The girls at Bibi Mimi’s each have one time a week that they get to watch movies or television shows. For the older girls it’s Saturday night, which is an extra special treat since it means they can stay up late and be out of their home past curfew. For the younger girls, it takes place on Sunday afternoon after church.
For both, it typically takes place at the school resource centre, which is a large empty room with a 20” flat screen television in it. The girls all sit on the ground, using pillows, blankets, and chairs they brought with them to get more comfortable. Often, though they just use each other as pillows as they braid each other’s hair or watch the shows.
The younger girls watched cartoons, while the older girls had begun watching Korean television that had English subtitles, as well as Korean audio and audio in a mystery language. The girls enjoyed them, but they were certainly a bit painful to watch for Bethany and I.
I’ve missed having people over and really enjoyed hanging out with the girls this way, but decided to ask around about trying a few things. With the blessing of the staff and girls, Bethany and I put our plan into action.
I had brought a lot of TV shows for myself to watch, but no cases, so my first task was making a document that gave options. I took an hour to make a 10 page list with DVD case pictures and television show summaries and presented it to the girls. At the Saturday prayer, I asked if they made their selection. They had: “iZombie.”
At 7 p.m., I was back at the house and starting to put our plan into motion. Earlier in the day, I had made six liters of strawberry and vanilla tea, which was now cooling in mason jars in our freezer. I poured them into a large juice dispenser we happen to have in our closet and Bethany added more water and a little sugar. It tasted just like juice!
We then set to work on making popcorn. I’d read the trick was to heat the oil with three kernels in it. When the kernels popped, you knew the oil was at the right temperature. You’d add the rest of the kernels, take it off the heat for 30 seconds and then return it to the stove. It was supposed to give you perfect popcorn every time. I wish I could say – for comedic effect – that there were disastrous results, but other than being a little time consuming it worked like a charm! We made four big batches in no time.
Our house is solar powered with energy being stored on batteries in our closet for cloudy days and the night time. If the panel is green, you have lots of energy; yellow, you should be fine; and red means to worry, but just a little. This evening, the panel shown a bright red, and I worried more than a little. What if the power went out half way through the show and I had ruined the older girls’ one chance to watch television this week? What if I was responsible for huge disappointment? I was oddly consoled by the story of Hanukah. “That oil lasted for eight days even though it was only supposed to last for one,” I thought. “Maybe this will be a similar case.”
As a back-up, I was charging my laptop’s spare battery down at the restaurant. If the power ran out, we could at least watch it on my small laptop screen. So near 8 p.m., when the girls were expected to arrive, I headed down to the restaurant to get it. I suspected upon my return for our house to be full of people, but instead I just found Bethany at the table picking a few burnt kernels out of the popcorn bowl.
“I hope they know which house we were doing it at?” I thought to myself. “What if they forgot and went down to the school instead?” I felt a rush of insecurity like a child waiting for people to show up to their birthday party.
I needn’t have worried. Right around 8:30, the nearly thirty girls came up our walk in a long line. They piled into the house and onto our three couches and the two spare mattresses we’d put on the floor.
We laughed, we gasped, and we closed our eyes if there was any kissing onscreen. It was a great night overall and we plan to do it again soon! Plus the power didn’t shut off once. A movie night miracle!