10 Things I’ve Learned as a Foreigner Living in Egypt

(Hossam Atef Farouk)

I’ve been in Egypt for two and a half years now and it’s been one hell of a transformative journey. I’ve learned countless lessons, picked up new skills and honed strengths I never knew I had before.

Here are 10:



1. How to cross the street like a boss


(Martin Roemers)
(Martin Roemers)

I’ve been hit by passing side-view mirrors, I’ve been street harassed, I’ve been tear gassed… Frogger ain’t got nothing on me.



2. How to sustain an argument/grudge/fight for ‘monthes’ and even years


This is all thanks to Egyptian men (love you!). Silent treatment? NBD. Passive aggression? Bring it, darling. And then when it comes to business? That’s the stuff true rivalries are made of.



3. How to use emotions to your advantage


This is all thanks to Egyptian women (love you!). Step one: Throw all logic and reason out the window. Step two: Smile!



4. How to take a joke



The lesson here is just don’t take yourself too seriously.



5. How to detect bullshit



Oh really, special price just for me? You’re 15 minutes away? You love Americans?



6. How to make excuses



The more creative, the better. My favorite is a dear friend who is perpetually late to every single function but always says he’s “on the way”. He tells us that he’s just crossing the street but then doesn’t show up until two days later! He always has the best excuses, some of which I’ve borrowed and used on other people.



7. How to find humor in any situation


(Hossam Atef Farouk)
(Hossam Atef Farouk)

“I suppose if we couldn’t laugh at things that don’t make sense, we couldn’t react to a lot of life.” – Bill Watterson



8. How to find hope in any situation


(Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times)
(Rick Loomis)

Probably one of the most significant lessons I’ve learned here.



9. How to let things go


(Jenny Neglerio)
(Jenny Neglerio)

Key word: Insha’Allah. You can really only stress and overthink and prepare and fight up to a certain point. After that, the chaos and unpredictability of Egypt takes over and the traffic or a joke or a protest or running into a familiar face can flip all your best laid plans.



10. Gad3ana



I can’t describe this beautiful feeling, this act, this way of life in any other way but “gad3ana”.



WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss 10 Reasons Egypt Is a Great Place to Be an Expat.