Home is where the heart is.

It is really suprising me how sad am I am to be leaving Egypt. Can you believe it? I can’t.

I know that I have blogged before on how living in Egypt is like a drug addiction for me: its bad for my health and I don’t want it but I can’t imagine being without it. I’m going to miss so many things here, so many.And that’s not even stopping to consider the people I’m going to miss. That will be the hardest.

Riding my last commute home from 6th of October I took in as much as I could of the views: the pyramids, the desert, the Nile, and how from one point on the ring road you can see from the river all the way to the Mohamed Ali mosque in the distance. It really hurts to realize that I won’t be here.

I do so really want to go home though, and I know that if I considered staying I would lose all of these nostalgic thoughts.

Let’s list things I’m looking forward to going home to (not including family which is so obvious I don’t need to list it):

– Food food food food food food food food.Uh, food.

Prime rib steak with horseradish sauce! Ah! Pizza, chicken strips with honey mustard sauce, cheesecake, mac and cheese, mozzerella/monterrey jack/cheddar cheese, campbell’s soup, gas station cappuccinos (yep you read that right,) those little packages of powdered doughnuts you can buy for 50 cents, sour cream, reese’s pieces, cereal, and gatorade.

Ya’ll that’s like a drop in the bucket of all the food I am looking forward to eating again. Also now that I’ve written it down I realize that I’ll have to pace myself or I’ll turn into the goodyear blimp.

But there’s so much food I’ll miss from here too. Ma7shi, all kinds of ma7shi. Thankfully my grandma makes some awesome cabbage rolls. I’ll miss the fruits and vegetables. I’m so waiting to be able to stuff myself silly with figs before I leave. Mmmm figs. I’ll miss my mil’s food because she is positively gourmet mashAllah. Her food is so good. I’ll miss how good the produce tastes here.

– Driving with traffic laws.

You know it. I’m also hard core looking forward to having a car again, I really missed that freedom.

– Libraries.

Oh, free books! I’m so excited. And B&N bookstores where I can buy myself a latte and  go sit in a corner of the store with a book off the bookshelf.

– Clean parks.

I miss clean parks. I miss green. I miss being able to walk down a sidewalk without having to hold my breath because countless disgusting pigs have peed in corners and on the walls. And driving down roads without having to avert my eyes because of the people urinating in public. On one morning commute I basically had to stop looking out the window because I’d seen so many of them. It’s disgusting. Shame on all of them.

Why am I going to miss Egypt? It’s things like that which really make me want to go home.

– Movie theaters.

Clean ones.

– Walmart! God, I miss Walmart.

For obvious reasons.

– Cub Foods.


– Friday prayer khutbas in English.

Word. I want to go to jummah again.

– Movie rental stores!

Man I can’t wait to have movie nights!

– Food/People/Restaurant diversity.

I want to be able to go eat Mexican one night, Vietnamese the next night, and felafel if I want to. I hate the lack of diversity here.

– Alright, I have to say it. I straight up miss my family.

I miss my mom and my grandparents, my dad, my cousins. I miss Oogie and the Pampered Chef. Aunt Bonita and Uncle M and playing hand and foot. I miss family barebques and reunions, I miss summer picnics and bonfires. I miss the lakes and the rivers and the U of M campus.

I miss my friends at the mosque and I’m still devastated that the Divine Miss M moved to Florida but she comes home a lot. I miss Dinkytown and Downtown Mlps and StP. I miss Central Ave and Holy Land. I miss my walee and his family.

But oh, I’m going to miss my in-laws. I’ll miss the twins and my sils and my mil (and her food!.) I’ll miss my neices and nephews so much, so so much. God, I want to cry. I’ll miss them teasing me in Arabic and only understanding half of it. I’ll miss going to their houses and being fed. I’ll miss the adhan and seeing mosques everywhere.

I’ll miss the dirt and garbage. The street cats and dogs. I’ll miss how alive this place makes me feel. Alive because everything is reduced to necessities and life just wouldn’t be this hard if you weren’t alive. It’s a euphoria, it’s heady this mix of passionate love and hate. It’s raw and unapologetic. It’s the sheer history of ages and history being made. It’s rich and poor scrambling for the same prize. It’s brutal and magnificent.

It’s the worst and the best of everything this world has to offer and as much as I loathe it I know that I will never be the same.

And I know that every day I’m home, and as happy as I will be there, at least half of my heart will be broken and left here. And I hate it, but it is what it is.

I belong here as much as I belong there.


7 responses to “Home is where the heart is.

  1. Great post I miss all the same things about the US but I would not miss the dirt and garbage.

  2. I just left Egypt after 5 years and so your post really hit home. I never thought I’d miss Egypt but I kind of do after reading this post. Good luck moving!

  3. Wow, I’m reading your blog and realized your from Michigan – Ann Arbor!!
    We’re here in Detroit. My family is Egyptian and I can certainly understand why you are so torn about the things you will miss and the things you are SOOOOO happy to get away from. I grew up here and it is a real love hate relationship with me, too. God forbid you ever need to get anything done officially from a gov’t office!! I tried to get my little boy’s Egyptian citizenship rolling during our last trip and it was a N I G H T M A R E !! I was so disgusted, I thought why would I want him to be a citizen of such an inept country – but I love it.
    You know they say once you have drank from the Nile it will always call you back.
    Insha’Allah, you will return again.

  4. Michigan? Lol. I mention missing downtown Mpls and StP (Minneapolis and St. Paul.) I’m from Minnesota.

    Getting paperwork done here is a matter of wasta and baksheesh. Wasta gets you to the people you need to pay. Its absolutely absurd and I’m so thankful I don’t need to do anything more here.

    And for real, if Mr. Mm and I get citizenship for our kids it will be a matter of nostalgia rather than necessity. Being an official Egyptian citizen doesn’t really open any doors.

    and yes they say that about the nile and really I think the nile is what will hold me here. There is something magical about that river… just magical.

  5. My God I just want to hug you. I want to let you know though doughnuts are no longer 50 cents Missy!

    Also I am VERY happy you are coming back but just know that you will be painfully different and so are things and people here. It’s like nothing ever stays the same but day to day nothing changes. That said I am very hopeful and happy for you and maybe InshaAllah this time next year I can take a trip to visit you InshaAllah.

  6. girl, I’m talking about those little packs of like 5 mini doughnuts- they come in diff flavors like powdered sugar, chocolate, and coconut. How much are they now?

  7. I understand.
    And I feel for you.

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