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Utah teacher safely returns from Egypt

By | Posted - Feb. 4, 2011 at 8:30 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Teresa Allred was back on U.S. soil Friday afternoon and in the arms of her mother this evening.

The embrace between mother and daughter at Salt Lake City International Airport marked the end of a turbulent few days of Allred trying to safely escape Egypt and Patti Godfrey wondering if her daughter had been successful.

It's so good to be back. It's so relaxing after two weeks of high stress.

–Teresa Allred


"It's so good to be back," Allred said after hugging family and friends who were waiting for her at the airport. "It's so relaxing after two weeks of high stress."

Allred had been teaching special education for the past six months at the Modern English School in Cairo. The recent civil unrest in Egypt led to the school's temporary closure and moved up Allred's planned trip to Utah to introduce her family to her fiance, fellow teacher Mark Watson.

"We're really looking forward to having him here," Godfrey said, her arm around her future son-in-law. "It's just under sad circumstances that we'll have a little extra time with him."

Godfrey, who lives in Murray, said she was both excited and relieved to have her daughter home safely.

"As soon as I saw the first news reports (of civil unrest in Egypt), I started worrying and wanting to get her out of there," she said.


It's been nearly two weeks since protesters in began calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down, resulting in street battles and violence.

Allred said she was shopping at a mall with a roommate when people starting running around and shouting at them to go home because a curfew had been put in place.

Allred stayed at her apartment for about a week before returning to the school, where it was determined to be more safe. There, she received food and lodging for about a week and then assistance in getting to the airport, she said.

Allred and Watson spent more than 24 hours at the airport because the curfew would have made it difficult to get to the airport in time for their flight. As it turned out, that fight was canceled, and the couple began scrambling to find another way home.

Watson, who's from Ireland, received assistance from the British Embassy and ultimately secured the couple a flight. They arrived in Chicago about 2:30 p.m. MST, and they were on the ground in Salt Lake City about 6:45 p.m.

Allred called her mother from Chicago to let her know that she had made it safely out of Egypt.

"I was so happy," Godfrey said. "I was so glad to hear from her. (Before that call), I was thinking, 'She could still be in Cairo for all I know.' Not knowing has been really hard."

Allred and Watson's return to Cairo also remains an unknown for the time being. The school is tentatively scheduled to reopen Feb. 20, though that date could be pushed back, Watson said. The couple had been planning to leave the school this summer.

"If it reopens, we'll go back," he said, then quickly adding, "if it's safe."


Story written by Jared Page, with contributions from Alex Cabrero.

(Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)


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