Hello Sweat Glands, It’s Been Awhile

1.) The day after I blog about how fabutastic spring in Egypt was it turns hot. Like hot, hot. Hot enough for me to walk around going ‘holy crap! its hot!’ However in reality it is only 1/10 of how hot it gets here in the summer. The weird thing about Egypt weather, that I’ve noticed at least, is that the weather changes in the middle of the night. Over the past month or so everytime the weather warmed up I noticed it at about midnight to 2 am. Its so odd to walk outside and think to yourself ‘is it really hotter now than it was at 4 pm?’

the cat just farted and it was horrible. i need to stop letting her lick my roz-bi-laban bowl.

Last night after I finished blogging and got ready for bed I passed by the window and felt the warmer than it was during the day air blow past me. I woke up this morning afternoon covered in sweat. Yummy. It just reminds me that I seriously need to be out of here before summer really kicks in because otherwise I might lose whatever weak hold I still have on my sanity. Let me repeat that: weak hold.

Unfortunately Mr. MM is really not fully on board the USA-train; yesterday he brought up the idea, once again, of staying here. He likes to switch up the reasons but this last one was the pig flu and the craptacular economy. He reasoned that neither of us are going to find jobs and we might die. (BTW I believe he was maybe probably kidding.) Just a few days ago he told me that one of his aunts was so desperate to keep him in Egypt that she offered to fund an English Education business for me. All mine; I’d manage and teach if I wanted to. The only thing is that I am not a business person and I am not interested in building a business (unless its selling FABULOUS clothes for Muslimahs in the States) and I am even less interested in staying here.

Things I would need to stay here:

  • A nice flat thats fully air-conditioned and that I don’t have to worry I’m going to be kicked out of.
  • A car.
  • A maid. (We usually have that now but the last one up and disappeared.)
  • I don’t have to work if I don’t want to. (I technically have that as well but any money I bring in gives us a good cushion.)

Life is Egypt is possible to get used to. If you so choose of course. Its like deciding that living with a schizophrenic roommate is do-able when in reality getting a new roommate would be so much better.

Two hours ago we had a goat going bat-sh*t outside our window.

Read that again, please.

A goat.

My first thought was: ‘is one of our neighbors having a sacrifice or did a goat just wander into our garden?’

And I live in a place WHERE BOTH THINGS ARE PROBABLE.

Sure I can get used to tantrum-throwing farm animals, but do I want to?

To be honest I have softened my viewpoint of Egypt. I think by now that I have been so thoroughly bitten (quite literally over a million times by mosquitoes but thats not what I mean) by the Egypt-bug that I can never ever leave Egypt completely. The thought makes me homesick. Also I must admit that Egypt, Cairo especially, is such a fount of insanity-derived creative juice that I can’t not write. It drives me to writing; its my muse, so to speak.

But do I want to stay here now? No. Do I like the idea of coming back when Mr. MM has an American law degree and the ability to bring down big bucks? Definitely.

I like the idea of being a pampered housewife, ok whats another word I can use? Housewife implies things like cleaning, which are quite prominantly not in my fantasies. Ok, being a pampered writer who may or may not teach a class or two at the AUC but has all the time in the world to haunt coffee shops and write. I could do that. I’m not even high-maintenance so pampered doesn’t mean spiffy clothes and italian leather purses. But I would need a nanny. Hm… Mr. MM may not like that.

Anyways, I can iron those details out later.

I lost my train of thought, where was I?

Oh yes, Egypt. I could live here again, but in much different circumstances. Egypt is a place where it is hard to be anything less than rich. In most places money makes things easier but lets be honest: middle-class in the west is a-ok. Most people in Egypt scrape by at the level of poverty or below. Mr. MM and I are middle-class here, but for me middle-class Masri-style is a big step down from middle-class ala americani. Its hard.

So to come back here it would have to be with money and a good amount of it. Thankfully the exchange rate is pretty good so we wouldn’t have to have that much.

And what about life here? Yea, its tough. In fact things are snow-balling here (ok not literally, did I mention that its really hot?) in terms of living condition and social harmony. Everyone is feeling the pinch of poverty, unemployment, corruption, the disintigration of respect and social morality, and loss of love for your fellow man. A month or so ago I finally realized what it was exactly: they have nothing left to lose.

Mr. MM and I were driving to Alex and a young man literally stepped off of the curb and into oncoming traffic as if he didn’t care if he got hit. Not exactly suicidal but without a thought of the consequences. To everyone in Egypt who reads my blog: watch the people on the roads. They have nothing left to lose.

Young men heckle and harrass because once they finish their almost meaningless education in schools that don’t care about them and with teachers who take bribes or have a personal vendetta against them they only face a future of probable unemployment and no hope for marriage for at least another ten years. They have nothing left to lose.

Women walking down the streets in the hot sun with small children while carrying the weight-equivalent of another two small children on their heads decide to cross a free-way, dragging said small children behind them, dodging cars and making people slam on their breaks, when in reality there is a pedestrian bridge a matter of 1/5 mile up the road all because they have nothing to lose. Ok, maybe a couple of children. But they’re almost starving, unable to imagine how they’re going to feed themselves and their children for the next three days. They have nothing left to lose and so extending the effort it would take to carry their things and children that far just to cross safely doesn’t add up for them.

If things continue this way here I imagine that Egypt will crumble in ten years. Maybe less.

Egypt was a beatiful, safe, peaceful country 35 years ago. Fifty years ago Cairo is said to have rivaled Paris for beauty. I have hope that Egypt will be that way again someday. But not now.

Thanks Mubarak. Just putting that out there.

Did I mention its getting hot? I sure hope Mr. MM doesn’t decide that he can’t leave Egypt. I’d really be lonely without him. On the upside I have told him that if we are here in the summer I’m moving to Alex.

He thinks I’m kidding.

I’m not.

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11 responses to “Hello Sweat Glands, It’s Been Awhile

  1. girl, i totally dig ya. everything you said has been what i’ve believed about egypt for a few years now. every time i go to visit, it keeps getting worse. just seeing the old egyptian movies makes me even more depressed cuz of the “used to be” status. i’m american and husband is egyptian and there is nothing in egypt for us except his family and even they see no reason for him to come back. what’s there to come back to? it’s ridiculous. such a beautiful country….such a waste……

  2. Interesting commentary on Egypt. I’ve heard similar sentiments from other people who have been there recently.

    I haven’t seen Egypt since 1990 and I miss it, even though I can’t stand Cairo for more than three days in succession.

    There’s something about Egypt and Egyptians that gets under one’s skin and stays there.

  3. This post is so spot on. The pedestrians. The middle class compared to the US. All of it.

  4. I loved the insanity of this post. You have painted a very clear picture for me, but I still want to visit Egypt once in my life!

    It’s amazing how middle class in one country can mean something else in another.

    I think you are being realistic about things and if I were you, I’d have your Al-Hub go back, finish his degree and then return back when he can work in a more financially appealing position. Trust me. We started from scratch and we’re sooooo fortunate for what we’ve got now. A big masha’allaah and alhamdulillah for that.

    Having a nanny isn’t such a bad thing after all, chica! And thank God for housemaids – just an extra set of hands is a blessing and you can spend that time with your family without worrying about domestic duties. It takes a load off of you emotionally like you wouldn’t believe.

    I haven’t experienced goats in my neighborhood yet, but when I drove to work the other day, I got to pass a whole herd (?) of camels beachside. πŸ™‚

    Next time, snap some shots of that crazy goat. I wanna see!

  5. Molly, I have a random question that is not at all related to your post. I hope you don’t mind; if so, just say so and I’ll find someone else to harass πŸ™‚

    How do you pronounce the word “Umm”? (It means “mother,” right?) Is it like the o/u in bus, oo-la-la, cute, ohm … or something else altogether? I don’t know what sparked the curiosity, but now I can’t get it out of my head. Thanks!

  6. Its like the oo in oo la la. I would love to meet up with you some time soon if you’re game. L- i just need to convince mr mm of the benefits of domestic help. Its not very common in egyptian culture so he doesn’t understand its benefits. 😦 sigh.

  7. I’ll be leaving in a few days for R&R, but I’d love to meet you when I come back, in around a month.

  8. Asalaamu `alaikum!!

    *rofl* I luved reading this post!! You’re a good Blogger, masha’Allah πŸ˜€

  9. Deb- I might be back in the states by then, not sure. When are you leaving?

  10. second time here and luved the post….are you sure you ve been here just few months ago..you almost knew it all “you witty young blogger “:))!!!yeah that’s Egypt…and we r complaining from the very same issues you r sick of…and yeah u ve to be pretty wealthy to enjoy it here or else u r outta ur mind…servants here sucks ,being either educated at the AUC or teaching there is cool “i had my share years ago and it was fun”…summer here is a synonym of “torture”and being a pampered house wife is a dream for a women like myself who had to stick at their houses all day long to wait for their kiddos to be back home and then the whirlpool of routine stuff begins!!!hubby calls me a super woman cuz i do all the domestic duties myself “cleaning,washing ,cooking,fixing stuff,helping with homeworks….”just everything yet i still got time to nail polish ,do facials,work out and surf the net”….all with no nannies and servants….its possible to pamper yourself under any situation ,cuz i believe pampering urself a little especially under stressful situations is what keeps us going.
    Good ur heading to Alex.,its our favorite too and what’s more good that u obviously have softened ur view point of Egypt,at least there is no “HATE HATE HATE HATE…………”thing this time…and “Thanks Mubarak…!!!!!!!!!!.”.u little hypocrite …LOL

    Yomna

  11. Mr. B agrees with you wholeheartedly. Being from Alex, he’s enjoyed a life away from Cairo (he hates it there), but being back this last February simultaneously angered, saddened and put him into mourning. He was angered because the youth seem not to care about anything, because, as you said, they have nothing left to lose. He was sad because of how his country has deteriorated during his eight year absence, and mourned his memories of how it used to be.
    Secondly, he also, along with my in-laws agree with, “Egypt is a place where it is hard to be anything less than rich.” In fact, while they miss us, they don’t want us to live there unless we’re wealthy. Also, with how things are getting, piggy pandemic and all – the want to come here. Yes, they would like to live in the US.

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