One of the definitions of adaptation is, a change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment. After meeting our new friends and attending church service at the community church I started to feel like I was finally adapting to my new home.
I was learning the ins and outs of living in Cairo. I was becoming aware of my surroundings as I dodged cars, people, and stray dogs while maneuvering the uneven streets and sidewalks of Maadi. I began to pick up a few words in Arabic that helped settle me into my community. I started to believe that I could actually live here and that I might actually like it.
On January 25th my son turned ten years old. It also turns out that in Egypt, the 25th of January is a national holiday-Police Day. The kids didn’t have to go to school that day and we dedicated the day to celebrating our son’s decade old milestone. Since we’d only been in the country for three weeks we decided to have a small family dinner with cake and a few presents we brought with us from the states. It was a perfectly pleasant evening; at least it was for us.
The next day we learned that, only a few miles from our house, a group of young Egyptians were trying to change their country’s history. Egyptians wanted freedom. They wanted change. They wanted their voices to be heard. They began a protest.
Tuesday, January 25th was a normal day for us. So was Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, January 28th turned out to be anything but normal. That morning our life group from church decided to have a game day at a friend’s house. Because of the recent protests throughout Cairo there was a heightened awareness of security risks. It was forecasted that after midday prayers there would be another large demonstration in Tahrir Square so we arranged our schedules to ensure we would not be in the streets during that time. Walking to our friend’s house we noticed that the streets were exceptionally and abnormally quiet. There weren’t many cars on the streets or people walking around. Upon arriving at our destination we noticed that our cell phones weren’t working. Being in a third culture country it didn’t really strike me as too odd. The fact that all cell phones weren’t working was odd. Even more odd was that the Internet was down as well. But with good friends and good food our lack of technology did not hinder us from enjoying fellowship with each other. Not hearing any ruckus that afternoon we figured that the demonstrations must have been peaceful and we said our farewells and each of us headed back to our homes.
You know that saying, “the calm before the storm?” I believe there is a certain calm that fills the air before a storm unfolds its fury. The calm we felt the morning of the 28th was the last bit of peace we were going to feel over the next 96 hours of our lives. We just didn’t know it.