Saturday, June 19, 2010

You know you’ve been in Egypt too long when…

Your landlord shows up at your door unannounced at 11:55 PM…and you’re cool with that because, hey, you weren’t planning on going to bed for a few more hours, anyway.

You tell time by the call to prayer.

You judge the seasons by whatever creepy crawlies are taking over your apartment. Or by what fruit is for sale.

It’s 30°C (86°F) outside and you wish you had remembered to bring a jacket.

The weather forecast is always the same—it’s been 40°C (104°F) for weeks now.

Your white clothes have all turned varying shades of eggshell, cream, and ivory.

Your clothes dry as fast on the line as they would in the dryer…if you had a dryer.

Cramming ten people into a five-seater is no big deal.

You tell your daughter not to run her hands along the wall because her hands might get dirty.

You know to always sniff the milk before consuming it.

You can walk into traffic without blinking.

You’ve forgotten what door knobs are.

You know it’s a bad air day when you come inside with sand in your teeth but it’s a good day when you can see the pyramids.

The metro never seems crowded anymore.

You are a pro at cutting in line and you don’t feel bad about it because you know that line is not really a line.

I’m sure there are other things that I’m missing…if you have any suggestions go ahead and leave them. I’m signing off for now. See you in another world.


  1. It was interesting to compare this to the list we wrote about Syria. As for Cairo, I'm already telling time by the call to prayer (and so are the girls). Bon voyage!!

  2. Ah, let's see:
    - The oxymoron 'Egyptian logic'.
    - You start using Insha'allah on a regular basis AND mean it.
    - It takes you 45 minutes to go 6 Kilometers & you say, "Hey, that was a fast trip." and, when the traffic is clipping along at 15 mph & you go, "Wow, we're making great time!"

    Though I do miss Otlob & juice shops, *sigh*, I still don't yearn & reminisce about Cairo. Not yet.

  3. You know you've been in Egypt too long when your two year-old knows what feral kitties are and points them out.

  4. You know you've been in Egypt too long when you...

    - See an entire family with small children having a picnic at 1am and instead of wondering why those children are up at 1am, you think to yourself, "Oh, how cute!"

    - You chose outfits that will show the least amount of sweat marks because really? Could I sweat anymore every single day that I'm here. I doubt it.

    Egypt misses you already!!!

  5. Aww, this post almost makes me teary-eyed to be honest. Just because "waking up in another world" is a little bit exciting, but bitter too. I hope these Egypt memories carry with you and your daughters for the rest of your lives!!!

  6. Here's a little perspective from Ring Road commutes.

    ...don't flinch at the 2 inch gap between you and the car in front of you. for traffic coming at you on the wrong side of the road.

    ...while watching for oncoming traffic, you dodge pedestrians. remember as a child that you weren't buckled in a carseat either, but that still doesn't settle your stomach.

  7. You've learned to roll your eyes at the constant parenting advice.

  8. I love Meg's comment about the family out at 1am :) So true! And Lydia's "inshallah" comment.. I still say "inshallah" in my dealings at the Lebanese restaurant where I work, and at various other times & places when it just seems right. Miguel has even learned it!

    You know you've lived in Egypt too long when:

    -You don't feel like cooking, so you call McDonald's (or any other plethora of restaurants) for delivery

    -You show up somewhere 2 hours past the posted event start time because, hey, you're still probably going to be the first one there!

    -You see something you like and instead of just agreeing to the posted price (which is probably much cheaper than you would pay for the same product in your home country), you demand that you pay only 1/3 of it - just for the sake of proving your bargaining skills