Okay, I’m out of my apartment in the beach community of Hanovil, El-Agamy, Egypt. The kids, 10 suitcases, 5 carry on bags and 2 loads of dirty laundry arrived at my in-law’s house yesterday around noon. Good thing we’re only staying for 3 days, huh? (What’s that expression? House guests and fish…? Yeah, that.)
I am realizing daily how extremely blessed I have been. I have made so many wonderful friends over the years here. Experiences, knowledge, friendships, love and laughter that I never would have encountered had it not been for that decision 12 years ago to just quit my job and move to Egypt and be a SAHM. I guess, if I look back further, it was 18 years and 7 months ago…when I married the love of my life: Mohamed. I became part of his family here (and of course, he mine in the U.S.) and the laughter and love and tears and joy and pain and fun that we have experienced together, on both sides of the globe, are things that neither of us would trade for the world.
One of my friends commented on Facebook how leaving Egypt would be so bittersweet for me. She was right. I’ve become “bint al-balad” (“daughter of the country” = an Egyptian woman) and now I have two homes. I am going to miss this place and it’s sights and sounds (really, LOUD sounds….this is by far the LOUDEST country in the entire Middle East) and well, SOME of the smells. hahahhahahah.
Sights: Buses, trucks, cars, motorcycles, tuk-tuks, donkey-driven carts and Vespa’s carrying families of 5, date-palm trees, the colorful fruit and vegetable markets, people praying together in the streets, the generosity and hospitality of people helping others, no matter what.
Sounds: The azan (call to prayer), the street vendors yelling out what they’re selling from their rolling push carts in the street, bird-chirping doorbells, bus drivers yelling out the name of their destination while trying to collect enough passengers to fill the vehicle before departure “Mahata, Mahata, Mahata!” (station, station, station!,) and the cow bell ringing that announces the foul mudammas (fava beans) vendor at night during Ramadan (and I mistook him for the ice cream man my first year here.)
Smells: Mangoes, tomatoes, felafel cooking, string pastry made in front of your eyes, the cotton candy vendor who made his cotton candy in a rented store under our apartment, and the sea breeze coming in off of the Mediterranean, the bread from the bread factory next door to our house and the pastry shop we used to walk past on our way home from the bus stop (mostly because it reminds me of my days in Greece with Mohamed when we we were first engaged – he’s a pastry chef.)
All these things I’ll miss. But I’m ready. I’m ready to move forward and experience all the wonderful things that Texas will have to offer us. And maybe it doesn’t sound as exciting as “Egypt,” but you know what? It will be. Because I will be with my entire family and that will make it HOME.
Now I’m off to finish my last few errands in Egypt. We leave the day after tomorrow, insha Allah (God willing.)