Archive for August, 2011

This and that

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Another busy, but fun, week.

Last Sunday, we met a group of friends for brunch in Neve Tzedek, including several people who work for other diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv. It was put together by our friend Lea, who somehow seems to know everyone in town and who decided her friends should meet each other.

Earlier that morning, I spent three hours sitting on the roof of the Embassy while several maintenance workers made repairs. Due to security, local staff has to have an American escort in certain areas of the building, so I drew the short straw to work Sunday morning – it actually wasn’t too bad because it was early and I had a good book to read and an ocean view!

John had an interesting trip with the Ambassador this week. On Tuesday, they went to visit people who had been injured in the weekend’s rocket attacks, and visited a yeshiva in Ashdod that had been hit.

Thursday evening after work, I met an Israeli friend, Merav, for a drink. She brought her puppy Teddy, who is in training to be a seeing-eye dog. Merav is fun and interesting, and Teddy is precious. Click to see Teddy playing with Merav’s cat.

Friday was an administrative day at work, so we didn’t take appointments from the public. It’s a welcome day when we can get caught up on paperwork. The week was extremely busy with odd cases.

Friday night we had a great dinner with Howie and Petit, who we haven’t seen since she returned from her trip home to Mexico. It was wonderful to catch up!

We took it easy yesterday and just stayed in to read and watch movies. We watched “Another Year” and “The Adjustment Bureau,” both good.

Busy week

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Mailbox, Neve Tzedek

Israel was in the news again this week when several attacks occurred in the southern part of the country on Thursday. Violence has continued with rockets continuing to pepper the area, and Israel forces have engaged some of the perpetrators. Our job in the American Citizen Services section is to be sure that U.S. citizens get the same message that we get within the Embassy – the “no double standard” rule that came about after the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. I worked late Thursday night drafting the message and maneuvering it up the chain of command through our Front Office and in DC. We remain on alert here as the situation continues to evolve.

Despite the troubles, we have had a fun week.

Last Sunday we were treated to an afternoon with Dave, our friend from the Consulate in Jerusalem. Later that evening, Jen and Rebecca and I enjoyed the sunset while floating in our pool – life doesn’t get much better!

Monday night, our  TDY’er came over to do laundry and we got a good chance to visit. She is very interesting, and told me lots of stories from her work in DC and her three years in northern Africa.

Tuesday night we went to the DCM’s residence to hear a speaker who runs political campaigns in Israel – he was young and interesting, and talked about how American campaigns have influenced how campaigns are run in Israel.

Friday night, we joined Chip, Anne, Robbie and Suzanne at a wonderful little restaurant in Neve Tzedek. It was a beautiful night to sit outside for dinner and enjoy a bottle of good wine.

One of most fun things I did this week was going with a professional photographer around the city for a photography class yesterday morning. Wendy, TDY’er Solange and I spent about two and a half hours Saturday morning walking through the neighborhoods around our apartment, learning some photography basics, followed by a well-deserved breakfast at a nice little cafe.

John and I watched a great movie, “Barney’s Version” last night with Paul Giamatti. Very good.

New faces

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

This week we welcomed two new folks to the Consular section: our new Consul General and a TDY’er who came to help us in ACS for a month. I’m especially grateful for the TDY help – as an added bonus, she normally works in American Citizen Services back in Washington, so I am learning a lot from her when it comes to child abduction, welfare and whereabouts calls, etc.

I’ve had several phone calls this week along these lines. It’s always, um, interesting what people think the US Embassy can do for them or their children. I spent a couple of hours last Sunday on phone calls with the duty officer and our consular agent, trying to help a young American citizen who got himself in a bit of hot water with local police.

John and I made it to Whitehall one night this week for a nice dinner; otherwise, he has been getting home fairly late.

Thursday I went with my boss to have lunch with two delightful women from the German Embassy. I was sort of dreading a “business lunch,” but I ended up really enjoying myself. It was a nice change from my typical eat-at-my-desk tuna salad!

Friday we had a happy hour at work with the officers and new CG – always a good way to end the week.

Saturday night, John and I went to a going away party for a friend from Post. It was fun, and we enjoyed the full moon and cooler temps walking there and back.

We watched a good movie this week, “Conviction,” with Hillary Swank.

John is loving his job. This week he went with the Ambassador to see a joint US-Israel military project south of Tel Aviv near the Gaza border – he had a blast (no pun intended). See the photo below! Click here for a video about the visit – the first couple of minutes are in Hebrew, then he switches to English.

With the Ambassador at Iron Dome

Sunday, August 14th, 2011
Visit to Iron Dome No.127FL by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv
Visit to Iron Dome No.127FL, a photo by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv on Flickr.


It’s not the heat…

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

We’re definitely in full-swing summer here in Tel Aviv, but it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Highs in the low 90s with a good dollop of humidity, but nothing like what the folks back home are experiencing. Add a nice ocean breeze and most of the time it’s fine – unless you are out walking in the sun.

Last Sunday, our friend Carlos came over in the morning to watch John roast coffee. Afterwards, we walked down the beach to Manta Ray to meet Mary, Jimmy and Will for brunch. It’s great to get to see our friends from the Consulate in Jerusalem.

We had book club at our house on Thursday evening. The group read a book on water – very interesting discussion and a good turnout.

Last night we set up a video call with John’s family, who were celebrating Pete and Ginger’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was fun to see the family – Phillip, Michele and the twins; Cathy, Bruce and Melissa from Texas; Aunt Roberta; Marcia and Brad. The internet has come a long way since we were in Costa Rica and had a painfully slow dial-up connection just to receive email! Technology really makes being away from home so much easier.

After the call, we headed up the hill to a co-worker’s birthday party – good fun and conversation. He had a clever drink menu made up  – I tried his Greentini: pear vodka with pear water, mint and lemon. Very refreshing! It made me want to look for a mint plant so I can add some mint leaves to the water pitcher in the fridge.

We watched a couple of fun movies this week: “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “Unknown.”

Authorities in Mexico this week captured the man who allegedly was involved in the murders of our Consulate friends in Ciudad Juarez last year. He said in an interview, “I called our partners, the Aztecas. … They had made the determination to kill them thinking they were part of the opposing side. Afterward, we learned they had nothing to do with it.”

Cold comfort to Lesley’s baby girl who will never know what a beautiful mom she had.