What Egyptians Living Abroad Miss the Most (and Least) About Egypt

What Egyptians Living Abroad Miss the Most (and Least) About Egypt

Pyramids of Giza. Photo credit: Wikipedia

Leaving Egypt can be bittersweet. Like everything else in life, it has its pros and cons and can be a very hard decision to make; even though you’re pursuing a world of new opportunities, you’re also leaving valuable things behind.

From the hustle and bustle of New York to Romeo and Juliet’s Verona, we asked some Egyptians who live abroad what they miss the most and least about Umm El Donia.

1. Rafik Ramzi – Left in 2014, currently in Munich, Germany

What I miss the most: “Family, friends, and food. I miss having breakfast at arabeyet el fool and going for a late dinner of molokheyya and moza dany at Kebdet El Prince!”

What I miss the least: “The bubble lifestyle; that the rich are living in gated compounds and that the society is very layered.”

Molokheyya being prepared at Kebdet El Prince. Photo credit: Cairo 360

2. Cinderella Nabil – Left in 2012, currently in Dubai, UAE

What I miss the most: “My family and friends. I miss seeing them every other day, midnight rides, Moussa’s (my four-year-old nephew) hug and wit. I miss staying up late with my friends arguing and laughing. I miss their embrace and company when I need it the most. If I could cut/paste them here, I would. I also miss my mom; I don’t think I’m coming to Egypt anytime soon since she’s not there anymore.”

What I miss the least: “The lack of security for me as a woman, how I have a specific wardrobe for the streets of Egypt, I don’t miss the traffic, the catcalls, being defensive and ready to punch a man in the face anytime/anywhere I walk. I don’t miss losing my freedom by default. Finally, I don’t miss the hope once lost in the streets of Egypt.”

3. Waleed Mowafy – Left in 2018, currently in Dubai, UAE

What I miss the most: “Definitely my family and the gatherings we used to have.”

What I miss the least: “Without a second of hesitation: TRAFFIC!”

Traffic in Al Attaba. Photo credit: Arab News

4. Sara Ali – Left in 2021, currently in Toronto, Canada

What I miss the most: “When you’re home, you don’t need to explain yourself, how you do things, or how you grew up. It can be a bit exhausting. I also miss having really deep conversations with people.”

What I miss the least: “The lack of care for the community as a whole. I don’t miss seeing old people who aren’t assisted, people looking the other way when someone is struggling, and the trash. The trash everywhere…”

5. Mahmoud Dinana – Left in 2015, currently in Edinburgh, Scotland

What I miss the most: “Family, friends, the good weather, and the beaches, particularly the ones at the North Coast. I also miss the delicious food, like koshari, fish and shrimp, hawawshi, and fool, plus oriental desserts such as Om Ali and rice pudding.”

What I miss the least: “The chaos, the traffic, the minimum charge at restaurants/cafes, how every single place is super busy and overcrowded, how people are handling the pandemic and how careless they are, the pollution, and the lack of public parks.”

6. Omar Ali – Left in 2016, currently in Tbilisi, Georgia

What I miss the most: “My friends, the beaches, seafood, and mangoes.”

What I miss the least: “Traffic jams, car horns, having to think twice before a normal activity due to traditions and [the opinions of] other locals, and police checkpoints.”

Mangoes sold in Egypt. Photo credit: Escapade Through Egypt

7. Omar Elorfaly – Left in 2016, currently in Lisbon, Portugal

What I miss the most: “Humor. I miss humor always being a part of the conversation; the fact that you can just stop someone in the street and tell them a joke makes the connection feel humane. All the Arabs I meet here say the same thing about Egyptians: that we’re funny. I also miss wara’ enab a lot.”

What I miss the least: “The chaos, lack of discipline, and people constantly complaining about things they’re not willing to fix.”

8. Mahitab Elgamal – Left in 2019, currently in Verona, Italy

What I miss the most: “I miss my mom. I miss my sisters and I miss my dad. I’m missing the family gatherings and all the memories too. It’s always been my family, I miss them every single day.”

What I miss the least: “The feeling of alienation and the constant urge to disappear or escape. And the exhaustion of being a woman in Egypt, the sexism, the stereotypes, the street danger, the misogyny, the sexual harassment, and the social pressure. And above all, having to deal with the mental decay of a male-dominated society on daily basis.”

9. Amr Abdoun – Left in 2006, currently in Dubai, UAE

What I miss the most: “My family. Every time my wife or I get an unexpected phone call from Egypt, the feeling is not the best.”

What I miss the least: “Anything related to dealing with the government, police, army…etc., simply because it is unpredictable; sometimes it goes very smoothly and sometimes it is the worst part of my trip.”

10. Amr Abdelwahab – Left in 2013, currently in Berlin, Germany

What I miss the most: “Definitely the food – not the weird cheese- and Nutella-covered inventions, but the real deal.”

What I miss the least: “Having any encounter with the Egyptian police and generally witnessing how Egyptian women are dealing in their day-to-day life with millions of males that are ignorant of their privileges and making their lives miserable.”

11. Ali Nasser – Left in 2012, currently in New York, the United States

What I miss the most: “The beaches – be they on the Mediterranean coast or the Red Sea. I’ve visited my fair share of beaches around the world, but nothing comes close to the softness of the sand or the beauty of the reefs in Egypt.”

What I miss the least: “The insanity that is Cairo traffic. The hours I’ve wasted in a car in Egypt are enough to binge the entire Netflix library.”

One of the beaches in Hurghada, Egypt. Photo credit:

12. Noor Mohamed – Left in 2021, currently in Berlin, Germany

What I miss the most: “Aside from my family and friends, I miss the Nile. I have a lot of good memories there and even sad ones that I relied on the Nile to recover from, how I had my best times with people or alone around it. Who doesn’t love a nice walk on Qasr El Nile bridge at night or a feluka ride by sunset? I also miss that there’s always some intimate background noise at night, sometimes even from people’s homes as they leave their radios or TVs playing old Egyptian classics.”

What I miss the least: “The new cement blocks that we call buildings and bridges that lack beauty, and the concept of shopping malls as a chillout place. The culture of hitting the mall to chill is not that prominent in Europe, thankfully. People usually chill by doing outdoor activities or visiting other places. I also miss Egypt’s weather the least; I am a person who prefers winters over summer and we tend to have long summers in Egypt.”

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A writer and editor based in Cairo, Mona is passionate about providing people with a platform to share their stories. Her interests include cultural issues, mental health, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism from the American University in Cairo.

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