While I am in the United States many things continue to surprise me; similar to when I had first arrived in Saudi Arabia. I was like the wild deer caught in the headlights when first arriving to Saudi Arabia and experiencing many of the customs and cultures that I was aware of but had only read about. These included segregation of the sexes; seeing men walking hand and hand in public; eating meals from shared dishes while sitting on the floor; and many more. Over time, some of those customs and cultures became familiar and comforting. Comforting because by understanding and following some of the cultures I also knew I was accepted and integrated into a large extended Saudi family.
Yet there would also be times when my husband and I had a desire for some Western experiences that would not be easily available in the Kingdom. One of those experiences we missed was our traditional date night where we would go out to dinner and then catch a newly released movie at the theatre. Because public movie theatres are prohibited in Saudi Arabia, our date night would become a date weekend with a trip to Bahrain. In Bahrain we could enjoy our intimate dinner for two gazing soullessly into each other’s eyes and then make our way hand-in-hand to the movies. Those getaway weekends are among many of the special memories I hold of the short times and life with Abdullah.
Now that I am back in the United States I had an opportunity a few weeks back to go to a movie theatre. Even before entering the theatre I wished that Abdullah were beside me. It was an odd feeling to enter a theatre without him beside me. And I know he would have been amazed and enjoyed the New Movie Theatres. In Bahrain the theatres had soft comfortable seats that we could sink into. The New Movie Theatre which I went to in America was different before I even saw the seat. First of all, it was traditional for Abdullah and I to go to the snack bar and order the largest box of buttered popcorn. To my surprise at the New Movie Theatre there was not so much as a snack bar but more like a bar with upscale snacks and finger foods. It was certainly a first for me to see that a theatre had wines and beers on its list of menu selections. And for those with hearty appetites, sandwiches, chicken wings and other substantive items were available. Fortunately popcorn remained on the list of choices. After getting the popcorn and making the way to the theatre other surprises awaited. The chairs were plush and large and swiveled side to side. There was even a foot rest for the weary feet. The chairs were also grouped together in sets of two with a round table between to easily hold food and drinks. The New Movie Theatre was much different than the ones in Bahrain. And certainly a lot different from the ones in Saudi Arabia which are typically available only on select compounds.
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