Home leave is fabulous!

August 14th, 2017

Can we do this every day?!!

The cars made it!

The cars made it!

Jim, John, and Ann

Jim, John, and Ann

With Ann

With Ann

John

John

With Cathy, my Foreign Service bestie

With Cathy, my Foreign Service bestie

David

David

Alison

Alison

With David and James

With David and James

With Leslie

With Leslie

Lynna

Lynna

With Mary

With Mary

Marybeth, Patrick, and Alison

Marybeth, Patrick, and Alison

Home leave 2017

August 6th, 2017

We did it! We arrived in Hot Springs Friday afternoon. David and Alison picked us up at the airport and brought us to the lake house we’re renting. They have been lifesavers – they’re loaning us a car until ours arrive, they brought us homemade lasagna for dinner, stocked us with other basic food supplies, and they put together this great baskets of goodies with things we will need (paper towels, detergent, etc.), as well as fun things like cat toys and bubbles to blow while we’re sitting on the porch. Thank you so much! What a great welcome home!

Goodie basket from David and Alison

Goodie basket from David and Alison

Flavia did great on the trip. That is always my biggest stressor, but everything went without a hitch. She even got to go to the Centurion Lounge in Houston. And she’s adapting well to the lake house.

Yesterday Pamela came over and spent the day. She and I went to McClard’s for lunch, and then we spent the rest of the day on the porch, yakking and watching the world go by. The weather was in the 80s with a nice breeze – this morning it’s stormy, which I love.

Our last few days in Guadalajara were pretty nice. We went to the VIP theatre last Sunday to see “Planet of the Apes.” John’s boss Ray took us out for a nice steak dinner on Tuesday at one of our favorite restaurants, and John and I made a final trip to Corazon de Alcachofa on Thursday.

I helped teach my last English class on Wednesday. Saying goodbye to the guards was really the hardest. I got to know many of them, and they’re just so nice. The class brought in a cake to celebrate – so sweet.

English class

English class

Katana, one of my favorite guards - he writes beautiful poetry!

Katana, one of my favorite guards – he writes beautiful poetry!

My team brought in lunch for my last day, and even Ale who is out on maternity leave came to say goodbye.

So there you have it – three years wrapped up and we’re on our way to the next adventure – but first, a relaxing two weeks on the lake and the chance to see family and friends!

View for the next two weeks! Stormy this morning.

View for the next two weeks! Stormy this morning.

Hanging with Muffy

Hanging with Muffy

Countdown

July 30th, 2017

We are in the countdown to leaving and are getting pretty excited. Last Sunday we went to David and Suzy’s house for the afternoon and met their baby. We really enjoyed getting to know them, and John especially enjoyed gaming with David.

Yesterday we spent the day with three other older couples and had a lovely time. We went to Janet and Paco’s house for chiles en nogada, a classic stuffed chile with a creamy walnut sauce and topped with pomegranate – the colors of the Mexican flag. Since pomegranate is in season now, now is the time to make them and they are delicious. Their house is lovely, especially Janet’s extensive backyard garden – just beautiful. The day was filled with excellent food and conversation.

I spoke to the incoming medical school class on Monday – one of the universities has a curriculum just for American students, so I gave a short talk about what the Consulate does and basically told them not to get arrested. It was fun to get out of the office.

We went to dinner at La Matera, one of our favorite restaurants here, on Friday after work. I love sitting on their covered porch, especially when it rains because it’s very pleasant. Well, it rained! It was one of the hardest rains I’ve seen here, plus about 15 minutes of hail, too! We had a devil of a time getting home because all the streets were flooded, but eventually we made it!

Here’s a photo of my team at work – we were saying goodbye to a co-worker visiting from the Vallarta office.

ACS team

ACS team

…and it’s done!

July 23rd, 2017

Towards the end

Towards the end

After three days of packing and loading, all of our worldly possessions are now gone! They even took our cars on Monday, so we’re living out of suitcases and taking taxis everywhere – it’s fun! Of course we have our basic furniture that the Consulate provides, plus they give us a kit of items to use until we leave, like sheets, towels, a few plates and glasses, etc. It’s a little like camping, but nice to be able to stay in the apartment.

The move now feels very real, and we’re getting excited. I’m trying to wrap up things at work – luckily my successor is already in place and taking over daily operations, leaving me to write final employee evaluations, etc. I’m also covering for both my boss and his boss, so I’ve got my hands full.

Monday evening we finally added a painting by Victor Hugo Perez Farias to our collection – we are so excited to welcome “La NiƱa Invisible” (The Invisible Girl)!

With Victor Hugo Perez Farias

With Victor Hugo Perez Farias

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon yesterday with some friends – the goodbyes have begun!

Loading the lift vans

Loading the lift vans

Moving day approaches

July 16th, 2017

John Bell and Kevin Kresse artwork ready to go!

John Bell and Kevin Kresse artwork ready to go!

We’ve been busy all week getting ready for the movers. It’s a Herculean effort to sort everything – plus we are trying to get rid of unused items. We’re exhausted but everything is coming together – wish us luck!

I was very sad to say bye to my great boss Pete on Thursday. He keeps reminding me that we’ll see each other in DC, but still! I have so enjoyed working with him. He’s kind, funny, smart, and always had my back.

I’m going to miss you, Guadalajara – your perfect weather, great food, and great people!

Guadalajara sunrise

Guadalajara sunrise