I am not loving Cairo as a place to live. My ex-pat family, my Hayah middle school colleagues, the abundance of food (now that I am pooping solids) and access to incredible sites are making me sane in this crazy third world.
Life is not glamourous here. And I don't know why I romanticized what my experience would be like in Cairo. Perhaps the exoticism of such a historically significant foreign country appealed to me. I thought that moving away would be an incredibly healthy challenge and give me an opportunity to become my best self. I was unhappy with aspects of my life at Kimball. I felt my family unit pulling apart now that my brothers were starting their own families. I felt lost, so ironically I move to a place where I do not know a soul, I do not speak the language and I do not completely understand the culture.
With 23 million people living, working and driving in Cairo, it is difficult to breathe with the polluted air. (which becomes worse on trash burning days, but the sunrise looks beautiful amidst the smoke) Poverty is rampant. Children are unbathed, unshoed and uneducated. Piles of garbage line the streets of Cairo. Oncoming traffic never stops for pedestrians to cross the road.
Even though I feel completely out of my element, (men and women relentlessly staring at foreigners certainly heightens the isolation) I realize that I have been damned spoiled in the States. I am grateful that I am experiencing life in the developing world, a lifestyle that the majority of the earth's population has no choice but to live. To have the opportunity to view life from a completely different perspective is rare. I feel like I have already begun to appreciate simpler aspects of life after living here for only a month-a helping hand, a cool breeze, a paved road, consistent electricity, a flushing toilet.
But I will say that Egyptians certainly know how to problem solve...
The following epic photographs are courtesy of the Ex-pat WhatsApp group-Crazy World Pics
No air conditioning? Crawl inside a refridgerator and rest your head on a bag of diapers.
Too many cars in the way to cross the street? Stick your hand out and walk in front of them-cars usually stop.
Can't find a bungee cord to tie down your furniture? Place several youths on top of the load.
Need a lift to work? Hop on a motorcycle with several other men.
And remember, even if you are in a developing country, you can always travel first class.