We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

Egypt moment (11/10)

Life has been a bit different this fall. I blogged about our new residence in Americaland in September. Last fall, we were so new and we had no idea what to do with ourselves. It was two months before I even realized I could buy M&Ms here (I was better off without that knowledge). We didn’t know where to take the boys to play. We hadn’t yet discovered the expat-y club we joined last January.

This fall, in our new apartment with its great location, with Giggle enrolled at the American school, and with my new commute on a work shuttle rather than the metro–well, I’m not in Egypt much. Of course I am literally. But that expat world you swear you’d never be in when you move overseas? Well, that’s my life.

Of course, we don’t have it as good as US government employees. Oh what I would give to have their commissary (US supermarket brands, at US supermarket prices, shipped to Egypt courtesy of US taxpayers) and post office (send and receive mail to the US, including packages, at domestic rates).

Daily I suffer the painful absence of Kashi GoLean Crunch from local markets, and thus my life.

Still, our world is more international than Egyptian. My friend M and I discussed this last month, and his take is that when you move overseas, you move into an international community. So you’re not immersed with locals, but with other expats from all over the world. Take my favorite local bloggers: Typ0 is a Canadian gal with an American husband and a resume that includes stints in Kenya and India; Lynda is Australian (I think) but has spent a lot of time in Germany and elsewhere on the globe; and Jenni is Swedish, but with an American husband and a family that lived in Belgium for several years.

(I started to write that we Fours are dull by comparison and then I remembered that my boys were born in Ethiopia. So that makes Mr. Four and me the boring ones.)

What reminded me of all this? When, I went back to Egypt last week. When I took the train to Alexandria, by myself, and then had a few free hours in Alex with a co-worker, I was reminded of Egypt.

Some highlights:

  • Train toilets that are, basically, funnels to the ground. I peered down into the toilet and saw the tracks rushing by under the train. This is on the first class car, mind you.
  • Garbage, everywhere. On the streets, in the sidewalks, everywhere.
  • Comments and leers from just about every man on the street.

Mr. Four calls these “Egypt moments.”

Now, much of Egypt is good. For example, while in Alex, my co-worker and I walked past the KFC to a local food place where we got two tamiya (Egyptian falafel) sandwiches and two bottles of water for 5LE, less than US$1. And those sandwiches were amazingly good, with crispy yet moist tamiya and fresh bread. That was also an Egypt moment.

10 November 2008 - Posted by | our life in egypt, transportation


  1. I totally agree about meeting and immersing yourself with locals. I must say that my best friends from our previous postings were all expats with only one exception.

    Sure you meet locals, and have dinner, and work with them but really connecting and developping strong friendships seems harder. You know you’re leaving. They know you’re leaving. So there is a reluctance on both sides, i think, to make that investment. *shrug*

    Comment by Typ0 | 10 November 2008

  2. You and Mr. Four are not boring. C. and I actually talked about this – how intersting it is to hear about your life before you came to Egypt: you own a house in the US, paid electricity bills, bought cars, went on holiday in Oregon, and did a lot of other things that are very exotic to us. In our eyes, and certainly in this context (the international community) you are nothing but boring; you’re another intersting feature.

    Comment by Jennifer | 10 November 2008

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