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!

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.