Archive for the ‘Foreign Service’ Category

No rest for the weary

Sunday, December 16th, 2018


Icelandic mail box

Monday afternoon I was back on a plane, this time a return to Iceland. The weather there was wet and cold, although warmer than DC. When we landed after our 5+ hour flight, we couldn’t disembark due to high winds! They couldn’t bring the jet bridge out, nor would they let us walk down the steps for fear we’d blow away! So we sat on the plane for an incredible 4+ hours until the wind died down enough. The news reported that around a dozen planes were in the same situation; when we finally got off the plane, the airport was a zoo with all the flights backed up.

Church and Christmas decoration

Huge Christmas Cat

I stayed downtown, just a few minutes walk to the embassy. The city was decorated with Christmas lights everywhere, which was nice since it was dark, rainy, and overcast for most of my visit (even on good days they only get a few hours of sun this time of year).  Their “thing” is an evil Christmas cat (pictured above) that eats children unlucky enough to not get any clothing for Christmas.  I was super-happy to return to my favorite restaurant there (twice!) to eat a delicious Arctic char (fish) that they pan fry and drizzle with a honey-butter and slivered almonds. Yum.

My favorite dish!

I flew back on Friday (with much less drama), returning to a dreary, rainy DC.  We went to a couple of parties yesterday, and the fun continues today!

All the Iceland coins have sea creatures! So cute.


Trinidad, Take Two

Monday, December 10th, 2018

We returned from Philly last Sunday, and Monday morning early I was out the door heading to Trinidad. My routing took me through Houston this time, and I hung out in the lounge there during a long layover – it reminded me of the Guadalajara days.

My trip was interrupted by the National Day of Mourning for President Bush, so I had to jam four days of work into three, but it all worked out. It was a low-key trip, just staying at the hotel for dinner and not venturing out.

I flew all day Saturday to get back home in the late afternoon – in time to go to Adrian’s housewarming party. Sunday, I met my friend Pam B and her cute little girl for brunch, folllowed by our annual outing to the Nutcracker Ballet at the Kennedy Center.

At the Nutcracker

Back to Philly!

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

John in his element at PAX

John and I took the train to Philadelphia early Friday morning for John to attend PAX Unplugged, a huge gaming convention. It was our second time to go and we had a blast! While John was busy playing board games with the thousands of other people there, I hit the museums.

I spent Friday afternoon at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I took two guided tours that were wonderful – one toured a special exhibit of fashion from the late 40s to present day, and the other was of the contemporary art collection. The docents were really wonderful! I loved the museum so much that I went back on Saturday to see a little more of it, then I went to the Perlman Gallery across the street (an annex) and to the Rodin Gallery. It was a rainy day, so a good time to be inside!

The Thinker(s)

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Fashion Exhibit

Earlier this week, we had our good friend and neighbor Michael Grantham from Juarez over for dinner – it was great to see him and catch up!

Union Station, DC

Beautiful Union Station in DC

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

With Alfie!

We flew to Fayetteville Tuesday afternoon, spending the night at Phillip and Michele’s. We got to meet Alfie, their cute terrier. He’s such a cuddle and we just fell in love with him!

The next morning we picked up Pete and Ginger and drove to Mount Pleasant, Texas, in the rented Dodge Caravan (what a hoot). It was a pretty drive through eastern Oklahoma and the Ouachita National Forest – we saw some pretty color in the trees although it is waning. We spent the night in Mount Pleasant, then drove over to the Harwell’s house in nearby Pittsburg for the big Thanksgiving celebration – it was the first time in a long time that all of the family got together (although we missed Jeffrey, who’s training tigers in Arizona, and Melissa). Lots of food and fun! Bruce gave me a tour of his gun collection (wow) and I got to play with Bash the dog in the backyard.

With Joseph at Thanksgiving

We spent the night again in Mount Pleasant, and made our way back to Fayetteville on Friday in time for dinner at Butterfield’s dining room with Pete and Ginger.  Saturday morning, I found a great hair salon (Mayapple – love Juliana). We had lunch at Pete and Ginger’s, then we dognapped Alfie and drove out to Devil’s Den for a nice hike. I don’t know who had more fun – us or Alfie!

With Alfie at Devil’s Den

We got up early for our flight back to DC this morning, ready for another week!

Sunrise over the Mississippi on the flight home


Sunday, November 18th, 2018

Field Museum

John and I flew to Chicago last Saturday for what was probably the most fun wedding I’ve been to – one of “my guys” from Islamabad, Brett, got married, and we were delighted to be invited to the celebration.  We stayed at the lovely Palmer House, an old historic hotel not far from Michigan Avenue.  Saturday night was happy hour for wedding guests at the hotel lobby bar, so we got to catch up with some of our old Islamabad friends; I was also happy to finally meet Brett’s family.  The thing that made the wedding so fun (aside from the fact I really like the couple) was the venue – the Field Museum. We had the entire place to ourselves and were free to wander around all night – a little spooky! The ceremony, dinner, and dance were all in the main hall with a huge dinosaur skeleton looming over us – so fun!

With the groom

Field Museum

Wow – what a fun wedding!

Love the wedding theme

The bride making her entrance

We spent Saturday at the Shedd Aquarium and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We walked home along the lake – it was cold, but nice and sunny.  Click to see all of our Chicago pictures.

Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium

Love the detail of the lights…squid arms!

Chicago art

The Egg in Chicaco

We got home Monday night, and I left the next morning for Belize to work. I enjoy going down there – for one thing, I missed the DC snow (!), and I also really like the people in the consular section. The chief and I went to dinner the night I arrived, and I went to dinner the next night with an A100 colleague who’s working there. We ended the week with happy hour with several folks Friday night, and I flew home Saturday, an all-day ordeal (it’s so close on the map, yet it was a 14-hour travel day).