When Brandon and I lived in Cairo last, we were newly married and had no children. After staying cooped up in our apartment all week, Saturday would come and I would suggest an adventure. There are plenty of things to see in Cairo; people fly from all over the world to see them.
Brandon would grumble and reluctantly acquiesce, and I would expertly plan an outing to somewhere interesting. Without fail, twenty minutes into our adventure, we would look at each other and exclaim, "Why did we think this would be a good idea?!?" Brandon would then remind me that he didn't think it would be, and I would apologize. And then the next week we'd do it again.
When we came back, we had two children, and now we have three. Going out in public with three children under the age of five is difficult in the states. Someone usually has to go to the bathroom, Edwin can't walk, Sophia doesn't want to, children want to wander off, and everyone gets bored.
Living in Egypt makes everything at least five times more difficult, and going out is no exception. And so we just haven't bothered.
Yesterday was Christmas, and so today is a holiday. Holidays are sacrosanct, and to be used for doing things that we don't normally do. I've always enjoyed all of the movie-watching around Christmas, and decided we should have an outing to the movies.
The last time we took our children to a movie was in 2008, to Indiana Jones, at the dollar theater in Provo. Brandon spent a quarter of the movie outside with screaming baby Sophia, and we haven't been back yet. Now that both girls can talk and Edwin is capable of staying up past his bedtime, I figured that we'd be okay.
We decided to see Tangled, and found that the closest movie theatre it was playing in was City Stars, an enormous mall about 45 minutes away in Heliopolis. I had been there five years ago, but we hadn't gone because of the trouble and expense. Being the merry-maker I would like to be, however, I thought we could make an afternoon of it and eat dinner at the food court, stroll around, and pretend we were in the US.
I called Ayman, he met us promptly at 2, and we headed off on our big adventure. We have had various holidays but this was by far the most adventurous. The girls were excited, Edwin was mesmerized by the weaving traffic, and I was looking forward to spending some time amusing ourselves.
By the end of our 45-mintue ride, the girls were antsy and ready to be out and doing. As we pulled up to the mall, Brandon's phone rang. The sound of his phone ringing, especially on a holiday, is unusual. Nobody call us much, and most holidays it's Samir, Brandon's Egyptian boyfriend. Thankfully Brandon is not on duty this week, and so it wouldn't be anybody calling about their 'phony' drug charges.
Brandon talked as we got out and wrestled the children to the sidewalk. He mentioned that it was a friend from the branch, and so I thought perhaps it was a situation with a branch member. I felt sorry for the friend, because he was going to have to deal with the situation alone. We were in Heliopolis, we were having a family holiday together, and we were going to see a first-run movie in a big, nice, new movie theatre. And we were going to get popcorn.
As he put his phone away, Brandon looked at me, unhappy. "There's a situation at the Embassy. I've got to go to work."
And so the girls are playing out front, I'm writing this blog post, and Brandon's at work. Happy Boxing Day.