Learn like and Egyptian: Luisa’s EVS in Egypt

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Everything started more or less one year ago, but the actual beginning was way before. I am an atypical EVS because I have lived in Egypt before I started my EVS journey, and this peculiarity is clear more than ever now that I am packing my stuff to leave, I have two years of Egypt on my shoulders, two years of clothes, music instruments, souvenirs, tickets, pictures, dust and sand. I will not bring all my luggages back home (wa al-hamdulillah), I will be soon back (inshallah), but it’s still a huge baggage, not to talk about the one that fills the walls of my brain, my soul, my heart.

This second year in Egypt has been intense, more than the previous probably, but also more gratifying. I now feel like I am on the right path, I have a clear idea about what I want to do in my life and I won’t let anyone telling me what I should do, anymore .

I now know my strengths, my weakness, my fears, my limits, my dreams, my feelings and I want to keep working on it, I want to keep having the privilege of learning and become the best version of me; I can see clearly that this is my approach to life now: learning.

Egypt will never stop to surprise me, it challenges me, it sucks my soul, it gives me everything, it raises me and then waits for me to be distracted to throw me again on the floor (“tu mi porti su… poi mi lasci cadere” sings Giorgia in one of her worst songs I have to say XD, in my opinion of course).

“But why are you staying here?” I don’t know how many times I have been asked this question, especially lately… will I ever find a right, exhaustive, convincing answer, can we explain feelings?

There is never just one answer, that’s why sometimes I got upset by verbal communication; it’s not my best skill. You would find it weird of someone that has studied languages and has also been a linguist for a very short time in her life. Sometimes I wish it could be possible to communicate without speaking, just kind of communicating with connections (kind of Avatar utopia). Words are not enough, words can be misunderstood, misinterpreted, they are not concise enough, imagine if there would be a way to make you feel exactly what I feel, only then you would understand why I live in Cairo (for choice).

Basically my answer is never the same; it is kind of the same when I start to talk about where I am from or what I do in my life; these questions are so difficult for me to answer, normally, it’s quite easy, you would start by saying the name of a city, the name of a profession… I just can’t.

I can very rarely give an exhaustive answer to any of those questions, it would take some time (that’s why I hope the documentary movie I am taking part in, will help answering to these questions); in a normal conversation, whether at a house party, in the metro, on tinder, for an interview, with a new friend or a colleague, I seldom have the time to tell everything about me. Sometimes it’s funny, I can chose the character of the day and just say that I am singer, to the person sitting beside me on a train for Luxor I would say that I am a dancer, once arrived at the hostel I would share with my Spanish roommate who made her EVS in Finland, that I am an EVSer as well. To my English lover I would say that I believe in ecology and to my Egyptian filmmaker that I don’t believe in clothes.


  • Enty minin?” (Where are you from?). It would be easier to tell where I am not from. Sometimes I come up with the most banal of the answers: “I am a citizen of the World”. Sometimes I just want to be funny and I say that I am Egyptian. I mean, it’s not a problem to say that I am Italian, but the following question is: “From where in Italy?” and I am like: “aaaaaah I don’t know! Can you just ask me something easier?”, sometimes I would like to say that I come from Mondo (in Italian means World) which is actually an administrative ward in Tanzania. “I was born in Calabria, in the South of Italy, but I used to live in Domodossola since I was 2 years old, at the border with Switzerland, where my family still live, but I left when I was 18 years old” this is the shorter sentence I came up with.


  • Bita3mily eh hena fi Masr?” Easier questions no eh? “What are you doing here in Egypt?” Ok let’s try to organize ideas and don’t forget anything. I arrived here two years ago with a mission: I wanted to make my only dream come true, being a singer! It was not easy at all, I immediately understood that I needed to build a network and also to do other jobs to survive in the meanwhile, in the process of making this dream come true. I changed so many jobs, baby-sitter, teacher, translator, singer, dancer and then EVSer which means basically doing everything, it’s like a jolly, the #everyjobyoucanimaginecard I have been an English teacher, music teacher, dance instructor, kids animator, facilitator of recycling workshops, presentor, social media admin, designer of events, coordinator, business development officer… etc. I even prepared a flash mob for the closing of the summer camp we organized.


  • “Enty 3a2da fi Masr leh?”. “Why did you choose to stay in Egypt?” Is not easy I admit it, I am vegetarian, allergic to fava beans (one of the most important ingredients of the Egyptian cuisine), I love nature, I love to walk. People (both Egyptians and not Egyptians) are always dazed for my choice. Sometimes I think I am just masochist, but I think this is a simplistic answer. Cairo is a crazy city but it’s enchanting, you just can’t be unconcerned toward it, either you love it, either you hate it, or like me you love it and hate it exactly at the same time. There are opportunities and peculiarities I just cannot renounce to it, at least for now, each year I say to myself I am going to resist one year more and then leave for somewhere else, and each year I found myself happily trapped in this challenging city full of music, art and vibrations that I love, that force me to live in the present that teaches me everyday something new while I try to grow a zen personality in order to survive to the metro, the pushing, the smog, the staring eyes, the runs against time.


But my words will never be enough: “provare per credere!” (you should try it to understand/believe it).


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