Archive for the ‘Foreign Service’ Category

Bermuda!

Sunday, July 15th, 2018

Gorgeous lunch view

I left Sunday for another trip to Bermuda – heavens, what a pretty (and expensive!) place. The water is so blue, everything is clean and tidy, and the men are adorable in their pastel Bermuda shorts (with high black socks, dress shoes, and suit jackets)! I flew in Sunday; Marcy and her beagle picked me up at the airport in her cute Beetle convertible. We had lunch at a lovely spot overlooking the ocean, then had a drink at the hotel pool bar while I waited for my room. One night Marcy and I walked around downtown during their Harbor Nights – they close the street and have music and vendors out, and another night we drove around the island some. Just gorgeous!

So blue!

Marcy and Freyja

The hotel is right downtown on the harbor, with yachts left and right. The owner is a modern art collector, so it was like walking around a museum with just amazing art.

Warhols of the Queen

It was a good trip work-wise, too. We had lunch one day at the Consul General’s house, and we did another consular staff lunch at an Indian restaurant another day. On my trip back to the United States, CBP let me observe their preclearance operations at the Hamilton airport (you actually clear U.S. customs in Bermuda, which allows you to fly in to domestic airports like Washington Reagan).

Click to see all of my photos from Bermuda!

Lunch out with the consular folks

I got back to town on Thursday late afternoon (I actually had direct flights to and from Bermuda – what a treat!). Friday, my old boss Pete and I had lunch with Erika, who was in town for training from our Puerto Vallarta office – so nice to see her!

With Pete and Erika

Saturday morning, we met our friends George and Melissa for brunch in Shirlington – George was in our A-100 class and we really enjoy visiting with them. Later that afternoon, we went to Maryland for a delicious BBQ at Emma and Neil’s house (where we spent Christmas). Neil is an excellent chef, and they are wonderful hosts. We sat outside at picnic tables – it was a beautiful day, and they even had live music. Neil had cooked everything from scratch, including strawberry shortcakes with homemade sour cream ice cream that was just incredible. Just a great afternoon!

Happy 4th of July

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Wow!

John and I spent the holiday in Leesburg, gaming with friends – or I should say, John was gaming while I watched – and I snuck out for a while to go to the nearby outlet mall for some shopping (waaaaaay too crowded). We had a requisite grilled burger (yum) and enjoyed the company! We got home in time to watch the fireworks from our apartment window – nice, because it was too hot to try to get outside to see them.

We saw a lot of friends this week! I had a fun happy hour after work with Amy and Tammy on Monday – always fun to be in the company of such hilarious and smart women.

Thursday we had John’s work buddies Adrian and Thomas over for dinner and a game of Catan, and on Friday we had Rick and Claire over for dinner. We finally got to meet Rick’s daughter Erin who is here for the summer – what a lovely little girl.

Saturday Jimmi hosted us for dinner at her new condo – such a nice time. Another guest is currently working in Pakistan, so we had a lot of fun talking about the “old days” of being in Islamabad – always fun to connect!

This morning I am off again for work after a four-week respite!

With little Midnight at Jimmi’s house

Clear skies!

 

Summer’s here

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

With Jim Smyle

We had a special treat this week! Jim S. was in town and joined us for breakfast one morning at the house. It’s always good for the soul to see him – just wish he’d brought Joan with him!

I forgot to mention in last week’s post that I spent my final night in Arkansas in Little Rock with Mary! We had a great time visiting and getting caught up, and it made getting to my 7AM flight so much easier – thanks, Mary!

Friday night, Caroline, our former boss in Juarez, came for dinner with her husband Harold. We had a fun time eating and telling tales. They were part of John’s book club down there, and are always interesting. It’s hard to believe we worked together over 10 years ago.

Saturday night we went to the Kennedy Center to see Judy Collins and Stephen Stills. It was a fun concert – they are getting old, for sure (Judy Collins is 79!), but her voice was still beautiful and his guitar was great.

D.C. is heating up and lots of tourists are in town, so I guess summer is really here!

Hi y’all!

40th High School Reunion!

Monday, June 25th, 2018

Senior Steps, Hot Springs High School

How can 40 years have passed so quickly?! The weekend was so much fun – there were so many people from our class, and the alumni in Hot Springs really went all out to make it special!

We started Friday night with a welcome “meet and greet” in the hotel lobby, then moved up to our hospitality suite.  Early Saturday morning, a handful of us walked the promenade and along Bathhouse Row downtown.  After that, we went to our old high school for a tour – it was so strange to be back in the halls after so long and walk into our old classrooms – so much has changed, but lots of things are still the same.  Our old Southwest Junior High gang peeled off afterwards and went to Rod’s Pizza – Miller, Sarge, Story, Helen, Karen, Jeannie, Tim, Brett, Kay G., Cindy W., Mark, et al. Miller had prepared a funny trivia contest about our former teachers and classmates that was hysterical. After lunch, Karen, Jeannie, Helen and I piled in Karen’s car and we drove around our old neighborhood. Karen’s house has been completely torn down to make way for the new junior high school and athletic center next to the existing high school.

With Helen at the stadium

With Karen at the stadium

The Southwest Gang

We had just enough time to get cleaned up and go to the big dinner in the hotel ballroom. They had decorated it so nicely, with tables of memorabilia, a photo booth/backdrop, a memorial tree to honor our deceased classmates (many of whom I didn’t know had passed away), and beautifully decorated tables. We had lots of fun yakking and listening to music from the 70s that one of our DJ classmates played.

Some of the girls

All of the girls

All of the guys!

Afterward, we moved the party to the Ohio Club until it closed, then the die-hards among us went back to the hospitality suite where we yakked more. I left at 3AM and there were still people there! We just didn’t want the night to end!

I had breakfast with Kay and Cindy the next morning (a quick bite to eat turned into a two-hour breakfast and talk-fest!), then it was time to check out and go our separate ways. The weekend was really more fun than I had anticipated – everyone was so kind and funny and genuinely glad to see each other and proud of each other’s successes.

Click here to see all of my photos.

The first part of the week was also fun-filled! Monday I went to Little Rock to attend the inspection of an investment property John and I are buying. Afterward I drove up to Mount Tabor to visit Mother’s grave – again I was struck by how lovely and peaceful it is there (and the creek was bone dry! A big change from when she was buried three years ago this week and we could barely ford it!)

Mount Tabor Cemetery

One afternoon I had my hair cut, and it’s always a treat to visit with Mike and Peggy at their salon – they’re always doing something interesting.

Thursday, my long-time friend Chuck picked me up in the afternoon for what turned into a pub crawl that didn’t end until the wee hours of the morning! We had a blast, talking and listening to music and generally having a good time. I saw him for brunch again Sunday to celebrate his birthday at Maxine’s.

Happy birthday, Chuck!

Friday morning I had breakfast with my friend Jon who was in town from New Orleans. My head was a little fuzzy from the night before (!) but we had a great conversation and visit.

Throughout the week, I thoroughly enjoyed being with David and Alison on the lake. We went for a great sunset cruise one night, ate well all week thanks to Alison’s cooking, and did a whole lot of talking and petting their gorgeous cat Buddy!

So now it’s back to the real world! This week really was special, and it was just great to see so many good friends – old friends are the best!

 

Vacation!

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

David and Alison

Ahhhh, I’ve been looking forward to this week for a long time.  I flew to Hot Springs on Saturday to stay with David and Alison for the week on the lake. They are such gracious hosts, and the lake is so peaceful. I’m so happy to be here – just wish John could have made the trip with me. He would have enjoyed the Weldon’s steaks David grilled for us tonight!

We took the boat out after breakfast and noodled in the water for a couple of hours (I’m a convert now!), followed by grilled burgers on the dock. After that, I had to nap for two hours before getting up to eat steaks. What a great day!

The work week leading up to this weekend was fine. We stopped by a happy hour Monday afternoon to see our friends from Pakistan, Rick and Sarah. Wednesday night we had a recent Hendrix grad and his wife over to talk about careers in the Foreign Service, and Thursday night our old friend TFran from Juarez days came for dinner!

In the office, I moved from a pretty isolated cubicle to one in the midst of a good group of people who I work with a lot – it’s nice to be more integrated into the office. One of the perks is being included in impromptu outings, like walking down the street to see the Washington Capitols’ Stanley Cup parade!

Stanley Cup!