We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Fool Me Once, Shame on You...

Fool me twice, shame on me. So the proverb goes. But what about the third and fourth times? Who's to blame for those?

About a year ago we met a local couple at church. She's a musician too, and they have two little boys, the younger almost exactly Lee Anna's age. They're neat folks and we really enjoy spending time with them. The problem is that in order to spend time with them, we must first spend a lot of time waiting for them.

Last summer they invited us to dinner at their house. We were to meet them at church at 7:00, because the church kids were coming back from a week at camp, and their 5-year-old son was coming back with them. (Yes, they send their five-year-olds off to camp!) We got there at about 10 after 7, and lots of people were there waiting to be reunited with their children. But not our friends! They got their about 7:45...to pick up their little boy after a week away from home! Most all the other kids were gone already. So we hung around for another half hour as they socialized with the other folks there, then stopped by the grocery store on the way home, and got to their house about 8:30.

Then a few months later we had them to our house. 6:00 would be great. They got there at 7:30!! I had to keep reheating the spaghetti sauce for an hour and a half! Lesson learned, right?

Wrong. Just about a month ago she called again and invited us to go to McDonald's with them so the kids could play. She and Beth talked at 5:00 and said we'd be ready about 6. Then at 6 she called and said they were heading out (in a few minutes). So we waited until 6:10 and started toward Mickey D's. We got there first, and waited and waited... We were sitting in the second story window watching for them. Every 30-year-old silver-looking car made me think they were there. (There are a lot more 30-year-old silver-looking cars here than there are in the States!) They finally got there about 7:30. He ordered happy meals for the kids--with Coca Cola to drink! We usually favor something a little less caffeniated for our two-year-old. We stayed with them until about 9:45. That's over three hours of hanging out at McDonald's! Sawyer ate fries from every table in the place.

But did we learn yet? NO!! On this past Sunday night, she asked if we'd like to meet them again under the Golden Arches, and we agreed. They had something at 7:00, so she asked if 9:00 (p.m.!) would be too late for us. Well, in America we probably would have said it was, but we decided to try it. So Beth called her on Thursday about 9:00, and she didn't answer. She called back about 9:30 and said they'd be leaving in "10 minutes or so." Well, we knew that wasn't true, so we waited until about 10:00 and headed out. We got there about 10:15 and looked around...no, not yet. So we went back upstairs so the kids could play and we could watch for the 30-year-old silver-looking sedan to pull up. We visited with some of the staff, whom we've gotten to know pretty well this year.

Living in a big, metropolitan city I fully expected McDonald's to be busy at 10:00 on the night before the weekend starts. I didn't, however, expect to find an 8-year-old having a birthday party. This party was in full swing, too. There were boys popping balloons and chasing one another around and climbing on the tables.

At 10:30 we decided to just wait a little longer. We knew they'd be arriving any minute. Well, my watch said 10:55 when we finally saw them. We had a great visit, and the kids got to play and had a really fun time. Sawyer visited all the tables again, and had his picture made with lots of groups of little kids. Finally about 12:20 everybody got enough. So we, with our two babies under three years of age, got home at 12:35 from a 9:00 meeting for french fries!

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