Egyptians have a lot on their minds these days. The pound tumbles, and infrastructure withers. Sugar disappears, and so do jobs.
The way we talk is basically the blueprint of the times we're going through. It also shows you how, in spite of it all, we keep it light, and it'll get us through it all.
1. Ma'eesh fakaa
Whether you’re going to buy cigarettes from a koshk, breakfast from arabeyet el fool in the morning, you just can't get by if you don't have fakka. I went to a kiosk once and was trying to buy bottled water and the guy didn’t have 1.5 pounds change so he gave me the bottle for free.
2. El dollar gheli
Thanks to our financial crisis, one USD is now worth 18 EGP.
So it becomes to root of all our woes: “3ashan el dollar gheli”.
How am I supposed to buy the new Macbook Pro? I’m not a mathematician but the new Macbook Pro average price is about $2000 and that’s only a whopping 36,000 EGP!
3. Maa'lesh (Sorry but not really, I just couldn’t find an excuse)
You know how Justin Bieber wrote an entire song about being sorry? Any Egyptian can write a song about maa'lesh.
It's a way of life. Us Egyptians will always come up with an excuse that people will eat up and accept. It's especially useful in these crippling economic times!
I’m not happy using it and it’s not good but maa'lesh, what are you going to do?
4. El balad dee rahat khalas
Ask any Egyptian about Egypt and they’ll tell you “el balad dee rahat khalas”, then immediately follow up that a poetic statement about our problems.
5. Shoft el video dah?
Because ever since we discovered Facebook or just “Face” during our 2011 revolution, we constantly use the platform on a daily basis.
If a video goes viral, we make sure to see it because if you didn’t you’ll be constantly asked “shoft el video dah?” It helps us get by!
6. Eh el khara da!
Say the metro is overpopulated, people would probably say “el metro
zahma, eh el khara da”.
Just when you think you’re going to be boarding that next ride, think again dear friends, it’s not going to happen unless you are miraculously pushed in.
For the millions of people who use this mode of transportation everyday, I highly recommend being quick and agile and prepare to be squeezed because that’s exactly what will happen!
7. Yadeen om el zahma dee
If you live in Egypt, you already know the traffic struggles we deal with on a daily basis. We grow a little older in traffic. We even can reconnect with old friends over the phone because of how long we stay in traffic.
Every Egyptian will always complain about “el zahma el fel balad”. We’ll swear at it and even combine two statements into one: “yadeen om el zahma dee, eh el khara da”. You see what I did there? I don’t make this stuff up.
8. Yakher beit ele alamek el sawa'a
*Whoever taught to drive should BURN IN HELL!!!* Talk about road rage.
OK, maybe not that extreme. But the above statement comes in handy when one driver cuts you off in the middle of a traffic jam. Or when the driver almost hits your car because he didn't think it'd be necessary to turn on his/her signal. Traffic laws be damned.
Yakherbeit el aalamo el sawa'a fe'lan. Just got my car fixed.
When you say inshallah, all your dreams are not to far (sing
this with the melody of Disney’s “Wish Upon a Star”) and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Inshallah, not just in Egypt, is ingrained in Arab culture. Not just because it’s a religious saying but also because it literally has become our way of life as Arabs.
The beauty of the word is that it can be used following up any statement whether it is good or bad.
That’s the magic of it. Egypt’s going to get better…inshallah. I mean it has to because it’s om el dunya! Inshallah!
Ahh habibi. Everyone in Egypt is habibi. Stranger or long time friend? Habibi! Bestie or enemy; you guessed right! Double habibi!
Love can get you through anything, as they say, habibi.
We’re all habibi. Men, women, animals are all habibi because if they weren’t, how can we ever just live without that, habibi?
11. Gamed/ Gamda Fashkh
We Egyptians get excited for pretty much anything. New foods we tried ... even something as simple as describing an attractive person. There is no literal translation for gamed or gamda fashkh but in all honesty, English just doesn’t do it justice.
12. Gamed teneen (Dope as Dragon Fire)
Yes, this may not be said every day, but I mean you gotta admit it's awesome that we have a statement that describes something as epic as dragon fire? Show me a language that has that! I dare you! I double dare you!