Archive for the ‘Foreign Service’ Category

Last trip to Suriname

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

Door, Suriname

It’s hard to believe my two years as a regional consular officer are coming to a close – what a great job! I flew last Monday to Suriname – Lordy, it’s hard to get there. Twenty-four hours in total, even though it’s not really that far away (nine hours was spent on a layover in Trinidad). I always enjoy my visits there, though – super-nice staff, ambassador, and deputy chief of mission. The small consular staff took me out to dinner Thursday night, then Friday we went to a little outdoor market for lunch.  The embassy is beautiful and new – lots of light and great art throughout. The hotel has a decent little gym and the staff is wonderful – so all in all, a good trip! I got lucky coming home and shaved four hours off the return by catching some earlier flights – only 20 hours coming home instead of 24, but I’ll take what I can get.

Wedding party at the hotel

Friday’s lunch menu

With my consular peeps

 

Finally spring

Sunday, April 21st, 2019

It seems that spring may finally be here, although we had some chilly days earlier this week. While I’ll complain about hot weather soon enough, I’m ready for the cold to go! The tulips around town are gorgeous.

Pennsylvania Ave

I had a nice dinner with Cathy this week – she treated me to a delish steak at Rare. The next night, John and I met Claire’s parents who were visiting from England, along with a few other of Rick and Claire’s friends. They were absolutely delightful and we enjoyed getting to know them.

Love the one red one in the middle

Thursday evening, we took the metro up to Maryland to the Strathmore to see a showing of the movie, “The Triplets of Belleville.” It’s a wonderful animated movie with no dialogue – just music and sound effects. The composer directed an eight-piece ensemble live while the movie played – so fun. The venue is just incredibly beautiful!

The beautiful Stratchmore Music Hall

Yesterday was busy. I took Flavia to the vet to continue getting her ready for our move this summer. In the afternoon, I drove over to a friend’s house to check on him after a nasty fall. I ended up in Falls Church at a great camera store, where I bought a new lens to take to Alaska. John made an excellent Mexican stew for dinner, and we watched “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Turnabout

Sunday, April 14th, 2019

In an odd turnabout, I was home this week and John was out of town –  he got to go to West Virginia to our counter-threat training (the fun one with the crazy driving class). I had lunch out several days with friends in from out of town for other classes, which was lots of fun (Marcy, Cathy, and Brian). Thursday night I met my boss from Islamabad, Nomi, for dinner in Georgetown, and we had a great time catching up.

Last night, we had Laura, Roger, and Ayse over for one of John’s great dinners. Laura and Roger were our bosses in Juarez back in the day. We had a great time and laughed a lot. Good times!

Cherry blossoms 2019

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

Cherry blossoms

The cherry blossoms were in full bloom this week! My friend Pam and I took a lunchtime stroll to see them, and they were glorious!

With my good friend Pam B.

Last Sunday, James and Marybeth did sightseeing on the National Mall during the day, then we all enjoyed a really great dinner prepared by John. He really outdid himself with a gorgeous rack of lamb (I love his new hobby!).  John and I went back to work Monday while they did more sightseeing, and we had dinner at District Commons. We sure enjoyed getting to see them!

With James & Marybeth

Hall of Flags, State Department with James

Our good friend Mary from Little Rock arrived on Thursday. I teleworkers that morning with several conference calls, then took the rest of the week off.  She and I walked down to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms – they are just so pretty! We went by the Martin Luther King, Korean, WW2, and FDR memorials, and topped off the day with a delish dinner with John at Ris.

With Mary

Jefferson Memorial and cherry blossoms

John at Ris, looking handsome

Friday Mary and I went to Main State to walk around a bit (our tour of the diplomatic reception rooms was preempted by the NATO conference – boo), then to the Renwick Gallery and Old Ebbitts Grill for lunch at the bar. We topped off the day with an incredible throat singing performance at the Kennedy Center by Tanya Tagaq – wow!

Incredible Tanya Tagaq

Saturday, Jimmi joined us for an encore trip to Glenstone Museum in Maryland (where we went last weekend with James and Marybeth). It was just as beautful and inspiring, and I think Mary and Jimmi enjoyed it. We were so pooped from walking that we collapsed in front of a movie at home (“The Favourite”) and pizza.

Jeff Koons, “Split Rocker” close-up – in spring it will be covered in blooms

Glenstone, forest boardwalk

With Jimmi, Mary, & John

Checking out the acoustics inside a cool work of art

Today Mary and I walked through Georgetown, up to Dumbarton Oaks Museum (we hoped to see the gardens, but they didn’t open until much later). It was fun walking through the historic neighborhood, stopping for brunch at a little French cafe, and making our way home in time to get Mary to her plane and John to his shuttle to West Virginia for his crash-bang training this week!

Tiny pre-Columbian figures at Dumbarton Museum

Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown (there are deer!)

BIG FUN!

On the National Mall. You can lead a horse to water…

 

To Curaçao and back

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

With Derek, Danice, and Sady

So I left last Sunday morning for Curaçao – such a pretty place! I stayed at my usual hotel, and wandered around downtown a bit every night.  It was great to see the consulate staff down there, including my buddy Derek who I worked with a bit in Mexico. They took me out for a yummy seafood lunch by the water on Monday.

Lovely Curaçao Harbor

I hate driving over this bridge every day!

Miss Moneypenny, the consulate’s resident pup

I returned late Wednesday night, and had to come in to Baltimore airport, due to some rerouting for the 737 Max problem.  I took an Uber home (the first time I called one for myself!), and got home in the wee hours of the morning.

The next afternoon, my cousins James and Marybeth from San Antonio flew in to see us and do some sightseeing.  We have had several great meals already, including Ris, Aperto’s, and Il Canale.  On Friday, they met John and me at the State Department and we did a neat tour of seven diplomatic reception rooms – very fancy and interesting. Afterward, we had lunch in the Van Buren Dining Room on the 8th floor – kind of a treat.

Clock in diplomatic reception room – the eyes move!

Yesterday we thoroughly enjoyed our outing to the Glenstone Museum in Maryland – WOW, what a cool place! It’s just amazing. Unfortunately, they don’t allow photos inside, but we saw some amazing modern art, including my new fave Cy Twombly, Keith Haring, Warhol, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, etc. The architecture is just out of this world! And they had a really neat audio instillation in the forest. Just an amazing place!

At Glenstone Museum

Glenstone Museum

Jeff Koons

Glenstone Museum