January 14, 2011

Things I Miss About America

I think I need to get this out. I wanted to write a post about all the good things in Egypt, but in order for me to be honest with myself and list what is good about here, I have to acknowledge what I am missing. I need it for my sanity.  You tend to take for granted the place you are. I may or may not look back at the US with rose colored glasses. You know how you forget the bad parts? No country is perfect, I know that. But there are things you just miss.

  • Family. My immediate family I see about once a year so Alhamdulillah. I miss my extended family a lot. I suspect they don't think of me nearly as much because as my brother pointed out recently, their lives are the same, we are the ones out of the picture so we miss everything.
  • Public Libraries. It's something I think all kids should have access to. They opened one here a few years ago and within a year it was down the crapper. Books and materials stolen, playground trashed, no maintenance. Pity.
  • Clean streets. It's stuff like this that makes Egypt look so bad. 
  • Seasons. I miss the fall foliage and winter snow!
  • Parks. There aren't any public parks here. For your kids to slide down a slide or swing on a swing you have to go to a cafe and spend money on overpriced coffee or juice at only a couple of places.
  • Trees, grass and nature open to anyone. Nice grassy areas or a place to take a nice nature walk isn't available here. The only place that has those kind of things are hotel property or inside a sports club or "nadee"  that you have to pay thousands to join.
  • Sales & Clearance. Nice things cost money here. You wont find brand names on clearance or good quality things for cheap. Cheap stuff's cheap, nice stuff's expensive. No way around it.
  • Fun kid activities like Children's museums or skating rinks or Discovery Zone/Chucky Cheese type stuff is non existent. Even the Zoo here is a sad sad joke. 
  • Real donuts, bagels, good ice cream, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, Slurpees, Taco Bell, Pepperidge Farm cookies, Fruity Pebbles, Twizzlers...I could go on but I'll stop.
  • Craft stores. The Sanrio Store. Sephora. Payless. Target. The Container Store.  Dollar stores. I guess that all goes under shopping but you know what I mean. 
  • ALSO Shops open in the morning! Nothing is open until noon or later here.  While I'm at it, fair pricing! Here shop owners charge whatever they feel like or as much as they think they can get out of you, also customer service.
  • Lets just say undergarments for women here leave a lot to be desired.
  • Yard sales, flea markets and thrift shops. Although most people here could benefit from these things there are some kind of cultural stigma to it and people are too proud or something. 
  • Scotch tape get's it's own listing here. I miss scotch tape with the dispenser/cutter. 
  • Diversity. Yea here in Hurghada there are some European people but in America kids get exposed to all different races and cultures. It's not cool when your 6 year old thinks every black guy with braids is "Just Jordan".
  • Organization and rules. People in the US follow the traffic laws and line up when it's called for. If you live in the US don't take it for granted. Be glad you live in a society that can value rules, not to mention: honesty, fairness, justice, equality, work ethic, respect for the environment, and safety precautions.
Ok so now the hard part. I'm going to write a post about all the good things about Egypt. I did a pros and cons a few years ago but I want to make a revised PRO list to remind me what's great about Egypt. If you have any suggestions PLEASE email me at mom2dawood at yahoo.com. I definitely need it.


  1. Essalam Alaikum, Well, all I can say is I am right there with you! LOL

  2. A Targete le Boutique! Speaking of sales, I just bought 5 sets of men's pj pants + long sleeve tops for 3.70 each on clearance this week!

    Not to make you jealous or anything, but I love to talk about good deals :)

    Viva la sale!

  3. I feel the same way. I always try to be really positive about Egypt in front of my mum and dad because they can't understand why we choose to live here instead of England. If I even slightly mention that I miss something about England their first response is 'Well move back to the UK' and it can be annoying as we don't want to move back for several reasons. So I have to be extra positive so they don't think I'm miserable living here.

    I'm not miserable but some things about living in Egypt really frustrate me!

  4. I can relate to so much of this. In the Uk I love the library and really miss it here. Also the lack of open countryside where you can walk in peace for miles. I don't tend to miss extended family so much - only because at least one of them tends to turn up about every 6-8 weeks usually armed with all the cosmetics and books that I can't get over here.

  5. Jennifer, Alaikum alsalam, I'm not alone! :)

    UmmSqueakster, I'm jealous and not afraid to say it!

    Amalia, I totally understand. It's hard to complain about here without people saying, "so move back to the US." I don't want to move back to the US. A visit would be nice but expensive.

    Ruby Tuesday, yea only one of my aunts comes here, even though the family is all Egyptian, no one comes here!

  6. Salam Mona,

    Okay, you are making my dreams of living in Egypt vanish quickly. Lol. We actually own a villa there in Hurghada and intend to move there later this year inshaAllah. We go back & forth on whether it's a good idea or not, despite already having the place built. There is good & bad about any place, for sure. It's kind of a matter of what's important and what you're willing to deal with. My main concern is for our two children and their upbringing. I often wonder if we would be "wrong" to move there with the kids versus staying in America. I have my own thoughts on why I feel Egypt is a good idea, but I don't know if I'm right or wrong. I'd love to explore this subject more with you, if you don't mind. I need an honest view of the reality there.


  7. Aww, after reading this, I vow to never take these things for granted again. This is a great reminder to me to be grateful for the little things...like Chucky Cheese! :p

    Can't wait for your post about the good things about Egypt. :)

  8. Om Kareem, I'm sorry, I hope that the post about Egypt will help us both. I'd love for you to email me and tell me what you think and we can talk about it.

    HijabiMommy, For sure!

  9. It's pretty much the same in Damascus too, I'll be going there in almost a month inshAllah and I know what I'll be missing. No more sushi, no more (real) starbucks, no more London Drugs (like CVS, it's a coupon thing), no more walks taking in the fresh unpolluted air, no more need for a stroller with the way the sidewalks are(or aren't), no more parks with safe equiptment, no more cheap kids clothes....like you said the list goes on.

  10. OMG YES! Real donuts! Shops which open in the morning. Diversity! I've started staring at white and black people in amazement too, what is becoming of me?
    Oh I know I know I know......

  11. Muslim Convert, Yea the sidewalks are an extension of the shops and you walk in the street.

    Its Me, There's this kiosk in the food court at City Stars called "Real American Donuts" and they are SOO not!

  12. Anonymous12:18 AM

    Salam dear Mona,

    I think it was a very good idea that you took it all out.If you miss something so bad it can really hurt!Thus,go on also with what you like about Egypt... I'm 100% sure that after this second part you will feel so much better.Some introspection does us so good sometime :)!
    I really liked this post and now I'm looking forward for the part about Egypt :)!

    Kiss,kiss honeybee...

  13. I miss SO many things as well. Wal-Mart is the top of my list. Getting normal things at normal prices as well. Hersheys chocolate ahh.

  14. Anonymous5:15 AM

    I haven't ever been away long enough to miss stuff like that lol. 2 months at a time when I was traveling... I still miss Africa lol. Seriously though we've talked about moving overseas at some point and I'm sure I'll feel the same way if we do.

  15. Jasmina, thanks, I'm kind of worried I wont think of enough things!

    Noor, A Hershey's chocolate bar sounds great right now. Ooh and miniatures!

    Mamakalila, Consider yourself lucky :)

  16. Sheher2:41 PM

    I can absolutely feel where you are coming from as I am living in India now!
    Lemme share a few of my cons. I live in a small rural village in India with no municipal service.
    - Talk about garbage disposal. We have to burn it. It is not at all that tough if it wasn't for my son's diapers.
    - I stopped blogging and lost regular touch with several friends and family due to no internet service. It seems rather miniscule but the internet is so very imp these days. We recently managed to get broadband albeit irregular and slow.
    - I don't speak the local language and the locals do not speak either English or the other 2 languages I know. My only neighbor who speaks broken English goes to work and is a very busy woman. This is not peculiar to this place. You may experience the same in some other parts of India as well since every state has a unique language of its own. And the aforementioned language is tough to learn. So there is no one I can have a woman to woman or a simple adult conversation. Phone calls to family do not fulfill the need and often people in the city are very busy unlike us rurals..hahaha
    A lot more things but I don't want to hijack your comment space. LOL

    And the good in all this..
    We have lots of fresh air, no pollution, lots of calmness and serenity, three clean beaches..one is sort of private..

    Whew I typed a lot...thanks for letting me use your space:)

  17. Sheher3:35 PM

    P.S. I just read your pros and cons list from earlier and 95% of the things you said there are common in India as well. The thing about garbage everywhere, insects, clothes getting dirty, shoes wearing out, dust everywhere, bribing, etc... Wow that's really amazing...
    However where I live right now is pollution free due to it being a rural place and very few vehicles. In the city its just the same.
    BTW Egypt is a favorite in my list of must visit places.

  18. Since I'm in Canada right now, I'm taking all these things for granted and I'm longing for some things in Egypt that I took for granted while I was there! I hope if I go back one day I will be able to remember how much I ended up missing Cairo while in Canada.
    Your list is helping me appreciate things I really missed when I was in Egypt but don't think twice when I'm here... Clean streets and respect for rules (this one in all sorts of ways!) and food I wasn't able to get there (I was missing good pasta more than anything!). With a kid, I would find it hard not to have a yard for her to play in and parks full of great equipment to play on accessible in 5 minutes from home. And the biggest one would be family.

    But you know, you do have nature with the sea and desert. It might be water and sand, but that's the way the land was made to be so there's something beautiful to be seen there even if it's not as diverse as forest. And wow, to be in a place where we can hear the adhan 5x a day and have mosques nearby to pray in congregation (might not even be 3 women on Fridays at the local mosque) and have Arabic be easy to learn for the kids... And I think it's easier to live in Egypt and teach the values that are hard to find in Egypt than to live in the west and try to teach the values that it doesn't offer... Stores in Cairo are open late while I like more than open mornings :P

    Can't wait for your new PRO list. I'm really interested in hearing what the main reasons are that make you live in Egypt permanently.

  19. Anonymous8:03 PM

    Gosh! My loneliness is making me a stalker here...erm excuse me..
    Just wanted to add that I am really interested just like Candice to know what was/are the main reason/s that prompted you to live in Egypt permanently?

  20. Sheher8:30 PM

    Oops! The Anon above is me.

  21. Sheher, You have to burn your own garbage? Or do they have people that do that? Some places here, they burn it too. I don't want to think about living without internet! Feel free to comment all you want!

    Candice, I'm glad I'm helping you in that regard, thanks for the reminders of the blessings we have here.

    Writing that post right now!

  22. I'm getting flashbacks of my visits to Palestine. I can't figure out if it's an Arab thing or a Muslim thing. Or both. Extremely sad.

    This is all why I have a such a hard time imagining myself living there when my husband talks about moving back.

  23. Amnah, I'm not sure what you are referring to being an Arab/Muslim thing? It's a biiiig change for sure.


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