Archive for May, 2010

Big week

Monday, May 31st, 2010


At the wedding

Wow, we had a lot going on this week!

The big event was the wedding Saturday night for our friends Sarah and Aaron. They were in our A-100 class and were two of our favorite folks, so we were quite happy when Aaron proposed to Sarah.

The wedding was gorgeous – outdoors at a vineyard about 2.5 hours from here. There was a reception afterwards, followed by dinner and lots of dancing – we had a blast! John and I drove down on Saturday afternoon, and spent the night after the wedding in Charlottesville. Click here for more wedding photos.

On the way home, we stopped at a good used book store in Manassas, so John was a happy camper.

Last Monday night, I took Cathy to Harry’s for a farewell dinner. I already miss seeing her at lunch everyday!

Tuesday was book club at a local coffee shop. After that, we metro’d downtown to see two other A-100 classmates who got married and are back in DC visiting from India.

Thursday night we drove downtown for a going-away BBQ for our good friend Jim – he is off to Jarkarta. We’ll sure miss him – another one of our favorites from A-100. Click for photos from the BBQ.

Friday our Hebrew class took a field trip to the National Portrait Gallery – we had to give mini-presentations in Hebrew about the U.S. Presidents. It was a good (but hard) exercise, and it was fun to see the exhibit of the presidential portraits. John and I ended the day with wine and oysters at Clyde’s across the street.

This morning, my friend Jane took me kayaking on the Potomac – it was wonderful! We met early and spent over three hours leisurely going down the river. We saw turtles, birds, baby ducks and a snake – it was hard to believe that we were in the middle of such a big city. And in the distance, we could see the Washington Monument, just beyond the Key Bridge. A great way to end the holiday weekend! Click for more photos.

When I got home, John had big news for me – he had just read an email telling him that he had received a Superior Honor Award from the Consulate in Ciudad Juarez! I’m so proud of him! A few weeks ago, I learned that I got a Meritorious Honor Award, but his is even better – he rocks!

Kayaking on the Potomac

John with Dave at the wedding










With Jim at the wedding

Pete and Ginger come to visit!

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

John’s parents, Pete and Ginger, drove out to visit us this weekend. We headed to RT’s for a great meal Friday night. I had another bowl of that she-crab soup that I love so much, and the seafood in parchment. It was delicious!

Saturday, we metro’d down to the Botanical Gardens, then toured the rotunda of the Capitol. (P.S., when you get tickets for a tour of the Capitol, be warned that all you get to see for all of your standing in line with a bunch of high schoolers is a tour of the rotunda and the statue room.) After that, we went to the Natural History Museum so Pete could have his photo taken as a Neanderthal. For dinner, we grilled up some yummy steaks back at the apartment and just relaxed.

Sunday morning, John and I got in some Hebrew studying, then the four of us drove down to the outlet mall in Leesburg to do a bit of shopping. We had a great Mexican dinner after we got back to Falls Church.

Click to see more photos from their visit (including Pete as a Neanderthal).

Wednesday night, we took our friend Justin out to Harry’s for a good-bye dinner before he leaves for Bahgdad. A mutual friend, Billy, came with us and entertained us with stories from his time in Jerusalem, his current post. We served in Juarez with Justin, and are sad to see him go.

Thursday was a fun happy hour for my good friend Cathy, who passed her French test this week and is off to Africa.

This week in area studies, we had a fascinating three-hour lecture on Jordan. On Friday in Hebrew, we had a little party to celebrate one of the Jewish holidays. I was supposed to bring kosher cheese dip, but had to make do with kosher guacamole instead. Oh well.

At happy hour with Cathy

What a great town

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Last night, I got to see my cousin Donna (above) and her family. Her son Chris is also a Foreign Service Officer, and I had run into him earlier in the week at FSI. Donna looks wonderful, and Chris’s one-year old baby is adorable. We had dinner together at a nearby restaurant along with Chris’s wife and Donna’s husband; Donna and I talked non-stop the whole time!

The amount of things to do in this town is pretty overwhelming, and with the amount of studying we have to do, it’s hard to get to many events. But on Friday, we went to a panel discussion about the prospects of peace in the Middle East, featuring Aaron David Miller. (John’s book club just read a book by him.) Another expert in the region, who we have heard in our area studies class, Daniel Levy, also spoke.

We topped off the evening with a wonderful steak at Smith and Wollensky’s.

Thursday afternoon, we went to a happy hour to see our A-100 classmate Joe, who was on his way back from Tel Aviv. He had only great things to say about the city – can’t wait to get there!

The rest of the week was pretty low-key; just studying and the normal errands. We watched a movie in Hebrew (with subtitles, of course) called “Saint Clara,” and I bought some pretty Hebrew music to listen to in the car.

Happy birthday to me!

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

This was the big 5-0 for me – I really can’t believe it. I had a great day of relaxing – John went to a magic workshop in Maryland, and my friend Cathy treated me to lunch, followed by shopping and a pedicure. In the evening, we met our friends Jim and Mary at Harry’s for a wonderful dinner and John joined us on his way home. Thanks to Jim for a birthday book and to Mary for a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers!

The best part of the day was hearing from so many friends, either on Facebook or by phone – even David calling from Diego Garcia. Nice to be remembered!

Friday night we went to a small get-together at Brian’s apartment downtown – a good way to end a long week.

On Cinco de Mayo, I went to the Consular Affairs American Citizens’ Services office for a small after-work party. Our Juarez desk officer was nice enough to invite me to stop by. It’s like going to the mother-ship for me – I’d love to work there if we do a DC tour. They work with the ACS offices within the embassies around the world on ACS cases – very interesting. I met the woman who is working on Haitian adoptions, and reconnected with an old friend who, as it turns out, worked on the two case of the two American journalists who were held in North Korea.

We changed Hebrew teachers this week, so we have different instructors. It’s been a difficult adjustment for me with one of them, so the week was a bit frustrating. We’ve been in class 10 weeks now or so, and I feel like I have a lot of information in my head, but it doesn’t always make it out of my mouth in the proper order! Hopefully, this week will be better.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Good friends, good times!

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010










With Mary

This was a great week for seeing good friends. The highlight of our week was getting to see Mary, who was in DC for work. We met her for dinner at Harry’s on Tuesday night – great to catch up!

Thursday night, we were back at Harry’s to celebrate the upcoming wedding of two of our A-100 classmates, Sarah and Aaron. They will be the second couple from our class to get married (and there will be a third in December). We went with them on their first date back in 2007, so I feel somewhat invested in their future! 

This week was also the 3rd anniversary of joining the Foreign Service. We had an A-100 happy hour on Friday night to celebrate. We were at a rooftop bar on a beautiful warm evening – a perfect way to celebrate. Click for photos from happy hour.

On Thursday, the Hebrew classes drove to Maryland for lunch at a local kosher restaurant. The food was great – John and I had a salad made from shawarma – delicious! After lunch, we each made a mini-presentation about something in Israel. Although it still sounds like baby talk to me, we are making progress. I talked about wine and John talked about cheese from Israel. Click for photos from lunch.

Last Sunday, my friend Cathy and I drove to CostCo – she is moving to Africa and can ship consumables, so we were stocking her up. Afterwards, we had lunch at the Stray Cat Cafe, a little place not far from our apartment. The whole place is decorated with pictures and paintings of cats, and a portion of their proceeds goes to animal rescue. My kind of place.

Yesterday, I metro’d to Clarendon for lunch with my friends Jimmi and Ashley (Jimmi was in our A-100 and I was in Spanish class with Ashley.) We sat outside to enjoy the nice weather and compared our last posts (all of us were in Mexico) and talk about Ashley’s upcoming wedding.

John and I watched a fun movie last night, Pirate Radio, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman – fun, and a great soundtrack.

In Area Studies this week, we had a great speaker, the new Ambassador to Syria, who spoke about his time in Iraq. And we attended an early morning speaker series where we listened to an FSO who is currently an Iraq advisor to VP Biden – both interesting talks. Do I really get paid for this?










With our Hebrew class and teachers

With Dean at the rooftop happy hour