No-one tells you that it'll be this hard.
There are so many wonderful things about life in Cairo, and in so many ways I am really happy and excited still about being here, even after 5months there are so many good things and interesting happenings…. But….
It's hard every morning having to check when you get dressed in the morning that what you wear isn't going to offend anyone, overly interest anyone, be cool yet covered and not show sweat.
It's hard not making any eye contact with anyone you pass in the street, because you know that if you do it'll mean they feel they automatically have the right to 'a piece of you'- even if its just the 'welcome to Cairo', or the 'you are beautiful'…… never mind the rest of the comments- or kerb crawling….
It's hard always having to have enough small change for every taxi journey, knowing that you'll probably still end up having the same argument as always- you knowing you are already paying more than an Egyptian would, but the driver still being dissatisfied with that, thinking that you, as a tourist, have so much more money than them.
It's hard being comfortable with the fact that my elevator sticks midday between floor 16 and 17…… and remembering always to have my mobile on me – just in case!
It's hard persuading Egyptians that yes- a Scotswomen can dance (obviously not hard if they actually get a chance to see me!!!!)
It's hard remembering that woman cannot live by chocolate and water alone…. But I certainly try!
It's hard remembering to drink triple the amount of water I would at home.
It's hard remembering not to say please and thank you all the time- even in Arabic. People here tell me that it is always really obvious spotting the British tourists / ex-pats, because we are too polite!
It's hard seeing my only nephew, Sam, grow up over MSN and not being able to hug him.
It's hard being away from Khalid- Thank God for MSN.....
It's hard living alone for the first time. Although I haven't read as many books ever in my life- always a plus side.
It's hard refusing work- but I have to- so many people want me to teach and I am so frightened of getting myself into the same pattern of life as at home with classes so filling my days that I have no time to improve me… 4 classes per week at the moment- plus privates….
It's hard going to Arabic class everyday, spending a fortune on classes and feeling that my Arabic is improving only in crawling steps- often going the same directions as wee Sam- ie backwards!
It's hard learning by rote- apart from maybe the alphabet and then my times tables at school I don't remember having to learn anything ever by rote- but the lists of verbs and all the conjugations drive me up the wall!!
It's hard continuing to speak Arabic to people when they continue to answer you in English. Thank god for Ahmed and Mohammed- my taxi drivers who help me and correct my grammar very patiently!
It's hard not being in control- at home if I want something done I do it. Here in Egypt, there is so much waiting around for other people to come through for you.
It's hard just waiting- they do it so well here- sitting around for hours. They get so surprised and amused when you lose your patience
It's hard learning to distrust everyone- or at least to take EVERYTHING that’s said with a pinch of salt…. So many broken promises. I hate becoming so cynical and having to wait until my patience increases!!!
It's hard meeting women. So easy to meet men, but after spending 9 years teaching full time and being surrounded by hundreds, literally, of women every week feeling alone so much of the time is hard. Miss all my girls!
It's hard having to be waxed, filed, and made up etc etc all the time. Image is everything here, unfortunately.
It's hard performing in a wig, outside, when the temperature is over 30degrees even at midnight- like wearing a woolie hat and scarf to sunbathe in!
It's hard justifying all the money spent on new costumes when I still do not have a regular contract for work- I'll put on some photos as soon as I get them!
It's hard dancing less….. both time wise here- after so many teaching hours in Scotland and performing all the time at Walima etc just physically less hours here, but also when I do perform to remember that it is an Egyptian audience not a British one- less moves, more attitude!
It's hard not to get totally chuffed and excited when Egyptians in my audience (esp. when its women making the comment!) compliment me on my dancing and assume I must have Arabic parents at least….
It's hard not being able to be totally open about my work here and the situation I am in….
It's hard even getting near the red tape never mind breaking through it.
It's hard to believe I have been here so long already and that my original time limit is almost up….. I'll be here now probably until at least next April- i.e. a year instead of 6 months!
It's hard ending this list…………………………..and have any of you who have managed to get to the end of it, appreciate that I am still very happy here, and want to be here and am so glad I have had this opportunity!
I'll do a list with more of the good stuff next time!!!