Archive for March, 2009

Tel Aviv 2010

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

A little different than Ciudad Juarez!

Shalom! John and I were thrilled to find out that our next post will be Tel Aviv, Israel (pictured above). We’ll probably be in DC for most of 2010 to learn Hebrew, then we should be off to TA in the latter part of the year. It was our number one choice on our bid list and we are so grateful to our assignments team in DC. I’ll do a two-year consular gig, and John will do one year of consular work followed by one year as staff assistant to the Ambassador. It should be a great post. Thanks for all of the nice notes and calls!

Last Sunday, I took three of the TDYers shopping in El Paso. I dropped them off at the outlet mall, then went to a goodbye lunch for a co-worker. We went to a good Vietnamese restaurant that reminded me of the great food in DC when we lived near the Eden Center.

Thursday after work, I drove to El Paso to buy beer and soft drinks for our spring volleyball tournament at work. Unfortunately, the temperature dropped to about 40 degrees on Friday, so we froze our fannies off but we still had a lot of fun. Good tacos warmed us up.

Yesterday I worked most of the day while John went to El Paso to buy groceries and books about Israel. It’s just impossible to get everything done at work during the week. Last night, our friends Mark and Michelle had folks over for a good Italian dinner followed by a rousing game of “Celebrity.” I’ll tell you how to play it sometime – it’s fun!

Light at the end of the tunnel

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

We sent in our bid list this week and our employee evaluations are out of our hands for the moment – these were two big things hanging over our heads, so this weekend we really felt a sense of relief and accomplishment. Hopefully, we’ll know in a couple of weeks where we will be going! The light at the end of the tunnel may be a train, but John and I feel like we’ll be happy wherever we end up.

Last Sunday we had a great breakfast at Tomochi’s with our friends Beth and Tom. It was so much fun to go to a restaurant here in Juarez where there were a lot of people – even a wait to get in. Most restaurants are sparsely populated these days.

We had a nice outing to Las Cruces yesterday morning with the retired TDYers Joe and David. They are both so interesting. David was in the Peace Corps before he joined the Foreign Service, and Joe was – of all things – a Jesuit priest. They have been all over the world and have great stories, plus they are such gentlemen it’s a pleasure to be with them. They loved the farmers’ market – it was a gorgeous day outside – then we had a good lunch at the Double Eagle in Old Mesilla (Joe had been there years ago).

Friday after work, I joined some of the local staff at the tennis court behind the Consulate (yes, we have a tennis court). It was a lot of fun. One of the Consulate drivers, Polo, is about my age and he’s a good tennis player. They brought in the 16 year old brother of another staff employee for a match with Polo – there was a pretty decent crowd of us and lots of verbal encouragement for them both. When I left, Polo was schooling the teen, which was pretty funny.

Last night we watched “La Vie en Rose” – it was excellent, as Cousin Dail said it was.

Pledging allegiance

Sunday, March 15th, 2009


John with Young Marine Quinones

The highlight of the week was attending a naturalization ceremony in El Paso and seeing 998 legal permanent residents take the oath of allegiance to become U.S. citizens. There were people from 53 countries represented, from Iran to Tonga – pretty amazing. Of course I teared up – no way I could sing the National Anthem and watch people wave tiny American flags without it! We spent the morning alongside volunteer groups like the Young Marines (pictured above) helping with crowd control – it was a really nice experience.

The rest of the week was pretty low-key. We had drinks with Michael and Teresa after work Tuesday at their house to talk about our bid lists.  John and I went to Los Bichis for dinner Friday night. We also watched the Coen Brothers’ “The Big Lebowski” this week – it was good comic relief.

Last night we went to a big St. Patrick’s Day party at Matt and Daisy’s house – always fun. It was also a going-away party for our friends Kathy and John – we’ll hate to see them go. Matt and Daisy always go all-out for a party and last night was no exception.

We’re in the middle of a three-day weekend…aaah! The Dude abides!

The taxman cometh

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

I spent yesterday working on our taxes – it’s amazing how much time it takes just to organize everything to send to the accountant! But, it’s pretty much done and I feel a lot better having crossed that off my list of things to do.

I sent John off to El Paso to see “Watchmen” while I worked on taxes. He met our neighbors Michael and Teresa over there – he and Michael have been anticipating the opening for months now. It’s all lost on me.

We had a delegation of high-level visitors from Washington and the Embasssy in this week to talk about the security situation in Juarez. I guess there has been a lot of press coverage about it lately, so it has started to get more attention. We had a lot of meetings with them to talk about how our lives are affected by the violence.

Speaking of security, I thought our house was being broken into one night this week! I woke up around 3AM to hear this loud banging on wood – I thought someone had gotten through the metal bars and was trying to break the door down. I screamed, then realized it was Flavia. Poor girl, she fell down behind a chest of drawers in the office and couldn’t get out because of the angle.

Thursday night, we took David and Joe to dinner at Los Bichis – they’re the retired FSOs who are down here on TDY. They have a wealth of knowledge and stories, and they’re just really nice guys.

John and I celebrated the end of a hard work week by having a nice dinner out at Corralito’s on Friday. Last night, we went to our friends Beth and Tom’s for a fun dinner.

Happy Mardi Gras!

Sunday, March 1st, 2009


Our Lady of the Lawn dressed up for Mardi Gras, although it’s a bit of a non-starter here in Mexico – they do King Cake in January, so we didn’t have any Mardi Gras celebrations. John and I did celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary on Tuesday! We stayed in and grilled steaks and opened a bottle of wine. My mom asked me if I had had any regrets about marrying John – no! We’ve been so happy, and I can’t imagine my life without him.

This was another good, busy week. Last Sunday, we had our neighbors Mike and Teresa down for smoked shrimp – yum! John is doing excellent smoking! It was a bit hit.

I spent a lot of time getting ready for Friday’s Consular Leadership Day – it’s an annual event at embassies and consulates around the world, and I was part of a great committee that took on the planning and execution of it. We had a fun day of teambuilding classes and exercises, topped off by an excellent happy hour in the employee garden at the Consulate. The weather has been fantastic – hitting 80 pretty much every day.

Friday night, our friend Neal put together another fun wine tasting at Pomodoro’s. We had a Spanish-speaking Frenchman as the sommelier, plus a good dinner and good company.

Saturday I made an early run to El Paso, then went to work for a while. We stay so busy during the week interviewing, that it’s pretty impossible to get extra stuff done – like working on my first employee evaluation. I worked until 1PM or so, then had a pedicure. We had a wonderful dinner at my manager’s house. He’s Haitian and his wife is Turkish – he cooked a typical Haitian dish of rice and red beans with a beef stew – delish – they are excellent hosts, in addition to being wonderful cooks.

Today we did our weekly shopping in El Paso, then picked up two State Department retirees from the El Paso airport at noon and got them settled in their hotel here in Juarez. I went back this afternoon to take them grocery shopping.

All in all, it was a good week – busy as usual. Mom had a scare with her heart this week – rapid heartbeat – but her friends in the emergency room got it under control quickly. I talked to her again tonight, and she was feeling fine, thank goodness.

John and I continue to obsess over the bid list – the list of places where we could be posted in 2010. So far, nothing is really jumping out at us, but we continue to plug away at it…