My love affair with Egypt started before I was a twinkle in my father’s eye. My grandmother loved Ancient Egypt, when that started I don’t know but when my Dad was in the army in Egypt in 1946 he bought her some souvenirs. So we are talking a long time! When I was 9 years old we were visiting my grandparents for Christmas. We lived down south and they were in Manchester so we stayed with them. Of course there was little to amuse me like there would be in my own home so my grandmother gave me a book on Tutankhamen to read. I was riveted, he was 9 I was 9, and I devoured every word. I was a great reader. On my 10th birthday 1965, I was given book tokens and used them towards buying my own copy of the same book. Every birthday and Christmas from then on I would often get a book on ancient Egypt. So when I was around 14/15 I said I wanted to live there. When my parents died I would sell the house and go and live in Egypt until the money ran out.
Egypt continued to be a theme in my life. Aged 17 my dad and I went up to big bad London to queue for 5 hours to see the Tutankhamen exhibition.
Then in 1979 I made my first visit, my father’s boss told him about a tour his sister was organising. You can read about this holiday in Jane goes to Egypt 1979. Although I loved all the ancient stuff I now fell in love with modern Egypt. Nothing can prepare you for the sounds, smells, noise and bustle of Egypt. It was amazing and even more I wanted to live there but this was an exotic dream.
I visited Egypt several times and in 1988 I met my Syrian husband Ayman Akshar who was supposed to be teaching me Arabic so I could be part of the mission team to Cairo. We were both part of a cult at this time see my book, “Counting the Cost“. We left the church but did visit Egypt together.
I visited again with my daughter and that was an amazing experience, there is nothing like a child to give you entrée into Egyptian hearts. An Arabic speaking child means you will meet everyone! We had a fab holiday with our guide Mahmoud.
Then it was back to reality and Ayman’s continuing illness and eventual death from cancer. After he died I thought about a life with more Egyptology I was going go to university and be a single mum as continuing with my career was obviously not practical.
Then Amira and I went on holiday to Egypt again and met Mahmoud again. Eventually I ended up marrying him much to my surprise. Again I go into all this in a lot more detail in Counting the Cost.
Then we had to decide where we were going to live. I had seen how hard it was for Ayman not being able to get a job, becoming a househusband. Did that even kill him, not being a proper man and able to support his family? So I decided I would move to Egypt. I had always wanted to live there, Mahmoud did not want to leave and I felt we could have a better life in Egypt. I was right Mahmoud became a successful property developer and our tourism business Flats in Luxor became a big success. A diary of my first year is published as Jane’s Jaunt.
Now looking back after 10 years, 2 revolutions and no tourists did I make the right decision? You bet I did, Egypt is a wonderful country with a bright and brave future and I am happy to contribute towards it. OK it’s a bit challenging at the moment, our income has dived hence all my book writing to survive but so much better than the UK. No commuting, ‘elf and safety, red tape. The social structure is much more supportive, you are part of a community.
Much love Jane
Now go and buy a book, I need the money ROFL
Have you seen this video, this is the youth of Egypt. I am so happy to be part of this and to help these wonderful people.
And these are the adults, beautiful, this my Egypt. BTW Jihad means my struggle, it might be someone’s Jihad to give up smoking, or to lose weight or stop gambling. It does not mean a terrorist war, just what you struggle with to be a better Muslim. It is a phrase that has been hijacked