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, October 18, 2009


WOW!!!  Where do I even begin???  First I should say I am typing from my daughter's laptop and I hate the keyboard so expect some typos and God knows what else as I try to get this post up.  Next, yes I did arrive as scheduled after a HORRIBLE flight on nasty DELTA airlines.  I chose Delta from Expedia because it was the cheapest flight--cheaper even than Egypt Air which I thought was the worst airline flying but oh was I WRONG!!!  Delta is disgusttttttting.  Tiny seats, crappy food, and what has to be the tiniest plane ever allowed to fly transcontinentally--is that even a word???  I was so freaked out and claustrophobic on that damn plane I was about ready to have a panic attack.  Over the ocean I felt like I was going nuts and was one Xanax away from screaming for them to land the plane RIGHT NOW cuz I needed fresh air and sunshine.  Never, ever again will I fly Delta.  I am thinking to trash the return flight and pay to go back on Egypt Air.  And anyone who has ever flown Egypt Air will understand just how bad Delta must be from that statement.  Anyway...

My sweet daughter met me at JFK with a lively bouquet of about a zillion small roses--it was just soooooo sweet!  We drove through morning rush hour traffic, listening to Scott and Todd on the radio--oh how I missed them--and finally made it across the Verazano (sp) Bridge, Staten Island, then the Goethels into NJ.  We had breakfast at a halal restaurant in Newark--oh God breakfast hasnt tasted that good in soooo long.  It was a soul food breakfast--cheesy scrambled eggs, beef bacon and turkey sausage, and the best home fries ever!  Buttered toast and fresh, strong coffee.  It was truly to die for!  Got home to her lovely condo in the mountains of eastern NJ and just had a wonderful 2 days catching up. 

First night I was home my sweet baby girl surprised me by inviting her brothers and their wives over--wow!  All my kids together again right in front of my eyes!  Lots of tears and hugs!  It was just incredible!  Four days later on Saturday we went into Newark again to pick my darling husband up from the Amtrak station where he arrived from DC.  It was sooo wonderful to have him with us!  I didnt expect the next 8 days with him to fly by so fast, but between shopping and visiting the kids they did.  We took him to the airport this afternoon and he's now on his way back to Egypt.  I am trying hard not to lose it.  I miss him so much and honestly dont know how I will survive the next 2 months without him.  I may very well fly back earlier than planned cuz I just cant imagine these days without him.

My kids have been wonderful but they are all sooooo busy with their own lives.  We've managed 2 family gatherings in the 11 days I have been here but I dont anticipate another one any time soon.  Life here in the USA is faster paced than ever and their work and other commitments keep them on the go constantly.  So the more time I spend alone, the more I miss my husband and the slower pace of life in Egypt.  Definitely the maximum time away for further vacations will be 1 month!

The weather here is colllld and wet and lovely!  I missed weather!  I love the grey skies, the rain and the smells of Autumn.  I love the fireplace here in my daughter's condo!  I loved the walks my husband and I took in the early mornings when the air was so sharp it made our noses run and chapped our lips.  I do surely miss the climate and the seasons here in the USA.

Tomorrow we are planning a visit to the nearest mosque where my husband and son in law went for Friday prayer.  There is an interfaith discussion planned and I'd like to attend.  I so miss going to the mosque and having my life centered around it.  My husband already met the Imam there and encouraged me to be involved there while I am home here.  It sounds great to me. This coming week we will visit some old friends.  Also more shopping for things I'd like to take back to Egypt.  Hoping to spend some time with both of my sons in their homes.  Planning a day in NYC!  Am taking lots of pictures and will try to get some up here ASAP.

So that's the short of it for now.  I am happy here, but as I suspected, this is not home anymore.  I really feel like just a visitor--a tourist almost.  I'll be happy to get back and even happier to have the kids come to visit me in Cairo.  Will post about some other developments just as soon as I can.  Love to all!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The clock is ticking...

A little over 24 hours until my flight.  In fact this time tomorrow I will probably be waiting impatiently to board the plane at Cairo Airport.  I am going home.  For a visit.  I came here last May 9 and havent been back since.  17 months since I saw my kids--well except for an all too short visit from my daughter and her husband in March.  I didnt intend to make it this long without a visit home but stuff happens.  Things get in the way.  That's life I guess. But finally, finallllly, I am going home!

I have mixed emotions. Of course I am so happy I will soon see my kids. I am also thrilled the first 11 days will also be spent with my husband who is already there finishing up some work and waiting for me. He's only been gone since Saturday morning but my heart hurts with missing him so much. I'm also sooo looking forward to the Autumn weather which will turn to Winter while I am there. I miss rain and snow and falling leaves so much I cry just thinking about it. I'm excited about Thanksgiving and Black Friday and all the Christmas decorations, lights and music I will find in the stores. I miss Walmart! I miss so many things. I cant wait to drink it all in.

But at the same time, I must admit, Egypt is home. Yes...home. It took me a long time to feel this way but it's the truth now. For better and worse, this country is my home. I have to admit it's mostly because of my husband and the life we live here. Very happy together thank Allah. We've been married for nearly 14 months but I'd be lying if I said it didnt feel like maybe 20 or 30 years. We have grown very close and also established sweet little customs and daily routines that come now to me as easy as breathing. We know and love each other deeply, and understand each other so well. Together we have made a strong marriage and it's mostly for this reason I feel so at home here now.

I also have friends here now--and also helpers like my housekeeper and driver who make my life so much easier. I know how to get around everywhere and take care of most business. I love my home and being "just a housewife" (we all know there really isnt such a thing). So while I am thrilled beyond belief to be going back to the USA, I will be equally thrilled to come back here. In fact I wonder if I really will be able to last 2 whole months there. I have a feeling I might want to come back after 1 month but we will see. The plan is flexible. I am grateful to Allah that all my kids are very stable in the USA. All married and living life. I dont feel like they "need" me--I know they missed me and cat wait for me to come, but I am comforted tat they no longer depend on me--for their sakes. If it was up to me I'd keep them babies forever but that's no good for them. I am glad they are making it without me.

I spent the day doing laundry and cooking everything I had in the freezer into ready meals for my husband to heat in the microwave while I am gone. Thank GOD one of my adopted daughters came down from Port Said to help me these past few days. Without her I dont know how I would have made it. I almost had a panic attack today and if she hadnt been here I am pretty sure it wouldnt have been a pleasant scene. If I get too anxious I have a seizure and pass out and I dont know how I would have managed alone. God bless her really--she helped so much and kept me focused.

We are finally done doing everything we wanted to do today. The only thing left to do is finish the packing tomorrow--the last suitcase! I finally feel like I can relax. I am sure I will be all in a dither again tomorrow but I'll get through it. Everything always turns out OK as my son likes to remind me. And so the countdown continues.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The journey has begun...

My sweet husband left this morning for the USA.  In 4 days I will join him, insha Allah (God willing).  It's always very difficult to say goodbye.  As soon as he pulled away from the house, I was thought of all the things I should have done before he left.  Like take a picture of him at the door.  One last picture of just how he looked as he was leaving.  Also, we have this little ritual with my wedding we did when he first put it on my finger...we had vowed the ring would never come off.  Before he put it on my finger the first time, he kissed the ring, then kissed my finger, then slipped it on, then kissed the ring again on my finger.  A few days ago, while with the friend who's taking care of my Mom and the dog, we went to change some gold.  I wanted to sell my old earrings (I have 3 in each ear) and get some new earrings to match the ones my husband just got me for an anniversary present.  While in the gold store, my friend and I decided to have our wedding rings cleaned and polished.  So I had to take it off.  I forgot this morning to let him do that little thing he does.  I would have felt better, as I look at my ring now, if he was the last one to have put it back on my finger, if he'd kissed it and said like he always does..."forever".  I realize these things might sound strange and maybe even superstitious, but I learned when my first husband died, how much those little things meant to me, and how you never know if you'll get another chance to do these silly little things with the man you love.  Insha Allah we will be together again soon.

So he is off now and I have packing to do and a few minor things to arrange before I leave too.  But I still feel so scattered--not quite as bad but still disorganized.  I am going to sit now and make a complete list of everything I need to do and get on it.  I cant wait until I am sitting on that plane.  Actually, i cant wait to get to USA.  I've been away too long and am so anxious to be with my husband and kids again!

Going home...

I am a nervous wreck.  I mean I am a mess.  Both my husband and I are preparing for our trip to USA next week.  I feel like a long-tailed cat on a porch full of rocking chairs.  I mean I am stressed to the max and I dont even know why!  I have traveled so much and so far in my life...all kinds of travel, car, plane, train.  I dont know why this time I am so freaked out but I am.  My insides are shaking!

Before I actually leave Egypt I also need to make a trip tomorrow to friends to drop off my Mom and the dog, who will not be going with me.  I am afraid of my Mom traveling with this swine flu thing and believe she will be safer here with friends who are truly family.  She agrees.  I will return to Cairo on Thursday.

I still have some things to buy before I go.  There is some laundry to finish.  Need to have a few things hemmed at the tailor.  Of course I havent packed a thing.  Am also hoping to leave some meals in the freezer for my husband who will return from USA before I do.  I think I will feel much better once this mini-trip to drop off Mom and the dog is over.  Then I can think in peace and quiet and do everything else that needs to be done with no distractions.  I hope so anyway.  Because I really hate being this worked up, especially when I have no idea why.  I am happy and excited, but there's this crazy nervous thing going on too and I hate this feeling.  I guess it's because I have to be responsible for so many people besides myself.  I am over-extended.

Monday, September 21, 2009

These really were the good old days!

Here's to US!!!!
No matter what our kids and the
new generation think about us,

To Those of  Us  Born  
1930 - 1969

                   1930's, 40's, 
               50's, and 60's!!
First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked
 and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing,
tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep
 on our tummies in baby cribs covered
with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles,
locks on doors or cabinets and
when we rode our bikes,
we had baseball caps
not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars
with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts,
no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a
warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose
and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends,
from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon.
 We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.
And, we weren't overweight..   WHY?

Because we were always outside playing...that' s why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day,
as long as we were back when the streetlights came on..
No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were OKAY.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps
and then ride them down the hill,
only to find out we forgot the brakes.
After running into the bushes a few times,
we learned to solve the problem

We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's
and X-boxes. There were no video games,
no 150 channels on cable, no video movies
or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's,
no cell phones,
no personal computers,
no Internet and no chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth
and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We would get spankings with wooden spoons,

switches, ping pong paddles, or just a bare hand
and no one would call child services to report abuse.

We ate worms and mud pies
made from dirt, and
the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays,
made up games with sticks and tennis balls and,
although we were told it would happen,
we did not put out very many eyes.

 We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house

and knocked on the door or rang the bell,
or just walked in and talked to them.

 Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't had to learn
to deal with disappointment.
Imagine that!!  
The idea of a parent bailing us out 
if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best
risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever.
The past 50 years have been an explosion
of innovation and new ideas..
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility,
and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS!
You might want to share this with others
who have had the luck to grow up as kids,
before the lawyers and the government regulated so much
of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids
so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house
with scissors, doesn't it ?

Sunday, September 20, 2009


WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Read about it here!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

When did I become so Egyptian???

It would probably help if those reading this post were familiar with Egyptian culture, but hopefully you'll get the drift!

So here I was today...baking tons of Eid cookies. Every woman in Egypt was probably doing the exact same thing, except the lazy ones who go out and BUY them...sheesh! And I didnt just bake one batch, I made 3 batches of each kind!!! Women here brag of baking cookies in kilograms (2.25 pounds), as in how many kilos of flour was used in the recipe. I used a respectable 2 kilos of flour today (about 14 cups!!!) and will use 3 more tomorrow. I am a good mother.

So I'm thinking, I need to pack a box and take them to my kids when I go back to the states next month. And then I started laughing at myself.

How many times when I lived in the states did I see the mothers of my Egyptian friends come to USA to visit their kids and do the exact same thing? Bring "care packages" from home. In cheap, fake "Rubbermaid" plastic as my son pointed out.  Everything from holiday cookies to homemade basterma (pastrami) to freshly cooked molokhaya (mallow) to "mish" (stinky aged cheese)??? My God I have become a caricature.

So I called my son tonight to tell him about what's become of his hip, with it, modern American mother. I have become the Egyptian equivalent of a Polish studda baba! I told him I now fully expect to pack stinky cheese sandwiches to eat on the plane, and I'll bring a thermos of strong tea as well. And I wont wear shoes, rather plastic--most likely pink--plastic sandals so my feet are comfy on the plane. I'll clutch my prayer beads and if we hit any turbulence I'll scream "Ya Raab, ya Kareem" (O Generous Lord)!!! I'll waddle down the aisle to take a navy shower in the airplane's bathroom and bother the stewardess to turn off the air conditioning so I dont get a "cold in my back". I will talk to no one in particular incessantly. When I sleep I will snore loudly and my head will probably drop onto the shoulder of my seat mate. I may drool.  When we arrive safely I will again scream my thanks to God, fight to be be the first one to deplane and kiss the ground once I reach the terminal. I will wail and swoon when I see my kids, and lean heavily on my sons' arms because with my swollen ankles it will be hard to walk.

My son said he's not so sure he wants to see me anymore. And...then he called me "Ya Hagga"! That was the icing on the cake! When did I become so Egyptian???

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Winds of Change

Something is definitely in the my life, in my children's lives...I feel changes coming.  I'd be lying if I said I don't feel a marked sense of unease.  Transitions...I feel shifting in my life and maybe because I don't know exactly from where and how, there is also a sense of foreboding.

Ramadan is coming rapidly to an end.  This month always passes so quickly but this year it's just been unreal.  It's almost gone--only 3 more days most likely--3 or 4 depending on the moon, and then Eid will be here.  As usual, I am not satisfied with my performance this Ramadan.  I always think I could do better--in fact I know I could do better--but it's difficult for me to shift gears and concentrate only on Islam and worship.  I feel so many distractions...I was not myself this year--or maybe I was and that's what bothers me.  That I am not a better Believer.  That I let too many things which technically are unimportant in Ramadan take primary focus...and that sometimes culture takes precedence over religion.  But I digress.

I'm not doing anything for Eid this year.  I usually travel to family in Port Said but this year I wont.  I have many things to do to prepare for my trip home to the USA.  That's not to say I wont miss the chance to get out of arid Cairo and lounge around by the sea because I surely will.  Will also miss the marathon Eid cookie baking--and eating.  But I need to concentrate on the multitude of things I must do to prepare to go home for 2 months.  So traveling for Eid is out. The hubster is traveling soon too and we will meet up for 2 weeks in USA.  I sure am looking forward to that!

My friend D might come to stay with me over this holiday and I do welcome that idea.  I should know in the next day or 2 for sure.  If she comes we will make some cookies here--just enough to tide us over the holiday and some to leave for my husband when he returns while I am away.  And I imagine we'll go out to dinner at least once.....there's a nice outdoor club by the Nile--filed with lush greenery--I saw when I was going to Maadi a few weeks ago--I'd love to sit there for awhile and just soak in the fresh air and view of the water.

When one is in a state of transition, it's not a good idea to make major changes.  Better to let the dust settle and then calmly evaluate before making huge life changes.  One of my kids is facing a health issue--nothing serious but it needs some recovery time and in the midst of that, said kid is not happy in many areas of his/her life.  (I dont really want to identify which child.)  But I need to advise him/her to pass the health issue first, then make some other decisions.  Too much on one plate at one time isnt a good thing.  Big decisions need clarity--and calm thinking.

It's funny though...things--issues--problems--they don't just go away.  You can bury them for years, but if something's not right--they just keep popping up, and will never really go away until they are solved or somehow put to rest.  Life's tests are hard.  No one gets a free ride.  It's particularly sad when tests involve the happiness of your children.  Especially when their happiness means you have to let them go and be free to experience life on their own, without the shelter of your constant protection.  I am torn between encouraging my child to "go for it" and telling him/her to hold back and be "safe".  But in some cases, safe is not feeling alive--or happy.  And never taking chances, never depending solely on one's self, never making mistakes and learning from them--there's no room for growth in that is there?  And more than anything else, I want each one of my kids to learn, grow and most of all, be independent--able to stand solely on their own two feet whenever necessary.  I am trying to choke back the perhaps unrealistic fears in my heart and soul--the fear of something "bad" happening to one of my kids when he/she strikes out on a new path.  I want my kids to soar--and find joy in this life.  It shouldn't always be about what others think is right should it?  Shouldn't it sometimes be about what's right for each individual?

This is one of the drawbacks of living in one country while your kids live in another.  It's not like I can just jump in the car and get to one of them in a matter of a few hours like I used to.  At best--the very best--getting home would take a minimum of 24 hours and that's stretching it.   So I am so glad I am going back at this time.  One of my kids needs me.  I want to help, but I wont make the decisions for him/her.  I'd just like to be a gentle guide and impart some wisdom it took me much pain to gain.

My life certainly didn't go as planned.  And I guess if someone as sheltered as I was could find their own feet, then my kids should be able to as well.  I'm praying...and I hope to pray that prayer often until Ramadan ends.  These are the days for miracles.  And while I don't really need a miracle...I just want some Divine Intervention in the way of wisdom and strength to be gifted to this one precious, struggling child.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nobody puts Baby in a corner

Click here to read a wonderful, personal story about Patrick Swayze by my friend and fellow blogger OTE

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Beyoncé Parody by Steeler Ladies..."Put a Ring On It"

"Steeler Ladies" is a parody of Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" conceptualized and written by Christine Nangle, co-written and performed by Addi Twigg, recorded and produced by Sean G. Donaldson.  From the website Steeler Ladies

All the Steeler ladies (7x) Now put your hands up

I wear black and gold - don't fit your mold - of what a lady should be
I live football, I yell at bad calls, wear Dad's Bradshaw jersey
I was raised this way, know every play, don't get me on the offensive
Look at me now, got my terrible towel, don't care if it's 3 degrees

Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
In the superbowl, the Steelers will be bringin' it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it

Here we go, oh oh ohhh oh, oh oh, oh oh oh (2x)

Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
In the superbowl, the Steelers will be bringin' it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it

Yes we can, we got Big Ben, Farrior, Miller and Reed
Holmes and Hampton, you know Tomlin came prepared to lead
Hines Ward grinnin', Willie spinnin', Lebeau is on a mission
Polamalu is gonna come through with another Super Bowl trophy

Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
In the Superbowl, the Steelers will be bringin' it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it

Here we go, oh oh ohhh oh, oh oh, oh oh oh (2x)

Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
In the Superbowl, the Steelers will be bringin' it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it

Here we go, oh oh ohhh oh, oh oh, oh oh oh (2x)

Don't you know we are champions of the world- see history unfurl
what we are plus what we were, makes us Pittsburgh
We're the team that takes the lead and makes you believe
in the destiny and the legacy of the Steel City and beyond!
It gets into your heart, it's a feeling all our own
We're back on the throne, with one for the other thumb

All the Steeler ladies (7x), Now put your hands up

Here we go, oh oh ohhh oh, oh oh, oh oh oh (2x)

Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
In the Superbowl, the Steelers will be bringin' it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it

Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it
In the Superbowl, the Steelers will be bringin' it
Gonna win it and they're gonna put a ring on it


Friday, September 11, 2009

It's that time of year again...

when I need to start paying attention to STEELERS football!!!

Yesterday was the first regular season game and we won!!! STEELERS 13, Titans 10...ahhhh too bad Titans.

We won 3 of the 4 pre-season games...wish it had been all 4 but what really counts is the regular season and we're off to a great start. I'd LOVE to see us go all the way AGAIN this year, and be the first team in history to win 7 Superbowls!!! If any team can do it, the STEELERS can!  We're already the only team to have won 6!!!

My fave player, Troy (it's all about the hair) Polamalu, will be sidelined for a minimum of 3 weeks due to a knee injury...oh nooooooooo! You can read about the curse on Troy here!  What I love about Troy, even more than his hair, is his humility, spirituality and dedication to his family.  He's just an all-around great yet normal guy!

I cant wait to go back to the USA next month and watch the STEELERS on TV!!!  I so miss Sunday afternoon football, and all the great Pittsburgh eats that go with it, like stuffed cabbage, kolbassy, pierogies, hot wings, and in my case an icy cold O'Douls!!!  Start chillin' it kids!


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My first day of Ramadan adventure...

So I was supposed to finish this and never did so here always , life in Egypt--or maybe I should say my life in particular--is never dull!

So first day of Ramadan, I hear my dog down in the yard barking.   So I look out and see some kid about 11 years old fooling around, pushing a stick through the bars in the iron gate to agitate her.  So I yelled at him to get away and he just looked at me with this strange look on his face.  A little while later I hear the gate being opened and look out again.  Lo and behold the kid is in my yard and there's an adult man in there with him.  So I go out the front door and yell in the hall for the bowab (live-in doorman).  I'm complaining to his wife that strange people are in my yard and up walks the bowab--telling me he opened the gate to get one of the bikes out and the kid followed in behind him.  So I remind him to be careful as the dog will kill anyone she doesnt know--hahaha--of course this is not true unless she licked them to death (!!!) but I want everyone to fear Alexa--this way I feel safe.  So he starts telling me this kid showed up in front of our building the day before, and no one knows who he belongs to, and he's not "normal".  He cant talk except for a few baby words for food and drink and "Mama".  His name and phone number were written in ink on his arm, but the number is disconnected.  So the bowab is just keeping him until they figure out what to do with him.  It's Ramadan and he's doing it for Allah, he says, which is really nice I guess but...

The older I get the less inclined I am to accept situations like this.  When I was younger, I most definitely would have done something like this, especially here in Egypt.  In fact I have done similar things before, sometimes with very bad results.  It's not a great idea to open your home to anyone you really dont know, even if it is a child.  You can imagine--anything could happen.

So I go about my business...I was working in the guest bedroom off the balcony that has stairs that lead to the back yard.  The doors were open, both the sliding glass doors and the iron gates.  I figured I was safe in the daytime--especially here in Egypt--and Alexa was in the yard.  Or so I thought!  (As it turns out Alexa was sound asleep in my Mom's room and the door was closed!)

I left the room to go get a wet rag and come back in the room and find this kid standing in the guest room!!!  He was a lot bigger close up.  He had this blank look on his face.  Saying he scared the crap outta me doesnt even begin to describe it.  I felt like I was in a Halloween movie.  Make that a Ramadan movie!  I can only imagine a series.  Ramadan1, I get killed.  Ramadan2,  the tenants that move in here after me get killed.  Ramadan3...well you get the drift.  Anyway...

I should preface this by saying my dear husband has a wild sense of humor and among other things, loves to scare me.   Because I am so gullible and easily panicked.  Even my mother used to pull pranks on me to scare me--she used to get a kick out of that "deer-in-the-headlights" look I am apparently famous for.  So I am basically wary anyway, always thinking my husband will appear out of nowhere like he so often does and I hit the ceiling.  So I am always on high alert, ready to jump out of my skin.

So what happens when I walk into the guest room and find this kid standing there???  Well I scream bloody murder of course.  Which is basically the last thing anyone in the neighborhood is expecting, especially in the afternoon of the first day of Ramadan!

Now to make things worse, the kid doesnt turn and walk--or run--away!  What does he do???  He starts coming towards me!  With this empty look on his face!  I swear.  And so I screamed longer and louder, and I mean it was this deep, gutteral scream...I am sure everyone thought I was being killed!  Finally I had the sense to turn around and run--and out I went through the front door,, screaming for the bowab!  Once I got over the fear, I got angry.  I needed this like I needed a hole in the head.  I just wasnt in the mood--first day of Ramadan and all.

It seems the boy squeezed through the iron bars in the gate of the yard.  So I tell the bowab to call the police and I go in to call my husband.  Better I tell him I scared the whole neighborhood than he hear it first from the neighbors!  He doesnt answer.  So I called the police myself.  To come and pick up the boy.  And all this time I am still shaking like a crazy.  Did I mention I peed on myself when I first saw that kid in the house???  I did!

So I call the police.  The biggest mistake I made was speaking in Arabic.  I told them exactly what happened and when I finished they asked me what my citizenship was. ???  I can speak Arabic fairly well but of course I have an accent.  I definitely dont sound Egyptian.  So I told them American. Apparently they got a kick out of this, because instead of coming to deal with a stranger having been in my house, they called me back 4-FOUR-4 times (!!!) and I had to tell the story to someone new each time!  And the last question was always...what is your citizenship???  The last time they asked I got really angry.  I told them...I told you this story 4 times--what more do you want from me???  The man said--you called us--what do YOU want??? Can you imagine???  I told him I want you to come and take this boy to his family where he belongs, and WHY do you keep calling me to hear the story again and again???  Do you want me to call my embassy or are you going to come???  He said they would be right over.

They never came.  It was the first day of Ramadan.  Who wants to deal with crime?  Certainly not the Egyptian police for heaven's sake!  What was I thinking???. On top of it, I had spoken Arabic with them.  I have been told I should have only spoken English, and then curse them when they didnt understand me.  Seriously, an Egyptian official told me to do that!

In any case, the bowab took the boy to the police station himself.  No one was at the desk.  The officer's chair was empty.  So the boy sat in it!  Something NOT done here in Egypt--kinda like sitting on the king's throne.  Now I imagine the officer, when he returned, knew exactly how I felt.  Hahahaha!  Do ya think???  Problem is he could make heads roll and I cant.  Moral of the story, hmmmmm, there's many in this tale, but my first thought is if you want something official done, speak ENGLISH!  And scream maybe...I shoulda screamed to them on the phone!  Anyway, that ended my first Ramadan adventure this year.  Wonder what's awaiting me next?     

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kirdassa, Egypt

Close to the pyramids in Giza is an amazing little village called Kirdassa.  More pics here.  It's truly a village--a very rural and countrified kind of place--it's almost like stepping back in time a 100 years or so.  Dokeys abound, children run barefoot in the streets--not just playing but many working as well, selling kleenex and bottled water mostly to tourists or helping out in their families' businesses.  Kirdassa is famous for its women's clothing.  Long dresses, called "galabyas" in bright colors with heavy embroidery which at one time was all done by hand, but now done by computerized sewing machines.  These days women mainly wear galabayas in the house, and abayas outside (see below), but in Kirdassa it's common to see the women walking in their bright dresses outside the home.  This is great for me because I love that local color kinda thing, and also because I have long tired of the oh-so-snobby, fakey-wakey dress code in force here in Egypt.  Clothes highly determine how you are viewed here in Egypt.  There is a horrible class system here, where the locals basically categorize everyone as being chic (these nouveau riche hicks pronounce it "cheeeeeek") or not cheeeeek, and oh rue the day when you are considered not cheeeeek!  You become a social pariah.  Or horror of horrors you are called balady (countrified)!!!  But I digress--which I tend to do here when discussing the hoitey-toitey--and haram--class system here.

So here are some pics of Kirdassa, and my new purchases...enjoy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009



Well I finally managed to add pics, but I dont know how to size them or move them around in a post--gotta work on that!  And still cant find a spellchecker!

A lesson best learned...

"Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A visit to my neighbor...the DENTIST!!!!!

I know! Going to the dentist is one of the most hated things, wherever you live. I have been "doctoring" as we used to say, in America with the dentist most of my life. I have a small mouth--I know that sounds funny--when the dentist first told my Mom I had a small mouth she laughed like hell. "You dont know her", she told him. He laughed and explained he meant the physical space in my mouth, not my ability to talk and/or scream! Anyway, it caused me problems all my life...too many teeth and not enough space and to top it all off my teeth are very weak. Which means I've spent a fortune--and experienced great pain--to try and save as many as I could.

So a few years ago, one of my back teeth broke off near the gumline, leaving the root. It didnt bother me so I left it. But for the past few weeks it flared up and caused me a lot of pain, not to mention sending my blood pressure soaring. Constant pain will do that. I live right next door to a fancy dental clinic. I kept promising my husband I would go and have this tooth taken care of, but I didnt have the guts. Although I am sick of pain, I also didnt want to face the pain of the needle and the subsequent pain of the hole left behind. But finally tonight I couldnt take it anymore. And so I screwed up my courage, called my housekeeper to go with me (as the hubster didnt want me to be "alone" with the dentist--hahaha--I know!) and marched dejectedly across the yard like I was going to the gas chamber.

I was scared to death and I think the dentist thought I was pretty funny! After all was said and done, he had a right. Cuz let me tell you, this was the most wonderful experience I ever had with any dentist in my life! After an exam and an x-ray, he said I needed some work done but the first thing was to pull the offending root. So he numbed my gum with a swab first, and truth to tell, even though I was ready to collapse in fear, the needle barely hurt. He pulled out the root in 2 pieces, shoved some cotton up there, and I was done! He gave me the usual speech about nothing hot for 24 hours, take antibiotics and pain meds and I was ready to go! Folks, the whole ordeal didnt take 15 minutes!

Now I have had American friends tell me this before...that dentistry in Egypt is virtually painless and the doctors are great. And now I have to agree 100%! But you want to know the best--the absolute best part of this story??? Every time he picked up a tool, before he began the exam, the xray and the extraction, he said first..."Bismillah ar rahman ar raheem", which means "in the Name of God the Merciful, the Beneficent". You cant imagine how that made me feel! To have him start in the name of God, my heart rested and my soul was at peace. It brought tears to my eyes. Right now, you can believe I am soooo loving this country. I am so greatful to hear the name of God on everyone's lips. I am truly, truly blessed.

And the next best thing??? Guess how much that all cost me??? 150 LE (Egyptian Pounds) which converts to exactly $27!!! When is the last time you had a dental exam, x-ray and extraction for $27??? I think Lincoln was President then! I lovvvvve this country!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friends...and not

I know this will probably sound like a rant, but it really isn't. I think someone rants when they really care about something and need to get it off their chest. But the subject I want to discuss I am happy to say--finally--no longer bothers me at all. In fact I am actually grateful that I no longer give a damn about the kind of people I am addressing. Life is so much better when you know where you stand--better still when you take a stand--and realize, some people just don't matter at all.

My friends have always been so very important to me. They are the light of my life and, among other things, I depend on them. To talk to, have fun with, to seek advice from, to cry on their shoulders--basically my friends are my sisters. I never had a blood sister, but I can imagine it would feel the way I feel about my friends. Always there when you need them, sharing and caring. And I think, judging from the relationships I have, I have been a good friend in return.

In fact, I find it hard not to be nice to people--even those who are not nice to me. I am far too often afraid to speak my mind, and would really have a very difficult time telling someone off. I wish I was tougher in that department. Rather than confronting someone who really needs to hear exactly what I think of them, I just avoid them. I'm not a confrontational person but I wish I was. Because truthfully, some people really need to be told where to get off! Maybe as I get older, I'll develop a thicker skin. Because there are some people I'd really like to rip into.

But before I get into that, let me talk about my real, true friends. My friends in Egypt. No sense discussing the American friends (oh I miss you know who you are!!!) right now because this whole post/situation has to do with Egypt. My dearest friend I will call DR. We've known each other for nearly 30 years. We met in college. As it turns out, I went to grade school with her brother for 8 years and we basically lived in the same neighborhood growing up. During college I became Muslim and she soon followed. When she married and moved out of state, she encouraged me, my late husband, and our kids to follow suit and we did. We spent many happy years together in NJ...a true family. After some years she moved to Egypt and I missed her terribly! It has been absolutely wonderful reconnecting with her again.

We now live on opposite ends of Cairo, and God bless her, because she has a car and I don't, she comes to visit me at least twice a month! It takes her an hour and a half to get here--longer if the traffic is bad, and she always comes bearing sweets from a great bakery! We spend the whole day together, talking and laughing and reminiscing as only sisters can. We talk about our kids, Islam, cooking, the husbands, memories of days gone by...everything under the sun. We have a lonnnng history together and so many wonderful memories we and our families made together. And there's nothing we are afraid to say to each other in the form of advice, opinions, etc. She is simply wonderful. This is true sisterhood!

This week I also reconnected with another friend from back home who came to Egypt this month for a visit--also a Pennsylvania girl who too converted to Islam and moved with her Egyptian husband to NJ. I met her about 25 years ago! Along with DR, AM became a true sister. Our families became 1 family, and both of them stood beside me when I lost my kid's father. She's in Egypt now visiting for a couple of weeks and we've gotten together twice and yakked on the phone a ton. It's so amazing...with sister-friends you can just pick up where you left off the last time you were together. It's like slipping into a well-worn and comfortable pair of old slippers you hadn't worn in awhile. They still fit and feel good--comforting, relaxing.

These are the friends who are worth their weight in gold. They are a gift--a treasure. They, especially DR who is living here, have made all the difference in my life these past months, and even though my visits this week with AM were far too few and short, they brought back such wonderful memories that it seems she has been with me all this time too. How many can say they are so blessed?

But on the flip side, there is the American/Canadian expat community here in Cairo, most of whom I have known online only, but I have known them for a long time--at least 10 years. Virtual relationships aren't too much different than live relationships--at least as far as I can see. Many happy bonds have been formed online. But somewhere between what happens online and what ultimately happens in real life is completely different than what I would every have expected. To the extent it literally sickens me.

In truth I have never met a more selfish and distant group of people. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that many of them--say 2/3 of them, are young mothers with children, so we don't have too much in common. They tend to stick together in a tightly knit group and shun those unlike themselves. But there are at least a 1/3 of the expat community here who are older, childless (or whose kids have flown the coop) and seemingly free to form relationships with each other. But it doesn't happen. In general I would say they are a clique--more than a clique actually--they are a gang. I don't know what one has to do to become a part of their closed secret society--and frankly I no longer care. If being kind and polite and going out of my way for them isn't enough, well the hell with them. Who needs "acquaintances" like that?

The thing is, we expats have formed many online groups and forums and know each other pretty well. Online we try to help each other and provide information that will make our lives easier here. But close the PC and call one of them on the telephone for something and it's a different world altogether. The flip side is if anyone call me, I am always eager to help, meet, etc. I treat my online friends like I do my real world friends. I wish it was reciprocated. I cant quite figure it out, other than remembering the take DR has on it, which is they are basically social misfits who cant interact in person--even though they do online. My feelings aren't so grounded in psychology. My basic opinion is they are just selfish. They don't know how to be real friends. They aren't up for the give-and-take a true friendship/sisterhood requires. They are only interested if they have something to gain from it. In no way EVER do these women go out of their way to do a favor or be kind unless there is something in it for them. They calculate the benefits and rewards to themselves before they ever think to do the simplest of favors or friendly acts.

I thought things would be different here. I thought as "foreigners" in this big, scary and strange land, we would all reach out to each other. We're all in one boat--I thought we would sail it together. Ha. Ha. Wrong! The thing is here, for the most part, almost--and I say almost cuz there are always exceptions to the rule, these women live on American dollars here and live a life farrrrrr better than they lived in USA. They live a life of privilege and blessings, but don't share anything--even their time. They take, take, take. I have tried hard to fit in. I have reached out, sent invitations, hosted gatherings (where maybe 1/5 of those who promised to come actually showed up), called umpteen times on the phone, shared personal belongings...I mean I really tried to be a good friend.

Of all the women I knew online for many years--and finally met here, only one has become what I would consider a true friend. I will call her MD. She is the opposite of the rest. She doesn't put on a false face, doesn't call only when she needs or wants something, is ready to help if I need it (as I am with her) other words, she is rapidly becoming another sister! She's kind, honest and genuine. Not calculating, cold or hypocritical. She's been a breath of fresh air to be sure.

I am not sure which of these expat groups are worse here--the pseudo-religious hypocrites, the ladies who say they are Muslim yet don't practice or give a damn about Islam, or the non-Muslims who hate all things Islam--which makes me wonder why they married into the religion/culture and came to live here to begin with??? To be sure many of the expats here are a strange lot. DR again waxed psychological when she mentioned that many women here couldn't function in their own societies, with men from their own culture--or for one reason or another were rejected by western men--and so found a place as the wife of an Egyptian and then found a place here where there's slim pickens' for friends. But a misfit is a misfit. Sooner or later the breakdown of being able to function normally as a true participating member of our little society within a society here rears its ugly head. I guess if you're either socially retarded--or just plain selfish--sooner or later it becomes apparent.

Truth to tell I spent mannnnny lonely days here. Many days I cried my eyeballs out, stuck between the four walls, not quite courageous enough to venture out alone--or not having any idea where to go. Days I thought I wouldn't make it here, days when I cried buckets and felt so panicky--like a fish out of water. I tried so hard to gather us all together. It didn't happen. And then I began to feel so used. Sure, call me up when you have nothing better to do. Or you need something from me. But let me call one of them, for something as simple as a phone number, a referral for something I need to buy, even a walk or drive just to get out and change my mood--nope--no can do. Geeeeez. Selfish, selfish, selfish!

Maybe all this sounds so nasty. Frankly I don't care. It's something I want to say and then move on. I have managed to fall into a comfortable routine. Between visits from DR and MD we talk on the phone a lot, and I have a driver to take me where I need to go. I finally found all the places to find what I need here--and if I need help I take my housekeeper. My husband and I spend a lot of happy hours together, and in the evenings if we are not too tired we go out for a fresh juice or a walk or occasionally shopping. Every now and then he takes a day off of work and we do something interesting. The social butterflies that are the expat community here continue to use each other. I'm so glad the day has come when I no longer wish I was part of the secret circle. And I guess it's because I no longer care, that I finally have the guts to say what I wanted to say. One day soon I think, I'll be able to say it directly to those who offended the most. Basically I just wanted to have a friend, you have to be a friend. Apparently many expats here never learned how. I thank Allah for the blessings I have, and for the routine my life has settled into. Happy days, thank God.

Not "Egypt" related but truly urgent


A Muslim family is in dire need and even though it's not related to Egyptians (this time!), how many of us have not heard this same kind of story before??? I know I have.

Please read this woman's blog post at:

It's Over People....the Fat Lady Has Sung. About Freakin' Time

In short she is an American with children who spent nearly 24 long years as a prisoner of her abusive husband in Bahrain. He also sexually abused his own daughters. While I dont know this sister personally, apparently many others in the virtual world do. They are doing everything they can to help her--finally- -get home to the USA. 2 of her children were sent back some time ago to live with relatives, and now she and the remaining children are trying to get out as well. She needs help to buy tickets.

During this holy month of Ramadan, cant we all do what we can to help her??? During this month of taqwa and sacrifice, cant we feel her plight? She has a paypal account set up. Even $5 would help!!! Please dont say you dont have it to give! Please help this family who sacrificed so much for their Islam! And are still hanging on,hoping and praying for the help and release from Allah and us!

May Allah reward you all! Dont forget...what goes around comes around. Never say never...dont think it couldnt happen to you or someone close to you. May Allah protect us all and increase us in kindness, compassion and charity...Ameen.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How I'm feeling right now...

This has been a whirlwind of a year! Well almost 16 months in Egypt to be exact. As I have written many times, it's had its ups and downs. But I have been feeling pretty good lately and I'd like to say a big ALHAMDULILAH (praise to Allah) for that! I feel settled, stable, loved and safe here. I've learned how to get around on my own and find everything I need to buy. My husband has made my life wonderful. He's a good man--kind, funny, moderate in his practice of Islam, and stable. He's turned out to be my rock. I cant thank him enough for how happy he's made my life--and I am glad to say he feels the same way about me masha Allah! I think we have completed each other.

Having my daughter visit in February helped a lot. Also, being in touch with the kids constantly online has helped too. We even finally managed to get my mic and headphones working properly so I can talk to them via yahoo chat. Just need to get this goofy cam working and we will be all set.

I have to give a lot of credit to my daughter for easing my mind about my sons. My little angel has taken over the role of "mothering" the boys--the role I verrry reluctantly left behind when I decided to move here. Leaving them in the USA was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. But the youngest was nearly 24 years old when I left, they are all married and stable--there's that word "stable" again--you can see it means a lot to me, and they really didn't need me hanging around anymore. I think they have all grown in a good way since I left, and for that I also thank Allah daily.

I was advised before by dear, well-meaning friends not to think about going back too often. That I needed to stay here at least a year before I visited home, in order to make it stick. But I beg to differ and I'll tell you why. First, if I had gone back every 6 months as I had originally planned, nothing would have kept me from returning here--my dear husband being the biggest factor, and the blood, sweat and tears I put into this move in the first place, the second.

I was totally committed to this move. For a zillion reasons. Life was just out of control in the USA. It was getting to be more than I could afford to maintain a home there, my kids lived far away from me, and I felt so removed from Islam and Muslims. We didn't have much of a religious community in my hometown, and I spent a lot of free time watching Egyptian TV on the DISH. There is an Egyptian expression...One who drinks from the Nile must return, and it certainly was true in my case. I missed Egypt constantly! It was an ache in my heart to come back here permanently. I'm so glad I accomplished that.

So had I gone home twice a year as I had planned, I think it would have made this first year less painful. But Allah is the best of planners, and so it was meant to be that nearly 18 months would pass before I go back to the USA again. In this year+ I have learned patience. LOTS of patience. There were times I was scared out of my wits, wondering if I'd been insane to have left every one and every thing behind to come here. Some days I panicked. At times I seriously thought about going back again for good. But through it all, there was that part of me that knew I wouldn't really go to stay. I have a home, a husband and family here. It took too much effort to build the life I did way could I have given it up for good.

At the end of the day, everything worked out the way Allah wanted it to. The way I dreamed it would. Masha Allah wa alhamdulilah. But all in all, I have to say my husband deserves most of the credit! He has truly put his heart and soul into our marriage and building a life here for us together. He never ceases to make me feel loved, and always reminds me what a difference I made in his life. It doesn't get any better than that! Home is where his heart is, to be sure.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Getting ready for Ramadan

I should have posted this before but I here it is now--even though Ramadan already started!

My husband and I spent Monday in Khan al Khalili, which is a huge--and I mean HUGE--souk in Cairo. Think Moroccan bazaar kinda place. Monday was the day before our wedding anniversary. We had originally intended to spend 3 days--Mon-Wed at Ain Sukhna, a resort on the Red Sea. But with Ramadan beginning last Saturday I thought it was just too rushed, because this holy month requires mega shopping/preparation.

I got some lovely gold earrings for an anniversary present from my sweet husband, a mother of pearl jewelry box--for all my jewels--lol, some incense and burners, a huge Ramadan fanoos, some more Ramadan decorations, other things I cant even remember and best of all...dinner in a restaurant! With a cat as a dining companion--only in Egypt! It was wonderful not to have to worry about cooking!

Here are some pics...enjoy!

My anniversary present!

Mother of Pearl jewelry box

This lantern is nearly 3 feet tall

lantern and crescent lights on my valance

this kitty only wanted shish kabab!

drinking sugar cane juice cooking tonight!

the "Licorice Juice man"

in front of Hussain Mosque in the Khan

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I never imagined...

Ramadan would bring such adventures, especially the first day--but it did!

First thing that happened, I was working in the house and I heard some yelling and shouting coming from out back. As my mother was sitting on the balcony, I hurried to see what the commotion was.

I should preface this by saying we rent an apartment in a very expensive area of Cairo. We could never afford--or think to buy here, but we decided to rent for another year until we really find a place we like. The building next door has some empty apartments in it, in fact the inside is probably still under a bit of construction. In the apartment directly beside us, lives what I am assuming to be a bowab (a doorman or guard, always from either the country or Saiyeed) and his wife and a baby. I am quite sure they dont own the place, but are just staying there while the place is being finished. They are responsible for the safety and upkeep of the whole building. The husband seems quite a bit older than the wife.

This being the first day of Ramadan--with everyone fasting--sometimes tempers are short. But this was way over the top. Apparently they got into a fight and I think he must have hit her. And they were quite loud about it. A few neighbors in the building in back of us, hearing the argument and I guess feeling bad for the wife, starting to scream to the man from their windows. I guess they had just finished yelling at him because by the time I got to the balcony, my Mom said the neighbors had gone back inside, but they had been really upset. I did hear someone threaten to call the police, but not sure who it was.

Anyway, next thing I hear is the woman sobbing horribly. Sobbing and groaning. Egyptian women get very very dramatic when they cry--not that this one didnt have a right of course--she did, but she sounded like she was dying. Sobbing and talking to herself and cusing the man to God. Then I heard glass being thrown from the window--seems the husband was disposing of some kind of glass that got broken during the argument--and the sleeve of his galabya (long gown) was bloody. It really shook my Mom up. I guess I have gotten used to this kind of stuff. I saw a lot more spousal abuse in the USA than I have seen here, but I did feel bad that their child had to witness this crap. But in any case, I guess at my age, not much gets me very worked up anymore...except what happened next! Stay tuned for more...


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint (2:183)

May your fast be made easy for you and, may you enjoy all the blessings of Ramadan throughout the year.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rerun and a glimpse into my life now...

Zillions of thoughts and ideas for posts running through my mind! So much has happened in the last year. Happy thoughts, sad thoughts, good things, bad things...amazing how much my life has changed! Sometimes I cant believe I am the same person who spent all of 2007 and half of 2008 planning for this move.

Oh my God those were hard days! What were the hardest parts? Realizing I had to give up so many material possessions, trying (and mostly failing) to sell them, so much stuff just ending up in the garbage! Trying to raise the money to make this move. The tragic death of my beloved pit bull Kenya about a month before I left. And worst of all, knowing my kids would no longer be just a few hours away--that I could visit them anytime I wanted. Truth to tell, I spent a lot of my first year here in Egypt trying to recover from all that trauma. I think for a long time I was shell-shocked! But things began to improve after I passed the first year mark and I moved to my new apartment here. I think I've managed to put all that drama in perspective--finally!

I have to stop here and give kudos to my daughter, who in my absence has done a wonderful job of keeping the family together. She is in constant touch with her brothers, travels often to see them, holds family gatherings, cooks them the foods they love that I used to cook for them, and in general just does everything I used to do. Bless her sweet heart...she is truly a treasure and her brothers love her all the more for it. And I think it helps all of them to miss me less, since they are so close. Alhamdulilah for that.

Getting settled here and accepting that Egypt was very unlike the USA was also a test of my commitment to make my life here permanent. I'd be lying if I said I never thought about going back. Oh yes I sure did! Days when I missed my kids so much I thought I would die from the pain. Days when trying to get anything done here took a supreme amount of effort, from shopping in an open air market to getting internet service to trying to express complicated concepts in a language other than my own.

P.A.T.I.E.N.C.E. One can not survive here without it--and lots of it! Nothing comes quick or easy here. Everything becomes an issue. Absolutely every day brought another challenge and to some extent still does. And truth to tell, before, I wasn't always up to it. Somehow I just flew by the seat of my pants and other times honestly I shut down for a bit. But as I slowly found my way in this new world, I started to see light at the end of the tunnel, and life here--most days--became second nature.

So like the phoenix rising, I was able to rise out of what felt like a damaged life, and work towards truly finding myself again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why I started a new blog...

I really loved writing Amreekia Min Bab Al Sharayah. (That link wont work unless you have permission to read it cuz it's private now). I started it back in July 2007, sort of as mental preparation and self-encouragment for my pending move to Egypt. It took me nearly a year to prepare for it, and there were pitfalls, delays and some serious sadness along the way. I basically dont want to remember it all when I go to that page, and towards the end there were things I shared with personal friends that I didnt want the world to read. So I created this new blog to get back in touch with the true spirit of why I began blogging in the first record my adventures as an expat living in a foreign country.....a country I love (and sometimes hate) that despite it's faults, is now, truly, my home.