Archive for December, 2009

Good friends, good times

Sunday, December 27th, 2009



Our favorite local staff had a great party for John and me on Tuesday night – it was so fun to spend an evening with them. They are mostly the folks who worked in the NIV section with us when we first arrived in Juarez in March 2008. They made espresso martinis (yum), cooked up a great dinner, and had a pinata – it was so much fun! Click to see more photos of the party.

On Christmas Eve, we had an open house here after the Consulate closed at noon. We did this last year, too, and really enjoyed it.  About 20-25 people dropped by throughout the afternoon.  It was pleasant to visit, listen to Christmas music and just relax. John made balloon animals for the kids, which were a big hit.

Monday night was our last book club. For November and December, we watch movies. This month was a good movie about illegal immigration called “Sin Nombre” (Without a Name). Teresa and Michael hosted at their house.

Last Sunday, John smoked several chickens that we delivered to friends, including Ryan and Lara – we got to see their new baby Sophie – what a cutie!

On Christmas and the day after, the real work began – we went into high gear to get ready for the movers on Monday. What a lot of work! The house is now upside down, shipments separated, etc. When we just couldn’t work anymore, we sat down on Christmas afternoon for our annual mimosas and watched “Fringe” as a reward for our hard work. Last night, we watched “Julia and Julie.”

John and Martha


Starting the countdown

Sunday, December 20th, 2009


With Mikey at the ACS Holiday Party

Pretty low-key week – it’s starting to hit us that we are actually leaving Ciudad Juarez soon! I have such mixed feelings about it – I’m excited to think about home leave and being in DC for most of the year, but on the other hand, I’m really sad to think about leaving so many good friends here.

We didn’t have a lot going on this week. We had our pack-out survey on Monday to assess what will need to be packed up. Monday night, I went to my friend Pam’s house for a drink in front of her Christmas tree.

Wednesday night we went out to a local bar with some friends – it was a lot of fun. John took me out to dinner on Thursday night – he felt sorry for me because I missed lunch because I had to go visit a pregnant woman in prison.

Friday was the ACS holiday party at our boss’s house – we had a fun gift exchange and good food and drink. I was happy that my Secret Santa made a donation to CARE for me!

Saturday John got back up on the horse  – um, bike – and enjoyed a cold but sunny ride in New Mexico. Meanwhile, I continued with sorting closets and drawers for pack-out. We watched a few episodes of “Fringe” (love it!) and cooked up some salmon for dinner.

I’ve been working to start a recycling program at the Consulate for the last few months. I’m happy to report we had our first pick-up this week!

Fun in the sun

Monday, December 14th, 2009


With our friend Kristin in PV

John and I headed south to Puerto Vallarta this week – we went down on Wednesday and came home on Sunday. It was so much fun – we hadn’t been on a “just relax” vacation in a while and it was just great. We had a fabulous room on the beach with a fantastic view. It was wonderful to fall asleep each night listening to the surf! Click here for more photos of our trip.

The most fun part of the trip was going whale watching on Friday. We were on a small boat with about 10 other people. We followed a couple of groups of humpback whales around and were rewarded with one of them breaching repeatedly for us (i.e., jumping straight up out of the water and crashing back down). It was incredible!

We also had a chance to see our good friend Kristin from A-100 class – our trips overlapped by a couple of hours, so as soon as we landed, we went to her hotel to visit a bit before she had to leave for the airport.

I was sick the first part of the week before our trip – I had scheduled vacation but caught a nasty cold and ended up in bed several days. I went to the doctor Tuesday before we left just to be sure it wasn’t anything more serious than a cold (which it wasn’t). Luckily the sun in Puerto Vallarta helped get me over it quickly.

Great vacation but happy to be back home with little Flavia! She’s happy that we’re home…


Whale watching


Great shot of John on the balcony

Let it snow!

Sunday, December 6th, 2009


From our front door

John and I were off work on Monday and on our way to El Paso when the snow started getting heavy. We opted just to run over to WalMart and come home, rather than spend the day as we originally planned. We ended up with an inch or so on the ground – quite pretty and fun to watch. The Consulate opened a couple of hours late on Tuesday.

On Thursday I made a run down south to check on a baby. We drove about nine hours, and the grandparents brought the child two hours down from the mountains to meet us in the tiny town’s police station. The last two hours of the drive was really pretty – crossing the sierra at sunset, with ear-popping dramatic views and precarious switchbacks. We spent the night in Parral, then drove six hours back to the Consulate on Friday.

John and I spent most of Saturday watching “Fringe” on Netflix. It’s by J.J. Abrams and is a lot of fun.

John got me hooked on Stieg Larsson this week – I read both “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played with Fire.” Fun reads!

John has been a little under the weather, so I went alone to the annual Christmas Gala at work last night. It was a lot of fun to see everyone all dressed up and having fun!


With my good friend Pam…


and Jason