Where are you from?
Originally born in Jacksonville, Florida; raised in Zelienople, Pennsylvania; and chose Seoul, Zhengzhou, and Seattle as my urban homes.

What brought you to Cairo?
During my interview, the then director seemed to go out of his way to explain what made Cairo a less than desirable location: lack of government infrastructure (i.e. trash collection), frequent power outages, and the slowest internet in the world. All of this is true, but I couldn’t help but be inspired by the women’s stories I had read during the revolution. Stories redefining womanhood in the MENA region, and Egypt specifically.

What made you stay?
All of the above is true with the addition of the worst street harassment (verbal and physical) of any urban area in the world. There is an energy to Cairo that has never lost its grip on me even with the necessary struggles. Egypt facilitated personal growth that I doubt could have been attained in any of my previous homes.

What has been the hardest thing to get used to?
Cultural acceptance of subjugation of women.

What about your new home do you love most?
Tea in my favourite yoga gym while I practice my Arabic with the guys in the kitchen; walks with my dog in the desert protectorate less than 20 minutes from my home; the Red Sea nearly within spitting distance; twice daily views of the pyramids on my work commute; felucca rides on the Nile; my incredible group of friends, without whom I would be lost and long forgotten; and finally the depth of understanding I now have for myself and an appreciation for my personal capabilities as well as the necessary extension of this love towards others.

Is there anything you’ve learned along the way that every future expat in Egypt should know, or wish you had known before coming?
Bring mace. You may never use it, but you’ll feel safer having brought it along. I wish I had done so. Note: mace is highly illegal in Egypt.

Tell us your top 3 places to visit, things to do, restaurants to eat, whatever, in Cairo?
Osana Wellness in Maadi – delicious vegetarian cuisine, a lush garden, and incredible yoga.

City of the Dead – literally a city built among the dead…within Cairo city limits. A dearth of housing forced migrants from rural areas to make their homes in abandoned tombs.

A felucca ride on the Nile – with a group of friends and a bottle of wine, or alone with a book, a float along the Nile is a requirement when visiting Cairo.