January 16, 2011

Things I Love About Egypt

I feel really bad because I've been stressing over writing this post. I've been worried I wont be able to think of many things but I think once I start the ball rolling, I'll have lots to add to the list. Feel free to add some in the comments.

  • Never feeling out of place because I'm a hijabi, a Muslim and an Arab. The same goes for my kids. They don't get made fun of at school because their name is different or when they wear hijab, or pray.  They won't be outcast or question their deen. They will fit in at the very least in that respect.
  • Living in Egypt offers the opportunity to live among Muslims. I won't use the term "Muslim country" because there's no such thing. This country, like any other has it's share of problems like teen sex, and drugs etc, but it's much less and it isn't accepted and glamorized like these things are in the West. Not to mention having mosques on every corner and athan 5 times a day.
  • Sunshine. It's sunny at least 95% of the time. Especially where I live.
  • The sea. I love the sea! It's gorgeous here and minutes away. We love to swim and really should go to the beach more often.
  • Groceries delivered to your doorstep is great. Especially when you live in a 3rd floor walk up. You just pay a few extra pounds and tip them, it's completely worth it. Most restaurants delver too. Even Mcdonalds!
  • Pedicures at home, she also does threading and colors/cuts hair. It's so convenient. You don't need to go out and have some one watch the kids or bring them with. She comes to your apartment. It's really a nice little luxury.
  • Stores open late! Most places open until midnight at least! This kind of makes up for the late opening.
  • Life here is easy going. The day is long and people are chill. No "Rat Race".
  • You can fix anything here. If your sandal rips or a zipper on a bag is broken, you can easily have it fixed for just a couple of pounds. People don't throw things away very easily and fix whatever they can to get the most use out of it.
  • Tailors are also very affordable. You can get your clothes altered or hemmed for cheap and we do this often. 
  • People are extremely hospitable and generous here. It's part of the culture. You can't enter someone's home without having something to drink or eat and they'd give you what they were going to eat if that's all they have.
  • Roast chicken, Hawawshe, Falafel, Kosharee, amazing seafood,Mah-shi, Babaganoug and a lot of other amazing Egyptian food!!
  • I never have to read food labels or worry that I'll accidentally order something with pork or alcohol in it at a restaurant. This is huge.
  • Hijabs Galore! There are so many different kinds and they are everywhere. I'll never get enough.
  • There is a lot of beauty to be found. When I look at the pictures I've posted here from Hurghada and from trips we've taken around Egypt in the past few years, I see that there is a lot of beauty in nature, and in history in this country to be seen.
  • Eids are a big holiday, everyone celebrates and there's vacation from school! That also goes for the sense of unity during Ramadan and when people are breaking the fast. If it's magrib time and you're on the road people stand out then just to give people dates and juice to break their fast for the reward from Allah. It's a beautiful thing.
  •  Family values are big here. People take care of each other and kids/teens have more respect for their parents than in the West.
  • The Makwagi!! How could I almost forget him!? There are shops everywhere that will iron and fold/hang your clothes for like half a pound a piece. I abhore ironing so this is a Godsend!!

Wow. That was really therapeutic! I was worried for nothing. As I was writing this just now, It just kept coming to me. To be honest, I've been feeling a little down lately and as the list went on I felt my heart lift. There really is a lot to love about Egypt!


  1. A'salaamu alaikum sis. Masha'Allah I'm glad you found so much to love! I guess it's easy to glamorize what you don't have; you know the grass-is-always greener-on-the-other-side syndrome.

    I've always wanted to visit Egypt since I was a child and I think from most Western-raised Muslims perspective, Egypt is one of the easiest places to move to, due to the people's open and friendly nature. Just what I've heard and what I've experienced. :-)

    Ma salaama....

  2. What a great list! It makes me miss Turkey now. I remember seeing some people hang baskets on a rope and pulley when they live on the second or higher floor, and someone would put groceries or bread or something in it and they'd pull it up.
    I'd like to visit Egypt some day, inshallah. One of my friends did and loved it.

  3. hey Mona! i read your blogs from time to time and i have to say, this one and the one you made about christmas a while back both hit me in a comforting way. i understand this post so well because i have been to egypt more than once and i love it. i loved everything you mentioned here and everyone accepted me there in Alexandria when i was catholic and of course now as a muslim. just being in egypt as a catholic back in december 2008 was a big factor in me converting to islam in 2009. to be honest, if you want to laugh, my husband walked me through "everything" that i will experience in egypt before going there.. EXCEPT the 25 different athans going off in the middle of the night all at once lol i jumped out of bed ready to fight someone it scared me 1/2 to death lol but after a week it didnt scare me anymore.. i found it a bit comforting. i was talking to my sister in law in alex today and i cant wait to go back there. (my sister in law is my best friend)...
    thank you for this comforting post sorry i am rambling lolol

  4. Anonymous3:28 AM

    Egypt seems like my kind of life, lazy and rat-race free. But something tells me I'd get fat quickly from the lying around :P What I really really liked reading was your first point. It's really nice to be able to fully practice Islam and not be seen as the weirdo. I hate having to rush prayers in hallway corners so no-one see's me and has a heart attack. My freind had one incident where while she was praying girls were taking pictures of her and sniggering like she was an exhibition at the zoo. Especially Halaal food. I was on a one year and a half streak but the unfortunate part was on the second eid I broke it because I forgot the chicken I was eating at the restaurant wasn't halal! *sigh* T-T. Also a girl I know who came back maybe a year ago literally almost listed everything you listed and longed to go back. I'd love to trade places, but you'd get canada instead of america it's a shame we don't have target though we have tons and tons of snow to make up for that :)

  5. That's a really nice list. I just moved from New Jersey to Dubai. I've been pretty worried. I need to find a threading lady that comes to your home! Egypt sounds nicer in the family/Islamic sense than Dubai. Alhamdulillah, it's nice here...but the majority of people here are expatriates. Every time I see your blog...I tell my husband we have to go to Egypt.

  6. Sarah, InshaAllah :)

    Umm Aaminah, The grass sure does look green from the other side.

    Missy, Thanks, People here do the rope/basket thing too, Hope you get to come some day.

    Danielle, Lol, yea we have a masjid across the street and at first it startled me because it was so loud/close.

    Perfectly.Imperfect, it's first on the list for good reason. Let's trade for like a month mmkay?

    Sabirah, I'm from New Jersey too, my brother lives in Dubai and I'd love to visit sometime. Really? Even with all the complaining I do on here? I'd definitely recommended an extended visit for an educated opinion for sure.

  7. Nice list :) I think all of those things are pretty great too :)

  8. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Beautiful,beautiful post dear Mona and I so enjoyed reading it.
    You know the thing about fixing things and tailoring is something I really appreciate in Slovenia for example :).
    Kiss,kiss sweety :)!

  9. Glad you found so many things to like about Egypt!

    A lot of things are similar in Pakistan: the ironing guy, the hospitality, and of course, the Halal food.

  10. Sheher6:33 AM

    That was all very nice to read and wow Egypt surely scores better in many of the points up there compared to India.
    And regarding your question in the previous post..yes we have to burn our own garbage. Of course I segregate the dry and wet garbage. But as I said again the pain is burning diapers. It is not at all easy as we experience 6 months of monsoon every year and high humidity..almost 90% during peak monsoon.
    It is so thoughtful of you to reply to our comments. I must say you are a very beautiful and cordial host. Thank You!

  11. Awww, now I miss Palestine, lol!

    I agree with so many points, especially the one about not feeling out of place. I finally felt like I belonged when I visited Palestine the first time.

    Yes, you can't beat cheap, authentic, delicious food.

    And hello!! someone comes to the house to do all that for you?? That's awesome! I wish someone out here would do that. I'd pay the extra cash!

  12. Rayhaanah11:18 AM

    Beautiful post, Mona!
    Makes me miss living in Egyptb

  13. I understand why you had to write this post. I mean, at least I think I do. Sometimes I feel like I don't belong anywhere but I'm trying to learn how to be grateful wherever I am. There are ups and downs everywhere we go.

    I am craving for mahshi sooo badly. They call it wara' ainab here in Malaysia... when I ask for 'mahshi' in Arabic restaurants the waiters always go, "Oh you speak Arabic?"


  14. Amalia, thanks, I knew you could relate.

    Jasmina, Thanks, yes it's really handy.

    HijabiMommy, I'm glad too!

    Sheher, Wow, ever consider cloth diapers? It might be worth the work. Thank you for your kind comment :)

    Amnah, I get the feeling a lot of countries have these similarities.
    You could always ask someone who is a beautician if they would be open to house calls.

    Shahirah Elaiza, I'm glad you understand and I'm so happy I did make this list. Mahshi covers all stuffed veggies like cabbage, grape leaves, peppers, etc, wara' ainab is just the grape leave kind. I'm partial to cabbage :)

  15. Yes Mona! You did great with this list... it is heartwarming and beautiful to be grateful for what we have in life. I miss Egypt a lot, especially when I first got here.. i agreed with all your points but above all.. there is a special something in Egypt that can only be expressed somewhat in this song... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6-EuORK5hc

    Thank you Mona... love your post!

    love Eman

  16. Oh yeah! And where else can you do a full day's shopping for fun, bags, hats, scarves, sunglasses, and even pajamas while you are sitting on the beautiful sandy shore of the beach in Alexandria? Talk about one stop shopping... charming...

  17. Eman, I never heard that before,thanks, I like the pictures too. Lol @ the beach vendors, yea and snacks as well.

  18. Anonymous5:08 PM

    Dear Mama Mona, I loved your comments about all the things you love about Egypt. I am an American who was evacuated from Egypt in Feburary and I have not been able to return. I lived there for 3 years and thought about writing a book...and the title, "Egypt, My Heart!" I really miss Egypt and the culture and the beautiful people of Egypt. All the Best ~ Diana

  19. Wow, i just made a similar post before reading this, but yours is alot bigger and i agree with everything youve mentioned. id love to move there one day :)

  20. Sister In Islam, I'd love to read yours.

  21. Oh i didnt realise my link wasnt on my profile, its up now, but ill post it here anyway http://innermostthoughtsofamuslimah.wordpress.com/

  22. SisterinIslam, going to check it out now. Thanks.


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