip side, you can be a hard working, family oriented man or woman whose word is gold and is always ready to share their last piece of pita with a neighbor and be considered "low" class. That's for the birds! It's a mixed up society. But I love the commoners, and am proud to be considered one of them.

Call me what you want. Just don't call me late for falafal!