Archive for the ‘Foreign Service’ Category

Getting real

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

At brunch

Our big news is that I got my medical clearance back, which means we can start planning our move to Liberia in December! It’s been a long time coming, and now things will start to move at light speed!

Pam and I had a great visit! We hardly left the house – our big outing was going to see “Downton Abbey” at the theatre in nearby Georgetown (it was lovely). The rest of the time we just relaxed at home and watched a lot of movies. I hated to take her to the airport on Tuesday.

My former colleague Brett stopped by Sunday after running the Marine Marathon – it was great to see him and hear about his life in Chicago.

With Brett

Tuesday night, John and I met Patt C. and his lovely wife Lenore for dinner – I hadn’t seen Patt since 1979 or so back in our Hendrix days – he is a fascinating artist and journalist (alienweeds.com). We were delighted to spend time with them!

We met our friends Rick and Claire for brunch this morning to celebrate Claire’s birthday today and John’s upcoming birthday on Tuesday – always great to see them!

Who knew “ramona” is a member of the mint family?

 

Back to DC

Sunday, October 27th, 2019

We left the lake Sunday morning, stopped by Kollective Coffee to have a farewell coffee with Chuck, then headed north to Fayetteville. We’re staying with Phillip and Michele on this trip, and had a nice dinner with them Sunday night.

See you later, Chuck!

Monday I had lunch with my childhood friend Karen – we yakked for over two hours. It’s great to see old friends, and even though we’re not in touch a lot, when we are together it’s like we never left off.

The rest of the day we visited with Pete and Ginger, and had dinner with them at the Butterfield dining room.

We caught an early flight back to DC on Tuesday, just in time for Pamela’s arrival on Wednesday! We went to see the Downton Abbey movie, but have otherwise stayed inside to talk and watch movies – a great vacation for us both. John made a delicious Indian dinner for us!

John’s delish Indian food

Lake life

Sunday, October 20th, 2019

With John

Every time John and I come to Hot Springs, we’re reminded how much we’d like a place on the lake. Our rental this time was very peaceful with a lovely view of the main channel. The weather has been perfect – we even enjoyed the steady rain on Tuesday and used it as an opportunity to relax and read (I finished “Small Fry,” the autobiography of Steve Jobs’ daughter). Otherwise the weather’s been crisp, cool, and sunny.

Mary and Lynna came down to visit Monday afternoon – we enjoyed visiting on the back deck. We always like being around them. Monday night, Chuck came over and we went out for dinner. I particularly enjoyed listening to him and John talk – they are both so smart and interesting, and share a lot of interests.

Margaritas with Chuck

Thursday John spent the day with Russ again, then they and Russ’s wife Cathie met me for Mexican food.

Ann drove down from Conway on Friday for the afternoon. We had a great time laughing and talking.

…but she won’t!

I loved spending time with David and Alison off and on all week. They had us over for a lovely dinner on the back porch last night – a wonderful way to end the week!

Selfie with David

Goodbye, Lake!

Pennsylvania to Arkansas

Monday, October 14th, 2019

John’s class plaque

Last Sunday we made the two-hour drive to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for the unveiling of John’s War College Class plaque Monday morning. It was rainy both days, but luckily it stopped for the ceremony. Afterward we had lunch with Ray B., John’s old boss in Guadalajara before heading home.

John with his former classmate Jason

On Wednesday, I walked (!) down to meet the Pink Ladies for happy hour – Tammy, Amy, Roya, Janine, Christine. It was a lovely evening, and we took advantage of the nice weather and set outside. It was great to laugh and enjoy the fresh air and good company!

Since it looks like I’ll be cleared to move soon, John and I booked a last minute trip to Arkansas. We flew into NW Arkansas on the direct flight Thursday evening, and spent Friday with Pete and Ginger at Butterfield Trail Village. Saturday morning we took the backroads so we could see elk around Ponca and Boxley – they were amazing and we were so happy to see them!

The rest of the herd of about 50 had moved farther from the road, but these two guys stuck around.

Pretty Lost Valley

View over the foggy Buffalo River

Leaving Fayetteville in the early morning fog

We stopped by Conway to say hi to Ann and Jim, and meet their darling kitten, Bon Bon. After lunch at Star of India in Little Rock (where Sami, the longtime owner, greeted John by name – something that always amazes us), we rolled into Hot Springs. We’ve rented a lovely house just feet from the water with a lovely view and covered porch. It is so relaxing and quiet – I just love it. Yesterday, John went to see his friend Russ in Mt. Ida, and David and Alison came to pick me up to  spend the day together (we’re just a couple of bays away from them). We had lunch with their good friend and neighbor PeeWee – a nice relaxing day. After all the trauma of the last few months, we’re both happy for a change of scenery that still allows me to recuperate and take it easy!

David & Alison left us a welcome basket!

Check-up

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

The highlight of the week was my doctor’s appointment on Wednesday. He wants to see me again in five weeks, but agreed I can start planning our move to Africa in December – great news. In the meantime, I will continue physical therapy to focus on building strength and walking normally. John took me to Ris for dinner to celebrate!

It’s so nice that I enjoy so many of the people I work with! I saw several of them this week when they came over to visit. Monday morning, the two new juniors officers going to Monrovia came over to introduce themselves and have coffee – they were both delightful, and I think they will do well.

My successor, Beth, spent two afternoons with me, going through our handover process. She was also my successor in Islamabad – I see a pattern developing!

One afternoon, three analysts from the visa office came for happy hour  – Kaitlin, Mike, and Amanda. We had a great visit – Mike really makes me belly laugh!

The rest of the week was focused on work and physical therapy. I walked the farthest I have yet, down to Columbia Plaza to get a flu shot. It was gorgeous, cool weather and was great to be outside for a change.