A long while back when we were first researching the possibility of attending AUC we stumbled upon the blog of Patrick and Melissa Mason and were instantly intrigued. They had recently picked up and moved across the world, without knowing a lick of Arabic, so that Patrick could teach history at AUC.
We emailed them and asked a whole lot of questions. They emailed back with a whole lot of answers. And thus a beautiful electronic relationship was formed.
We've since emailed back and forth several times and it's possible that Melissa and I could be considered serial blog stalkers, bringing up each other's blogs and virtually introducing our children to each other.
"Look, Rachel!" I say while I scroll through a set of pictures, "That's Finn! He's going to be your friend in Egypt."
Today our virtual relationship became a reality. Melissa proposed an Egypt "preunion," so we met up for dinner at Bombay House in Provo, along with the Sharps, who will also be moving to Egypt to attend grad school and have a brandnew baby girl.
Andrew and I got to the restaurant first. We sat in the lobby and inspected each person who came through the door. Probably 5 different employees asked us if we wanted to be seated. We kept telling them that we were waiting for the rest of our party and that we needed a table for 6 (and three highchairs--we didn't know at the time that the Sharp's baby was too new to need a highchair).
We recognized the Masons the minute they walked through the door. They recognized us as well.
"You look just like your pictures!" said Melissa.
"So do you!" I said.
Minutes later the Sharps walked through the door. Somehow Lora recognized us as the right people. I don't know if it was because she had taken my advice and looked up our blogs or if she had taken Melissa's advice to look for a family of redheads. Either way, we all found each other.
"You're ready now?" asked the manager in a perfectly authentic Hindi accent.
"Yes," we said.
"It will be a 45 minute wait," he said quite seriously.
"Oh, okay..." we all said and made to get back in our chairs.
The manager cracked up laughing.
"Just kidding!" he said, and pointing at us, "These two have already been waiting forever! We have a table all ready for you!"
He led us into the restaurant and we ordered our food. While we waited we had a wonderful time getting acquainted. I feel a lot less stressed about moving to Egypt now that I know I'll have friends there. I knew that before, of course (it's so nice to belong to a worldwide church--I have a built-in network anywhere I go), but it was nice to be more reassured of this.
Rachel and Finn had a chance to get better acquainted after we had finished eating. Rachel was on my lap and Finn was across the table, squealing happily. Rachel must have liked that he was so loud since she likes to be loud as well. She started singing along with him.
Soon, Finn had moved onto his mom's lap and was now sitting right beside Rachel. She couldn't resist him. She started reaching out for him. Patting his hands, stroking his face, and then, after an initial ear grab, they were all over each other!
Rachel was making the coyest face while she was hugging him, but everytime we tried to get a picture of it, she'd turn and burry her face in his stomach. She hugged him repetitively, with both arms around his neck. Then they started kissing each other.
They planted some good ones, right on the lips even! Rachel certainly didn't want to let Finn go. She kept reaching for him while Melissa and I pried the two of them apart. It was quite funny to see the two of them carry on.
I think we'll fit into the Egypt branch nicely, and it's so reassuring to know that Rachel has a friend in Finn. I'm sure they'll both be good friends with Abby as well, but she's still a little young yet.
Oh, and good news! Melissa says that they have a little bit of a "yard" with a small "playground" at their apartment building that we can come over and use anytime. Hallelujah! I don't know what I'd do without at least a piece of a yard and something for Rachel to climb on. Go crazy, probably.