Why I Started Living In Egypt

I began physically living in Egypt in 1988 when I moved here with my husband and two small children. It was a two year family experiment at first, a chance for the kids to get to know their father's family, culture and language in the country that he'd grown up in, but as the second year drew to a close the family unanimously voted to stay on. Without question, we had an interesting life here with opportunities for experience unlike the opportunities available in North America and we made the most of them. In June 2000 my husband died unexpectedly after my son's first year in university in New York. My daughter had one year of high school to finish in Cairo and I couldn't imagine picking everything up and moving back to Canada or the United States. When she traveled to New York to join her brother in 2001, our home was much quieter but life certainly wasn't. The tragedy of 9/11 was a horrendous shock to all of us. For the children attending university in Manhattan it was immediate and for myself in Cairo I found myself worried much more about their safety than I ever had been before.

In 2001, the internet was well established in Egypt and I had immediately found friends and horse-owning colleagues all over the world through a couple of large equestrian email lists. They were a tremendous support when my husband died, as they had been great teachers and helpers with horsekeeping issues for me...there not being much in the way of information available here. In the wake of the explosions and all the political fallout I had many, many emails from people who were very concerned about my safety in a dangerous Muslim country such as Egypt. To say that I was stunned at the assumption that Egypt was dangerous would be a wild understatement. I explained over and over and over that the reality of life in Egypt was absolutely nothing like things presented on Fox News or CNN and that I was probably safer here than I would be in many other places. I looked all over online for articles or websites that would present a normal face of this country, but much to my surprise, I could find almost nothing.

In 2003 a friend of mine in the US sent me a link to "Where's Raed?" the famous Bagdad Blogger's site and I was delighted to read a real voice coming from the Middle East. I thought about it and decided that if he could do it, why shouldn't I try? So I did and Living In Egypt started to appear. I've been writing this blog now for seven years and have to say that there is no real organisation to it at all. It has always been about whatever I happened to be thinking about when I sat down to the keyboard. I've created offshoots with Turn Right At The Sarcophagus which is about horse keeping and riding in Egypt, the Cairo/Giza Daily Photo, and finally Da Moose Is Loose, a kids blog about Egypt. I've discovered that blogging is addictive. In the process, I've also discovered a lot of other people living in this country who write about their experiences here and I try to collect links to blogs that will help readers get a more realistic sense of the richness of life in Egypt than is presented by most of the media. Now when someone asks me why I'm living in Egypt, it's a lot easier to answer the question.