Archive for the ‘Foreign Service’ Category

Sofas and things

Sunday, March 7th, 2021

There’s a doorway across the street from us that I guess leads to an upholstery shop, because often there are sofas and chairs in an array of colors  on the sidewalk. The other day, I saw a truck carrying a loveseat unlike anything I’ve seen: it was white with gold trim, and the back of the loveseat was about four feet tall – very throne-like. It made me wonder whose house it was going to.

Across the street from the sofa place are several small houses/storefronts with an alleyway that leads down into a little neighborhood. There are always a lot of people sitting on the sidewalk talking, and usually several babies crawling around their feet. For a while, there would be a woman bathing her toddler son in a plastic tub as I was coming home from work. Often there will be a line of used appliances for sale on the sidewalk. Sometimes it looks like one place is serving food. There’s usually a table with two or three folks playing a board game of some sort. Lots of activity for a 60-foot space.

For those of you who remember how much trouble I had trying to bend my leg again after that bad break in 2019, look at this! I can cross my legs and get about 95% into a yoga baby pose – yay!


Happy Anniversary!

Sunday, February 28th, 2021

It’s hard to believe, but John and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this week! The years have flown by and we’re looking forward to 25 more!

Work continues to be overwhelming and our staff keeps shrinking for one reason or another. This is also the time of year when we consular folks have lots of deadlines on top of our normal casework. I spent yesterday and today working to try to catch up. Luckily I was interrupted yesterday by a video call from Cousin James – a nice break!

John and I have been watching the quirky Nordic crime show, “Professor T.” We watched “Irresistible” this week – thanks, Joan! It was written by Jon Stewart – he really surprised us with the great ending! We also watched “Force Majeure,” the French film that “Downhill” was based on – very good.

It’s hot here

Sunday, 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

Sunday, 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.



To work and back

Sunday, 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!