It’s hot here

February 21st, 2021

The Deep Freeze across the southern U.S. is unfathomable here in hot West Africa! I hope all our family and friends are weathering it without too much discomfort or damage. I’ve enjoyed the snowmageddon photos, especially around Lake Hamilton – how beautiful.

I’ve talked to a few family and friends over the last week – my biweekly video chat with Jackie and Pam (we missed Ann this week), a good visit with David and Alison in front of their fireplace in Hot Springs, and a call with my friend Pam in Canada.

We had the pleasure of celebrating our friend Rick’s birthday on Monday night in a socially distanced dinner on the DCM’s balcony.

Monday was a holiday, so I was able to get in some good work without interruptions – yesterday, too. The amount of work continues to be overwhelming.

My father-in-law Pete celebrated his 85th birthday this week – happy birthday! We enjoyed our video chat with him!

Happy Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2021

Love Monsters

My colleague’s wife Ana made these amazing cookies and cupcakes for the consular section – she’s so talented!

I had video chats this week with Ann, Pam, and Jackie last Sunday and with Cousin James yesterday. Thursday was a local holiday, but I worked most of the day, as well as Saturday. The work just doesn’t stop, with lots of “taskers” from DC (reports, etc.) along with regular casework.

Mom would have been 96 yesterday. It’s hard to believe she’s been gone six years now. I miss her.

Flavie

 

To work and back

February 7th, 2021

Other than an occasional socially distanced, small gathering, life continues to be going to work and back. The Liberians have no regard for masking or socially distancing, so I’ve even limited outings to the grocery store as much as possible.

I had a good video chat last Sunday with Jamie and Jackie, and a nice visit with David yesterday. John and I have watched some good TV: “Collision” on Masterpiece Theater; “Professor T,” a Nordic crime show with a quirky main character; and the movie “Downhill,” with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. We also watched “Tenet” Friday night, but it was too much of a time traveling, violent “guy movie” for me.

I finished an interesting book, “This is Where You Belong,” by Melody Warnick. She examines “place attachment” and what makes people happy where they are living. I really enjoyed it, especially as retirement is peeking over the horizon.

It’s officially dry season here in Liberia, but yesterday the wind woke us up at 5AM, followed by a long torrential rainstorm – I’m sure the bats on the embassy compound were not happy! The wind did some damage to fences and roofs in the neighborhood- it was really unusual!

 

Vaccines!

January 31st, 2021

The highlight of the week was getting round one of the Moderna vaccine for COVID! We were thrilled that the Department of State prioritized West Africa (due to its lack of medical infrastructure) and enabled us to be some of the first in the field to receive part of their limited supply. I have to admit I got a bit tearful as I waited my turn,  thinking that maybe there’s a light at the end of this tunnel (NPR did a story on the emotional reactions to the vaccine so I wasn’t the only one).

We watched two really good movies this week: “White Tiger” and “The Little Things.” The former is set in India – it’s pretty dark but well done in a quirky style. Denzel Washington is in the latter – a good murder mystery. Escaping into movies was a good way to deal with a stressful week at work!

I had a good long chat with Pamela and Jackie last Sunday. Last night we had a relaxing, informal dinner on the balcony at our boss’s house. I felt like we were in a tree house, surrounded by greenery and the sound of the bats, with an occasional hawk swooping by. Views here on dominated by the ocean, which is lovely, but the view in the other direction made me feel like I was somewhere else.

Inauguration 2021

January 24th, 2021

I’m not sure if these are benches or sofas or what – they popped up yesterday on our street.

I was thrilled that Inauguration Day for President Biden and VP Kamala Harris finally arrived! It feels like a new beginning.

Friday night, Country Team members went to the Ambassador’s residence for a toast after he presented his credentials to the Liberian president. It was fun to actually socialize a bit again. I love being on the veranda and hearing the waves crash.

We watched a cute movie called “Quartet” this week. Directed by Dustin Hoffman about a retirement home for musicians – if you watch it, be sure to stay for the credits.

I worked the holiday on Monday and again yesterday. My to-do list just keep growing, and the demand outstrips our ability to provide services. It makes for a lot of stress. We extended a job offer for a local staff position that I’ve been trying to fill for months – fingers crossed it works out and we get a bit of help.

I’ve enjoyed today, though – drinking John’s good lattes and reading a book called “This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are.”