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 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.