Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Friday, May 2, 2008

Da List

In honor of moving to Egypt I wanted to make some lists. A list of things I will miss about home, and things I'm looking forward to getting away from; and a list of things I'm looking forward to in Egypt, and things I am not looking forward to in Egypt.

Things I will miss are in green, things I will not miss are in red


1. I will miss my mom, my family, and my friends a lot.
1. I will not miss being badgered by various family members for becoming Muslim.

2. I will miss American food.
2. I will not miss all the preservatives/pestacides used in American food.

3. I will miss my car.
3. I will not miss paying gas prices.

4. I will miss hearing both of my languages spoken at all places around me.
4. I will not miss having people speak to me like I don't speak English because of my hijab.

5. I will miss having 200 random channels of English TV available and all the shows I am addicted to like the Medium, SVU, and Scrubs.
5. Actually there is nothing I will not miss about that.

6. I will miss being able to go out and drive around aimlessly like I do here when I'm really stressed or under pressure. I will also miss being able to get somewhere in a reasonable amount of time because no matter how much TCers like to complain about our traffic (especially since the 35W collapse) it doesn't hold a candle next to the hot mess of Cairo traffic.

7. I will not miss traffic cops catching people (occasionally me) for speeding.

8. I will miss Cub Foods.
8. I will not miss Cub Foods' produce.

9. I will miss my mattress. Lots. I mean a lot a lot.

10. I will miss the 4th of July fireworks and sitting on the grass with my favorite cousins.

11. I will miss my cousin Oogie (not her real name but a nickname we've called her since childhood) and sewing/watching movies/playing WOW/talking on the phone/going out to dinner/playing Wii bowling/playing zonk/playing hand and foot.... etc. And also her mom and dad who are some of my favorite people in the world. I know this counts as missing family, but she's like my best friend and deserves her own number.

12. I'll miss the births of a lot of my friends' babies (Carrie and Mer specifically).

13. I'll miss knowing my way around. Everything.

14. I'll miss being in control. HA! Thats gonna be a big one, I'm really going to miss being in control. Control of where I go, what I can do, what I can take care of, etc. Moving it Egypt is definately going to be a lesson in letting go.

15. I'm really just going to miss home.


1. I'm looking forward to being with my husband. I might mention that one a couple of times cuz I'm REALLY looking forward to that one.

2. I'm looking forward to seeing my neices and nephews and all of my in-laws cuz I really do love them.

3. I'm looking forward to learning Arabic.
3. I'm not looking forward to not understanding until I do.

4. I'm looking forward to warm winters.
4. But I'm definately not looking forward to the summer.

5. I'm looking forward to all the new experiences, new places to see, new people to meet.

6. I'm looking forward to being in a Muslim country. REALLY looking forward to that one.

7. I'm looking forward to having my own kitchen to cook food in and play house -this time for real- with my husband.
7. I'm terrified of actually having to prove I'm a good cook.

8. I'm looking forward to koshari and really good lebanese restaurants.
8. I'm not looking forward to any other Egyptian food. Ok maybe maashi.

9. I am looking forward to fresh produce that actually tastes like food. Oh and halal meat.
9. Not really looking forward to the less than FDA-standard sanitation involved with both of the above.

10. Not looking forward to Cairo traffic. But I am kind of excited to see people riding donkeys up 6 lane causeways again. It tickles me funnybone.

11. I'm looking forward to being in the desert again. I miss that about Arizona, I'm really a desert girl at heart.

12. I'm REALLY looking forward to Arabic music. Not even kidding. When I came back from Egypt last summer I avoided radio stations for about five months. Music here sucks.

13. I'm looking forward to actually having a house of my own. I've always either been in my mom's house, or a roomie, or in a dorm room, so I never got the chance to interior decorate at will.

14. I would love to work in Egypt and am looking forward to that opportunity (inshAllah). I hope that I am given one.

15. I'm not looking forward to garbage in the streets.

16. I'm not looking forward to corruption or the loss of my basic human rights.

17. I'm not looking forward to people honking their horns 24 hours a day.

18. But I am looking forward to the smiles and warmth of the Egyptian people.

19. The ADHAN!!!! I'm looking forward to always hearing that. (thanks DawnUK I forgot one of the most important ones.)

20. I am looking forward to a completely new way of life.

Feel free to add any advice and/or extras to the list, I may have left out some things.


ammena said...

masha'allah.. i might do a similar blog about moving back to uk :P we should keep in touch sis.. I have 2 good friends in egypt (cairo & alex) who insha'allah i would like to visit soon. maybe we could hook up too :P

DawnUK said...

Salaam Aleikum.

Look forward to : hearing the ADHAN (always gives me goose-bumps!)

Not looking forward to : "dodgy" stomach - usually about 3 days in!!!

Those would be on my list!

So many new and exciting things for you to look forward to!!

Molly said...

the ADHAN! thats it, I forgot that one. Thanks dear.

Ammena, for reals, if you come here we DEFINATELY need to meet. Maybe I'll crash your pad in london. ;) never been there yet.

Amanda said...

Reading this really makes me miss Arizona...I would love love love to feel that hot breeze on my face, or smell the Cholla plants when they first get wet in the summer rain. God, I miss the smells of AZ :(

I'm trying to think of other things you might enjoy about Egypt but I've never been there so I'm not really sure what they've got. Pyramids? LOL. It'll be nice to see those in the distance whenever you feel like it.

Yusuf Smith said...

As-Salaamu 'alaikum,

Don't worry about Cairo in the summer. I spent the height of the summer in 1999 there and it was bearable once you got used to it. (Then again I wasn't wearing hijab!) Just make sure you stay in the shade. It's actually quite a compact city and not that difficult to find your way around; then again, I find my way around places quite instinctively. What's more difficult is getting through the crowds and across the roads which are really fast-moving and dangerous.

I found the food to be nothing to write home about - the fast food is mostly koshari, fool (fava beans), felafel and fiteer (flat bread). On the coast you get more fish, but it's still not a patch on Syrian/Lebanese food. On the up side, there is no water shortage although in some parts of Cairo the water comes out in a trickle, and that's not always the poor bits - our water pressure in Gamaliyya was as good as in London, but in a plush marble-floored office in Nasr City, there was just a trickle. If your apartment isn't already chosen, choose carefully.

Mama Kalila said...

Nothing to add but some comments :-)

1. I can understand that...
2. I actually never missed American food overseas. I do however miss the no preservatives/pesticides thing though!
3. Never had a car (yet) & I won't go off on gas prices even though I want too grrrrr.
4. I would too. People can be dumb sometimes... They do that w/ people in wheelchairs too. My best friend hated it, they acted like she was stupid.
5. I love those shows too! Plus House.. that's become my new fav lol.
6. w/ me it's walking... I can't imagine the traffic in Cairo though.
7. LOL
8. I'm assuming that's a store lol. I would miss Ali Baba's... but for the people because there'd be plenty of stores like it there lol.
9. Understood
10. Sorry!
11. My husband plays WOW.. as I shake my head... I love the wii though, esp bowling! I want the wii fit so bad!!!
12. Awww...
13. Yeah, but you'll learn
14. Understood... but that's a good experience.
15. Another understood.

1. I would too lol
3. Understood.. I'm wanting to learn, but is not easy here.
4. I want the summers!
5. Will be awesome...
6. I can understant that..
7. LOL... but its great, even if a little daunting at first.
8. Mmmm.. Lebanese food. I'd say I envy you... but we have it here. My husbands fam is Lebanese.
9. We have halal meat here... Is what we buy evne not being Muslim.
10. That hits me as funny too!
12. Gotta love Arabic music!
14. I hope you find one/get that chance
15. Ewe...
17. But it's part of the *charm* right? j/k
19. I miss hearing that...
20. :-D

How much longer until you leave? I think you've mentioned it before, but I can't remember. Will you keep up the blog from there? I'll miss reading it if you don't!!!

UmmLayla said...

I like the list. I was so looking forward to the adhan when we went, but unfortunately where my MIL was living in Madenet Naser... You couldn't hear it. I did at my SIL's apartment though.

Food... Well food is only a problem in that getting things you are familiar will cost you. For example, when we were there I paid like 4x's the price for American cereal that I would've for the Egyptian version. And DH has been telling me that he feels very ripped off when he goes to restaurants like KFC because the portions are much different!!! He says they cut the breast up and the chicken is really small... But masha'Allah he hasn't gotten sick or anything (everyone warns you of that when you go back after being here for so long). Just enjoy the fresh produce... AFTER washing it very very very well!LOL

Honestly... I think you will have a grace period where you will just be so happy to be with your husband that you won't notice anything else!LOL

M. Landers said...

Have you been there in the summer before? Cairo was awesome for me in the summer ... everyone was going on about the heat but I am definitely one of those "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" people. If you're at all like me with that, don't worry a bit.

I'm not quite sure where the idea of a lack of pesticides comes from though. :) An organic haven Egypt is not, even if sometimes from cross-contamination and a legacy of heavy use of the big bad ones. Do take care ... it's not just pure field dust gracing the tomato bin, you know?

fairuza said...

From some one who never took the oppurtunity to travel anywhere until it was to late......please, please, please, do EVERYTHING that there is to do in Egypt. Everything you miss will still be here, don't dwell on it too much. It is a huge blessing that you have the oppurtunity to do something that lots of other women sit and dream about. Have a BLAST and learn as much as you can learn....soak it up!

I have always been fascinated with Egypt. I am sure you will love it.

From one "desert girl at heart" to another.... ;)


janene said...

Not looking forward to cockroaches, stray cats or dogs in various stages of distress, improvished people :(

Am looking forward to huge spreads of food prepared for us by friends and family.

Not looking forward to cheap, instantly breakable, potentially unsafe Made-in-China toys that will be showered upon my kids upon their arrival...

On the postitive side:

Love to listen to the adhan -- will be so happy the kids will experience that as well

Am looking forward to dipping my toes in the meditearean sea (I need to learn how to spell that before I arrive...grrr...)

Muneeb Saeed said...

Like the list.. but what about all those Ramadan Iftar's w/ half DA family?
and the SMOG?

gulnari said...

Mollyta! What an interesting list! I'd be looking forward to the delicate melodies of donkeys braying :D I find that incredibly humorous, mostly because most people find it annoying. What's the exact date of your departure? I must know so I can send you your freebie gift before that.

Rahma said...

For me, the inability to communicate has definitely been the biggest difficulty (although very closely followed by the loss of control). If you are going to do actual Arabic lessons, I'd be glad to give you info on the different school options, as an American girl trying very hard to learn the language properly and quickly! Most opinions I've got are that it takes five years of consistent studying PLUS a lot of interaction with Egyptians who will speak Arabic to you--which is the part that most foreign women seem to be lacking, since they all seem to live in predominantly upper class areas where everyone is trying to speak English. I've been here a year, studying the dialect the entire time, and am pretty functional--but I still feel like a three-year-old when I try to talk about anything serious! (Not to mention the serious confusion that ensued once I also started studying classical Arabic...)

Amie said...

7. I'm looking forward to having my own kitchen to cook food in and play house -this time for real- with my husband.
7. I'm terrified of actually having to prove I'm a good cook.

Umm yeah, I used to "wow" my friends with my culinary abilities in Arabi, American, Italian, Indian and S.E. Asian cuisine. However, in the short time I've been married, I've burned/destroyed more food than I have in my entire lifetime. Perhaps I'm trying too hard? Perhaps I prefer a gas stove to our not-so-fantastic at cooking glass top electric?
My advice, just chill. Start simple and work your way up. My husband has been patient, but I still feel like something went terribly wrong in my cooking skills after we got hitched.
P.s. I don't think I like much Egyptian food either....though I love Lebnanese/Syrian...I guess I'm stuck now! :P

Umm Yehiya said...

I love your list.

You can mentally add, you are looking forward to seeing me there, in August inshaAllah!! Ya Rabb inshaAllah it will be so fun to see you there! :)

Deeeeeee said...

You know what dear Molly, I spent a few years in one of the prettiest suburbs in MD, and though I complain about Cairo traffic and pollution and people's attitudes. I wouldn't give it up for the world. There's something about this city that is magical, despite all the huge bad things, that make them all go away! I hope you see it as beautifully as I do when you come, and don't worry about feeling at home or missing your family when you're here, its like there's a whole new family waiting for you to be part of it (and I don't mean just your in-laws). I hope you enjoy your home to the max till you come to Egypt.

Jana's Journeys said...

I spent the last 6 months in Syria and from what I;ve been told it's fairly simular, the thing I struggled with most was the language, start learning Arabic now if you can, trust me it's a very difficult language. I also never really fell in love with the food but when you get there stay away from food stands and restaurants for the first 2 weeks or so ...... it can really upset ur stomach