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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.

What country are you from? No really, what country. Okay, where is your father from, your grandfather? How about……………

In a lot of the stores we stop in and in some of the taxies my husband gets asked what country is he from. He tells them he is from America and they laugh, shake their heads and tell him no way. Then they proceed to name every country in west Africa until he admits to one of them. He has repeatedly tried to convince different shop owners here in Alex that he is indeed American and that his father was not born in Africa, nor was his grandfather, or his great grandfather. He even had an Australian brother try to convince one store owner and an Egyptian who had lived in America that my husband was an American and they couldn’t convince the guy. I think the problem is they don’t meet very many black American Muslims and they think if you are it is because you are an African Muslim who moved to America. They don’t seem to understand the concept of Americans converting to Islam.
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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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For all the unrest that is being reported on the news I have not seen any of it with my own eyes. Here in Alexandria there is not that much going on. Ahmed saw some protestors in Alex once when he went to renew our visas a couple of weeks but, but he said there was not a lot of people. He also saw some protestors in Tanta when he went to check out that city, which is about 2 hours by train from Alexandria, and he said that was more rowdy with a police presence. But, again, there were not a lot of people. The protestors go to certain areas for maximum impact even if there are not a lot of theme and the rest of the cities seem to move on about daily life with very little interruption. From what I can determine most of the upheaval is in Port Said, hours away from where I am and it has more do to with a soccer hooligan trial that has morphed into political unrest.


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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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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