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We have spent almost 4 months here in Alexandria and the realty of what we have experienced has not met with expectations. Even though I reminded myself to keep my expectations within reason, and I thought I had, the reality of the situation here just did not match up. There are many reasons for that and I believe that the political and economic situation has contributed to a great degree. We have diligently looked for an apartment for 3 months and have been unsuccessful. We had certain criteria that needed to be met in finding a longterm living situation, and because we are living off of savings and did not want to work we had to make sure we did not get ourselves into a bad situation that would lead to us loosing money.

It is important when on a budget to try to make the best decisions possible financially. We made istikkaarah and dua and really looked for a good situation. Al hamdulillah, we are not displeased with our situation. We learned a lot being here in Alexandria. It was a good experience for us to have. Not many people get to live in a different country at all, so 3 months being somewhere different and new was good. It will prepare me for the next time, inshaAllah. I will be more confident should we decide to come back to Egypt and better able to cope. I won’t have to deal with the shock of being somewhere so different from home.

So, we are preparing to return back home to the US. Not with heavy hearts but with more information and a better understanding. Whatever happens next I’m looking forward to unpacking and hanging my clothes up somewhere!

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It has been almost 3 months since our arrival here in Alexandria, Egypt. We have had plans and plans change. Recently we had another plan change and Allah knows best, we are hoping this is the last one. We had a great master plan before we arrived but things haven’t gone as expected. We ended up not liking the neighborhood we moved to in order to attend a specific Arabic language school, and no matter how we looked at it in the end we decided that we would not be happy for 2 years there and then started looking at other places.

I thought by now I would be planning the final stages of a move to Tanta, a city about 2 hours from here, but looking for apartments in Egypt is a test in patience. We could still move to Tanta if we wanted to. There is an apartment there that Ahmed likes the look of, although it is on the 5th floor with no elevator. But there are other draw backs, besides the obvious of walking up 5 flights of stairs every day. The mobile phones don’t work inside so you have to stand on the balcony to get a decent reception and the owner of the building doesn’t want to let us put a phone in so we can get wired internet and boy did he make a big deal about that. They do a lot of splicing of internet around here. One person gets internet and then people pay him and splice into his internet. This guy had some kind of scheme like that in mind from what we can tell and that was a bit of a sticking point. If you have spliced internet you have no control over it and it is going to be slow because so many people are connected. That was the biggest issue and we don’t know if the internet sticks (satellite) or working off the mobile phone hot spot will work there because phone reception is so bad. So, overall if we can find another internet source we can return back to that plan, but after going back and forth with the guy about a phone line the happy feeling we had about the place has evaporated.

We are of course on to the next plan, because other than that we would be on a plane home. I’m determined and I’m keeping Ahmed determined that we are going to find a place to our liking and get settled and get to Arabic class, Insha’Allah.

One thing that is really making my head spin is that while looking for apartments Ahmed has run into so many of them where the inside walls are painted purple or pink. I don’t know why these men are painting bedrooms and living rooms purple and not soft purple either. These walls are bright pink and dark purple. They don’t match the floors to the paint colors and then get upset when you ask to paint after you move in. They say things like, “It’s nice, why do you want to paint.” Meanwhile Ahmed is looking at an apartment with purple and pink walks and brown and tan floors!

We think that purple paint must be the cheapest at the store and building owners must be buying it by the ton. Because honestly I didn’t know any grown men before I moved to Egypt who thought that painting his house pink and purple was a good idea. If anybody knows the story behind all the purple paint I’d love to hear it.

DSCF0870 We drink bottled water here in Alex and what we have been doing is buying two 6-liter bottles each time we purchase and that will usually last us for about 7 days, depending on how much we are drinking. For the last 4 or 5 days we have not been able to get our normal brand of water, we like the Baraka brand. All the stores in the neighborhood have been out and at first they were telling Ahmed they would have it later that evening or the next day.
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Things have settled down for us in Alexandria. It is mostly the mundane everyday things like cooking, cleaning, and fighting the mosquitos. No school as of yet but that is coming, Insha’Allah. I’m sure after we get settled and start classes things are going to be very busy for us. I’ve seen more of the city and it is official, I like every neighborhood more than the one I came to live in! I’m getting more used to Mandara, but we decided to move anyway Insha’Allah.

We are shopping at the local stores and the community grocery store here in Mandara more. I’m cooking again regularly which is a good thing. I just discovered a neighbor has a great blog called Makin it in Misr where she describes how she makes substitutions with what is available locally to cook what her family likes. I plan to read her blog and make use of her great ideas.
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my bag

I had to rethink what I carry in my purse for outings here in Alexandria. The first few times I didn’t take anything and just put my phone in my pocket. I learned the hard way that that just wouldn’t work. So I rummaged through my luggage, because we still are not unpacked, and now I’ve got my cute cross body purse that I can wear and it is secured across my body instead of just on the shoulder. It is not heavy and I can get all the essentials in it. So, what’s in my bag?
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Yesterday was a really good day for me and Ahmed. We had a good adventure for a change. We are still on the apartment hunt and had plans to view an apartment in the afternoon. But, before we went on the apartment hunt Ahmed wanted to show me some little bakeries that he found on the other side of our neighborhood. We walked down an ally and ended up on a fairly large street that was full of people and stores. The entire street was busy. I kept getting strange looks and I knew it was only a little bit attributed to our being new in town. My jalabiya (overgarment) was so wrinkled I looked like no one loved me. I have not see 1 Egyptian woman walking around as unkempt as I was yesterday. They are all put together and freshly pressed. We are trying not to buy a lot of things because we will probably be moving and we already have 6 large suitcases to move so adding household items is just going to burden us more. The place we are staying in does not have an iron so after I wash if things come out the washing machine wrinkled they are staying wrinkled!
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Yunus 10:18

And they worship besides Allâh things that hurt them not, nor profit them, and they say: "These are our intercessors with Allâh." Say: "Do you inform Allâh of that which He knows not in the heavens and on the earth?" Glorified and Exalted be He above all that which they associate as partners with Him!

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