Dipping our toes back in

August 1st, 2021

COVID rates are declining here. Since the embassy has a high vaccination rate, we’re tentatively dipping our toes back in the socialization water. Last weekend included a local holiday on Monday, and we met a few folks at the embassy pool for a burger and a beer. Friday afternoon, the Ambassador had a small group over for a mid-afternoon happy hour. And yesterday John hosted a small group of gamers at our apartment – they had a great time and I enjoyed hostessing.

We welcomed the new USAID country director Friday night. John and I set up his house with enough groceries to get him going and met him there when he got in from the airport. I took him to the three main grocery stores yesterday and gave him a general tour around town (or as much as I could without getting lost!).

Sadly my car battery decided to die on one of the rainiest mornings we’ve had – motor pool came to my rescue, and John took care of getting me a new battery.

We finished watching “Mrs. Wilson,” which was good. We’ve been watching “Manifest,” and while it’s not as high quality as other shows, it’s an interesting premise and a no-brainer to watch!

Go Team USA!

July 25th, 2021
Evening water gathering

As I was driving home from work one evening this week, this parade of young girls carrying water passed in front of me. I’m not sure what the source of water is – sometimes around town you see wells. But everyday all around us you see people carrying water back to their homes from early in the morning to after dark.

I had a long meeting at the Ambassador’s residence on Wednesday that didn’t finish until 9:30 PM. It was interesting but really threw off my sleep schedule since I’m usually asleep by 9:30! Work was busy as usual all week. COVID numbers are declining still, so that’s good.

John and I have started putting out feelers for our next jobs. It exciting to think about the possibilities, and it’s incredibly complicated, too. I had a good video chat with the fine folks back in Consular Affairs in DC about options. I’m hoping to be able to do some kind of remote job so John can bid more broadly.

I’ve always enjoyed living overseas, but hate that I can’t just turn on the TV and watch things like tennis matches or the Olympics. I spent a good amount of time yesterday trying to figure out how to see parts of the Olympics – it’s not easy! I even signed up for a premium package that was supposed to let me watch, but it doesn’t allow a VPN nor does it allow access outside of the United States. I managed to watch parts of the women’s gymnastics this morning on a free NBC site and really enjoyed it – I’m just wishing for the good ol’ days when I could just turn on network TV and watch to my heart’s content!

John and I are enjoying rainy season. Last night he grilled us a steak and we enjoyed a coolish evening on the balcony – that sweet spot when it’s not raining and isn’t too hot. He’s been buying meat from a non-profit in town that teaches young people animal husbandry, started by an American guy.

TV-wise, we binged on “Halston” this week and really enjoyed it!

July already?

July 18th, 2021

It’s really hard to believe it’s July already! Time is moving quickly in many regards. It’s been a very rainy weekend – the sun just came out for the first time probably since last week sometime. I’ve completely enjoyed the rain – often very heavy – this weekend. And speaking of weekends, I’ve had one! For the first time since I can remember, I didn’t work on Saturday. Instead, I finished “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and started “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” (which I finished today).

John and I watched an old movie last night, “Local Hero,” that he came across somewhere – it was fun. And we’ve been laughing so very hard over a ventriloquist named Nina Conti- look for her and Monkey on You Tube. We got so into her skits that we watched her documentary, as well – fascinating (we’re adding Vent Haven in Kentucky on our bucket list…where ventriloquist “dummies” go to retire. We finished “The Valhalla Murders” and enjoyed the Icelandic scenery, and started a new season of “Unforgotten.”

COVID numbers seem to be going down here, but they are still higher than they ever were last year, so we continue to watch closely. We’re staying on skeleton staffing for now.

Morning light

July 11th, 2021
Pretty mornings

On the days when it’s not pouring down rain as I’m about to leave the house (and it’s been raining a lot!), the morning light over the Atlantic has been really lovely! I always have to go stand and look at it for a moment before heading out the door. I love that this rainy season really has been rainy – it wasn’t so rainy last year. But we’ve had many days where it’s rained for a good part of the day, and I love it.

This week was short, of course, after the 4th. We watched “The Morning Show” with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon and really enjoyed it. We need suggestions for what’s next. I read a pulpy book this week (“Unraveling Oliver”) and started “Their Eyes Were Watching God” today (gotta love the DC public library). I’m trying to read more — I really have not been reading enough for many years. Blame the internet, blame my eyesight, blame not feeling like I have enough time, dunno, but I’m trying to pick back up. I read constantly as a kid.

We’ve really had a surge of COVID cases the last few weeks here in Liberia – hopefully it will die down soon, but so few people are vaccinated. We’re pretty much back into “hunker down” mode and we’re still at skeleton staffing at work.

James and Marybeth spent the 4th at our condo in Hot Springs and sent this great photo – can’t wait to get back there!

All good things

July 4th, 2021

We were saddened to say goodbye to our fabulous boss Alyson and her husband Rick this week, as they PCS out after a wonderful tour here in Liberia. I’m so grateful to have had the chance to work with such a great boss and mentor – I hope our paths meet again. We had planned for a pizza party at our house, along with our defense attaché with whom we spent many hours at the airport last year doing evacuation flights, but COVID put an end to that idea. Instead, John and I delivered pizza, salad, and cookies to them – somehow a fitting end to our time together that has been so shaped by the pandemic.

I had a good call with Jamie and Jackie last weekend. I’ve worked Saturday and Sunday this weekend, and look forward to celebrating the 4th tomorrow with a day off. With a skeleton staff, it’s hard to catch up and we haven’t cancelled any appointments yet.

We met Stephanie and Justin on their apartment building rooftop Saturday night for a final happy hour before they head off to their next adventure in Jordan. We’ll miss their friendship and game nights! Safe travels.

Here’s looking at you, handsome!