Monday, November 23, 2009

From our dinner table…to yours

Our friends Jaehee and Aden came over for dinner last night—they brought stroganoff and a salad. Karen made a jello salad and some buns to go along with dinner. She also made apple crisp.

Aden refused the jello salad on the first go-round because, he said, he wanted to save dessert for later. We informed him that the jello wasn’t the dessert.

“Wait!” Jaehee gasped, almost dropping her spoon, “There’s more?!”

Clearly dinner at the Williamson residence is much like dinner at our home bez* Karen. Thinking up a whole balanced meal is a chore and our husbands come home so late in the evenings that we end up eating quick and easy things…like oriental noodles.

I poked fun at Jaehee for her comment (there’s more!?) but when dessert was brought out and Karen presented us with a big tub of Cool Whip it was my turn to gasp in surprise (and almost pee my pants with excitement).

“You bought Cool Whip?!”

Prior to this moment I didn’t know how very much I enjoyed (and apparently missed) Cool Whip.

But, I digress. I meant to be talking about dinner and accidentally skipped over it to dessert—don’t you hate it when dinner is skipped over for dessert? Personally I don’t. But that could just be me.

We were talking, during dinner, about the future—what we were going to do post-Egypt, what the Williamsons were going to do post-Egypt, how many kids we were planning on having and when, that sort of thing. Jaehee wants to have children but she’s also in the process of applying for dental schools. Aden said, half-jokingly, that he’s not sure how they’ll fit both children and dental school into the picture.

“Just go through dental school really fast,” I sarcastically advised Jaehee, “I hear it’s a breeze.”

Without missing a beat Rachel added her two cents. In all seriousness she looked at Jaehee and suggested,

“Just eat a cucumber.”

She tries so hard to keep up with adult-conversation but isn’t quite able to yet. Luckily it provides us plenty of laughs. Eventually she got bored with trying to follow the discussion and announced she was done. She hopped down from her spot and started prowling around the table, peering up at each plate.

The minute she saw someone’s plate empty she’d come up to them and ask sweetly, yet very earnestly,

“Are you done yet? Play with me!”

Somehow we eventually got her to go play on her own—I’m not sure how, truthfully—but it didn’t last for long and we all landed in the play room to finish our conversing.

Rachel didn’t end up in bed until after ten o’clock and didn’t fall asleep until midnight.  It was a rough night after that. I vowed to myself that I would have her in bed on time tonight, but alas…the best laid schemes o' mice an' men…we decided to go out on the town.

I needed some yarn and some thread so we went out across the tracks to the yarn store. Then we decided to stay out for dinner at Bua Khao (where Rachel screamed at the waiters every time they cleared anything, “HEY! That’s mine!” Eventually they just stopped clearing). Then Karen treated us to ice cream on the way home. It was at the ice cream parlour that we first noticed the time.

“It’s 8:45!” Andrew exclaimed, “We need to do Family Home Evening, stat. You have the lesson!”

I sat and thought for a minute and then suggested that we go around the table and say something that we’re grateful for, it being Thanksgiving and all.

“I’m thankful for Grandma…” I started.

“You stole mine!” Andrew interjected.

“…Because it’s been so nice to have her here to play with Rachel, keep the house clean, and take care of us while I’ve been…sleeping.”

And it’s true. I’ve been doing a whole lot of sleeping. And I stole Andrew’s thankful idea, so he took the next easiest.

“I’m thankful for Miriam,” he said, “Because she is such a sweet baby and we’re so happy to have her in our home. What are you thankful for, Rachel?”

“Miriam,” she repeated his idea.


“Because she’s in our family now.”

“Okay, good. Ask Grandma what she’s thankful for now,” Andrew prompted.

“Grandma, are you thankful for your rabbits?” Rachel asked.

We all stared at each other and giggled a bit before Grandma said,

“Ummm, yes. I’m thankful for my rabbits.”

I told Grandma that she had to choose something else to be thankful for since it was really Rachel who came up with the whole rabbit thing (and how she did it we don’t know). So Grandma said, “I'm thankful to be in Egypt with [your] wonderful family and for the chance to get to know [you] better. I feel useful, needed, and loved.”

(She makes it sound like we’re doing her a favour, but don’t be fooled—we’re the lucky ones!)

And then we rushed home to put Rachel in bed. She and Andrew screamed and yelled halfway home to “get out” Rachel’s bedtime screaming before we got inside the house. Because she had screamed outside she wasn’t allowed to scream after we put her to bed. That was the deal. And she didn’t break it.

Instead she growled.

*without in Russian, but it’s in my own personal colloquial English.


  1. You crazy kids and your jell-o on the side schemes :)

  2. where is that Bua Khao? what do they serve?
    24 November 2009 at 15:25

  3. They're across the tracks, kind of by the flyover...No. 9 Road 151, Ma'adi. It's a Thai place run by a Thai woman who flies ingredients in from Bangkok (cue Murray Head), and it's divine, and not too expensive, either (much less so if your mother-in-law buys).

    The #9 special is our favorite--the spicy crispy ginger cashew chicken...or something like that...also, their fresh lemon juice is good.

    Lydia Penrod's fav. store (or one of them) is in the basement.... See More

    Anyway, I suggest you try it.

    And if you're looking for yarn ever, it's like a five min. walk from the yarn store.
    25 November 2009 at 17:56

  4. thanks.... I really appreciate your help, sharing all your knowledge of Cairo :)
    25 November 2009 at 22:38