From Puerto Rico to Egypt: Caribbean Girl in Cairo
Hi! I am Caribbean girl and I was born and lived almost all my life in the small island of Puerto Rico. I am currently living in Cairo, Egypt.
1. Why did you move abroad?
Sometimes I am still surprised that I am living in Egypt. I moved because, well, it is very funny actually but really cheesy too! I fell in love with a local and pretty much my fate was sealed after that. I never imagined that Egypt was going to be my new home. The decision was not easy because I didn’t have a job offer and I was leaving everything to go to this new country, it made it even harder. Not to mention all the differences in culture, religion and customs. Being the crazy and adventurous person that I am I made the decision and I moved. I have not regretted my decision. Is been the best experience ever!
2. How do you make a living?
I work as an English/ Spanish Teacher it depends on the work and the school. At the moment I am not working because of the summer break. Egypt is a hard place to find work. I live very far away from the city and transportation is a problem. Is been very hard to adapt in working here and the current situation in the country makes it worse. The political unrest has brought a lot of economic damage and believe me a lot of Egyptians and expats are leaving the country. I guess it would be a few years before things start looking up.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I communicate almost every day. I made it my mission to stay in contact with my family and to make myself accessible to them. We are very close and my brothers and dad is all I have left. I use Facebook and thanks to my husband I also download applications like Viber and Magic Jack in which I can text for free and place calls for free also!
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Cairo?
Everything surprises me! I am in love with Egypt. It is the oldest civilization and living in this country is like practically living in a history book. The buildings here are more than 100 years old and my husband says that mummies can be found anywhere you dig a hole. I love the culture and the friendliness of the people. The food! Oh my God the food is amazing! I am already craving local food and I learned how to make a few things that I am super excited to share with my family.
I am a girl who used to live in a very small place and just the fact that Egypt is huge makes me giddy with excitement and I am ready to keep on exploring the rich history of the country.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Cairo?
I guess the language barrier. I have learned a few things but is still a shock. The writing is from right to left and honestly is totally different! Not many people speak English and if they do is not very good. Another thing is the clothes! I come from an island! I am used to shorts and flip flops and here that is a big no.
6. What do you miss most?
A lot of things! I am obsessed with food and believe me Puerto Rican food is the best! I missed it and crave it like you have no idea. I miss my family also sometimes the homesickness is too much. I have friends here but I still miss my friends from back home. I miss the holidays too.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I usually meet people from work. I do not live in an expat community so is pretty hard to meet expats and the ones that I do meet are not close to me. I have a very open mind and I embrace the country instead of criticizing it. I knew this was my new home so I welcomed it and said to myself to give it a chance and to not compare too much. My husband has helped a lot.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Well I don’t find them that strange. I do still have a hard time when I see guys in Galabeyas (is like a dress) I think that is about it. Egypt culture and customs are pretty nice. One shocker is no Christmas! I still can’t believe it. At least my husband bought me a pine tree!
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
I am actually excited to answer this question! They have NO CAMELS! GASP! Yes, you heard it, I have been living here for more than one year and half and people do not use camels at all in fact I haven’t even seen one other than in touristic places. So all the movies you see like Despicable Me, Transformers and I can go on and on. They all show the pyramids and camels and believe me is far from the truth.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Honestly is pretty much the same once you do the exchange. Grocery wise is way cheaper here in Egypt. Same with the utilities. Only thing more expensive here is the clothes.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Well to embrace the country that you are in or going to. Research as much as you can and try to make the best of it. I do believe we need to respect the traditions and customs of a country. Expats are adventurers, is not easy to be one and it takes a lot of guts. Once you do it I think is hard to go back. Expand your mind and don’t be quick to judge I have found that people can surprise you.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog on March 2012. I arrived at Cairo on January and after a few months the experience was too much and everyone back home kept asking questions and wanting to know more. I always liked writing and well I thought it will be nice to just write and share it with my family that way they knew what I was up to and enjoy a little bit of the country with me.
It started as something simple and it has turned out into my own voice. I love connecting with the people and clarifying any misconceptions of the Country and locals. I also enjoy giving my crazy ideas and recipes too.
Blog, Caribbean Girl in Cairo
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