Happy 60th!

June 20th, 2021

Pete and Ginger celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this week – congratulations! Philip and Michelle organized a lovely party at Butterfield Trail Village – we wish we could have been there!

With Philip and Michelle

This was a very busy week, overshadowed by an uptick in COVID cases here in Liberia. The Ministry of Health reinstituted some public health protocols, and we’re watching the situation closely. My office continues to update U.S. citizens in Liberia on the situation, and I also had a call with a member of Congress this week to update him on the latest here.

Late on Thursday afternoon, we got word that Friday would be a federal holiday for Juneteenth, to celebrate the end of slavery in the United States. While happy for a new holiday, the last-minuteness of it had us scrambling to rebook appointments. I worked most of the holiday, and again on Saturday, but never seem to get caught up. There’s just too much work and too little staff.

John’s section worked hard to organize our annual awards ceremony this week; they set up a huge outdoor auditorium under a tent. We were both thrilled to receive Superior Honor Awards for our work here, and were most appreciative of our boss who took the time to write the nominations for DC approval. Thank you, Alyson!

We had two fun outdoor events last night (within the new public health guidelines) – we started with a fun jazz concert at the DCM’s house. The DCM’s husband Rick Bassett, a professional musician, hosted Tanya Garnette and her accompanists for two hours of great music under the portico. Afterward, we moved to Nate’s for a rooftop going-away party for Justin and Stephanie – lots of folks had 70s and 80s themed costumes. It was fun to laugh and disco dance looking out over the ocean. Good times! We’ll miss Stephanie and Justin!

With Justin and Steph

Thanksgiving in June

June 13th, 2021

We went to a “Thanksgiving in June” dinner at the DCM’s residence last Sunday evening – it was fun, a dozen people or so. The DCM and her husband are getting ready to leave, so we were the lucky recipients of a frozen turkey in the freezer! And leave it to them to make a fun party of it!

I also went to the DCM’s residence on Thursday night for a dinner to introduce some of her female contacts in government and civil society to some of us women in the Embassy. I met some new folks and had a chance to catch up with some familiar faces. I sat with the two female Liberian senators. One won a hotly contested election in her county – she described being forced to hide alone in the bush from a country bush devil. I’m not exactly sure how to describe a bush devil – they are usually men disguised to protect their identity who mete out punishment or justice – that’s my understanding, at least. You sure don’t want one coming for you. I bought a small depiction of one last week and he’s hanging out in my office for now. If he get mischievous, I will put him in a drawer.

John and I went to our neighbors Pam and John’s for drinks after work Friday. We really like them – and they have a kitten! He’s at that perfect kitten stage where he acts totally crazy then conks out!

I had a good chat with cousin David on his birthday last Sunday, and another chat with Ann on hers Wednesday. Pam, Ann, Jackie, and I also had our biweekly call last Sunday.

Work continues to be overwhelming with too much to do and not enough time or people to do it. Our fabulous IV chief left yesterday for his well-deserved R&R so I know the coming weeks won’t be easy.

June already

June 6th, 2021

It’s hard to believe it’s June already – that means we’re within a year of moving on from here to our next post. We’ve been talking about bidding and next steps – stay tuned! We won’t see the bid list for a couple of months but it’s fun to start dreaming.

We had Monday off this week for Memorial Day. The rest of the week was pretty regular. We did a chemical weapons drill with our hoods which we had not done before – it was pretty uncomfortable but good to know how to do.

Monday night we went to Rebekah’s for a small going-away party for the USAID country director – it was nice to sit out on her balcony and chat. Friday night we watched a good movie, “Oslo,” about the Oslo Accords – really good.

Pablo and I in our hoods – the silver disc is a fan and it’s loud!

Nice to see you!

May 31st, 2021
Official photos were hung this week at the embassy!

This week sure felt a lot more normal. We had our first in-person country team meeting in over a year, I had a team meeting in my section around a conference table, and we’ve had a few social events. It’s great!

We had a couple of fun work things this week – John and I were invited to attend the promotion ceremony of one of our DOD colleagues, Jordan. We worked closely with him during last year’s evacuation flights as he ran the tarmac operations. For many of the flights, it was him, John, me, and Matt biting our nails and waiting endless hours for the flights to land and take off again.

Jordan and Matt – they clean up well!

We also had a crisis management exercise. Most of it was done via video conference, but afterward our med unit did an evacuation drill flying a “patient” out on an NGO’s helicopter, so we got to see the embassy’s helo pad in action.

Marines evacuating the “patient”
Incoming

On the social front, we went to Nate’s last night for some good BBQ and a game of Catan. His house directly overlooks the beach so we enjoyed the sound of the waves and a good sunset. Today we went to a very fun brunch at Jason and Jamie’s house – it was fun talking to some of the folks who are “new to me” even though they have been here for a few months.

Great ocean breeze and view at Nate’s

Last Sunday I had a good video chat with Ann and Pam, and today my friend Cathy in Calgary and I talked for two hours – always fun to catch up with her.

We watched “The Mauritanian” and “Georgetown” this week – both were good, but I especially liked “Georgetown.”

Maybe I found a new job!

Don’t forget the lipstick

May 23rd, 2021

After months of not worrying about lipstick, I am delighted to pick it back up again! Since most everyone in the embassy has been vaccinated, we are able to not use masks at work for the most part. We still do when we see our consular clients, but it’s so freeing.

I had a great video chat last Sunday with my former boss and good friend Nomi in Tijuana, then yesterday I did one with Tammy in Maryland (with occasional guest appearances by Scott). Wonderful to catch up with good friends.

Friday night we went to the Ambassador’s to watch “Seven Days in Entebbe” (excellent and with Rosamund Pike) – we started outdoors with the Marines grilling hotdogs, but had to quickly regroup inside when it started raining. We were a small enough group that we fit in the family living room – so all’s well that ends well.

Work was challenging as usual this week. I went in yesterday and, although I didn’t do what I set out to do, I still got things done.