Thursday, April 28, 2016

8 Reasons To Leave Egypt ASAP

I might be confronted with leaving this pressure cooker soon, and I just can't get myself to feel bad about it. Sure, I love my life around Cairo, but isn't it time to try to call it a day again? Here are eight overwhelming reasons that say "HELL YEAH" to me.

I got evicted…again!

Strike 8, that is. I have now had to move house eight times in Cairo because of various reasons. Twice my landlords decided to sell but changed their minds the minute I had packed my bags, once we got coerced into leaving due to blackmail, and now I am being evicted for having a vagina. You read that right! My current landlord apparently does not want to have a female living with my male roommates. We could be having sex which of course is none of a landlord’s business. In every other country in the world the racism in getting an apartment in Cairo would be a major issue but not here. Most places on offer are for “foreigners only” because they’re easier to rip off, true story. So now I just have to move again! At this point, I simply refuse to. I simply cannot do it again: find a place, get used to a new group of roommates who will most likely not be as awesome as the ones I had before, sacrifice another deposit and live in fear again it could happen again any minute. I simply cannot!

I lost my job

In an age where we are never going to get a permanent contract for a job I’m happy if the cash keeps coming on a monthly basis. Living in Egypt I knew that my job could go every day because there’s no such thing as a right when it comes to that. My boss told me two days before my pay check that the upcoming one would be my last, effectively giving me a notice period of 36 hours. For a long time now I only stayed for the money since, let’s face it, opportunities if you want to be a journalist, like the kind people take seriously one day, are scarce to non-existent. With the absence of the income, therefore, I can not only justify my stay by career development but I can also simply not afford it anymore.

Summer is coming

There is nothing pleasant about this fact. Summer to me, the simple European girl, is the best season: shorts, riding your bike and drinking Wine Spritz in a beer garden. In Egypt there’s no shorts, no bikes, no wine and no beer garden. On top of that, there are insufferable temperatures, a dress code that requires you to melt like an ice cube in a sauna and shower pressure that is so weak it could never rinse off all of that filth on your body, never mind you sweating again two minutes after your shower. It is a bonafide nightmare to be in Egypt in the summer, and some people might even consider taking part in Ramadan where then you are also not allowed to drink water all day, and if I am here I would most certainly do that.

Everybody is leaving, like every last person I enjoy spending time with

There was a time where I had a squad here in Egypt just like Taylor Swift. It started out pretty well: within weeks of being in Cairo I had made my friends and started dating a boy. For the remainder of the year I never once felt lonely or alone. If anything, I was always so busy I rarely had time to spend with them. This has now completely changed. All my friends have left, the boy I dated left to the military and I’m now usually at home with my cat because it’s more fun than the fun available outside of this house. There’s plenty of good people, there just isn’t that kind of squad. At the same time, finding a new posse makes little sense because for all the reasons I already named: why should I try to replace my irreplaceable group of friends from last year when it looks like I’m leaving the hood soon? That’s right, I really shouldn’t. So I didn’t. And I won’t.

Tipsy Teapot is relocating

I walked into my favorite pub in Maadi today, a big villa that serves teapots filled with substance that can make me tipsy, you put two and two together what that could be. The reason this place is so awesome is because it carries all my favorite memories and is just the most adorable place in a very quiet street in Maadi. With shock I saw a sign that read “We’re relocating!” Apparently the government found out about those tipsy teapots, so the villa where we celebrated Julie’s birthday 2014 and where I can find my bacon fix will be abandoned. With it, all the memories will go, too. And as if this wasn’t symbolic enough, the relocation sign features a telling quote: “The world is too big to stay in one place and life is too short to do just one thing!” It looks like my favorite teapots are telling me to move on…

My favorite breakfast restaurant was demolished by the government

Egyptians like to use the phrase “this is why we can’t have nice things!” when something stupid happens in this country, which is often. The few nice things Egypt has are now, more than ever, subject to a new way of destruction: the government. Since almost no business in Egypt is legitimate, or in other words legal, most places have abandoned their outside seating to avoid being on the radar. When all that doesn’t help and the government shows up unannounced with a bulldozer, like they did to my favorite breakfast place, it’s all too late. Unfortunately, they have also bulldozed a library I work in, probably because the liberal ideas coming out of that place aren’t appreciated. So everything I like is now subject to destruction for being liberal. Unfortunately, so am I.

Omar Khayyam and Foul and Falafel have become intolerable

I never liked Omar Khayyam wine, the only wine on offer in Egypt I can afford out of a total of four, but after almost two years always tasting the same (very bad tasting) wine the prospect of drinking something else is exhilarating. Omar Khayyam is a Chardonnay, which is pretty bad to begin with, and I am now so tired of it I even prefer to drink vodka. Foul and Falafel, on the other hand, are still good, but if you eat something over and over again even caviar gets bland, and I just can’t wait for a taste in my mouth that makes me say “oh wow, I didn’t expect that.” 

F*ck this stupid smoking everywhere

I wanna breathe again. Air. Clean Air. The type that doesn't smell like cigarette because 90% of the population chain-smokes and does not give a crap about whether you do or not. I want my skin to stop having pores as big as craters because I passive-smoke 30 cigarettes a day. I want to breathe... but I won't as long as I live here!

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