Archive for October, 2013


Sunday, October 27th, 2013

We are dogless now after two months of having a puppy around the house. Flavia is happy! She can finally eat on the floor again and not in her cat tree. She’s back to sleeping in her favorite spot, and has come downstairs to sit with me on the sofa again. She was a real sport! We were really sad to see Coco go – her mom came to pick her up Monday night – I missed meeting her, which was a shame. I was staying late to try to get an emergency visa out for a medical case.

Thursday after work we went to the Club for a going-away party for our A-100 classmate and friend Joe. Hard to believe he’s been here for a year. We had another going-away party last night for Tom – a nice night for a party under the stars with good friends. The weather here is fabulous now, although we awoke to lots of rain and thunder this morning, but it turned into a beautiful day.

We continue to study Spanish in our free time – which for me wasn’t much until today. We went for massages early in the day, then have spent most of the day studying. John is especially doing well, of course, and is reading books in Spanish in addition to his lessons. I’ll be glad when this is over!



Perfect Storm

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

John with Coco

In a perfect storm of holidays, Monday was a U.S. holiday, and the remaining four days were Eid holidays – so the Embassy was closed all week. It’s the Muslim holiday that is known for animal sacrifice. In the days leading up to it, you’ll see goats, sheep, cows and camels for sale on the side of the road. Then on Eid day, the animal is slaughtered by the family. I just try not to go where I am apt to see any of it – call me a hypocrite!

Lots of folks took advantage of the time off and left for the week. John and I had a stay-cation of sorts, although we both worked some each day. The Pakistani Prime Minister is heading to the U.S. to meet with President Obama, so I went in most days to work on visas for his entourage. I also went to the gym each morning. And we spent a lot of time loving on Coco, as you can see

Most afternoons we studied Spanish, and worked in several episodes of “The Bridge.”

We were also invited to a lot of dinner parties – we really ate well the entire week!

Tuesday night we went to Barb and Edward’s. Turns out that one of the young couples at the table had previously dog-sat for Coco, our current charge – small world!

Thursday night we went to Konstantin and Carolyn’s – Konstantin made some excellent ribs!

And then last night we went to Joseph and Sunera’s. We enjoyed a nice evening with them, Konstantin and Carolyn, and Debbie. Lots of laughing.

On a sad note, I met a man last Friday through work, a politician in KP, sort of the wild west part of Pakistan near the Afghan border. He was very nice, quiet, dignified, about my age and seen to be an “up and comer” in Imran Khan’s political party. Married, with two kids, ages one and six. We chatted and I teased him some, which he took good-naturedly. I was shocked to read only five days later that he had been blown up in a suicide blast on Eid as he greeted well-wishers outside his home. It sent chills down my spine. Here in Islamabad, we are pretty insulated and it’s easy to forget how dangerous it gets, but this incident brought it home for me.


Bye bye, Honey…hello Coco!

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Honey and Coco

We were very sad to say goodbye to Honey Friday night! Her mom was in Bangkok on a work trip, so some friends took her to meet up with her so she can go back to America. She made the trip to Bangkok fine, and will be heading home later this week. We so enjoyed having her, and John is convinced now that we need a dog!

About an hour before Honey left, our new charge arrived – Coco. We’ll have her for a week or so. She is a Pekingese mix, I think. She’s also very sweet, but different from Honey. It’s funny how they each have their personalities. Flavia continues to look down from her cat tree with disdain for this spate of dog-sitting at Casa Crippen!

It was a very busy week! Tuesday evening I took Honey to the vet for her travel papers. I wish I had had my camera – four young Pakistani vet techs were just loving all over her and vying to hold her.

Wednesday, computer problems at work plagued us in the afternoon and evening, so I was trying to deal with that around a two-hour school board meeting at the Superintendent’s house. It continued up until 11PM or so when I finally just went to bed. Thanks to our hard-working IT department, everything was back to normal the next day – good thing, since we had a lot of VVIP travelers who needed visas.

Thursday we had a mini-Juarez reunion to say goodbye to our friend Jason, along with Howie and Petit. With the exception of Howie, we all worked together in Juarez in 2008-10. We went to a neat outdoor restaurant that had a big aviary and enjoyed some good Pakistani food.

Petit, Howie, Jason, John










Yesterday I worked most of the day just getting caught up after a busy week, then John and I started watching “The Bridge,” a detective show that is set on the border of Juarez and El Paso. The premise is that a dead body is found cut in two…placed exactly on the US-Mexican border on the bridge. It’s fun to see familiar places, and since some of it is in Spanish, it counts as studying…right?



Back in Pakistan

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Last Sunday we were still in Doha. We went to the airport that morning to sign up for Global Entry. With it, we can simply swipe our passports at most airports in the U.S. rather than waiting in the immigration line. We can also use it to sign up for a TSA program that will allow us to keep our shoes on and laptops in our carry-on bags when we go through security. A nice guy from Houston did our paperwork in a small office at the airport in Doha.

Afterward, we took a taxi to the Islamic Museum of Art. It was very lovely, and I particularly liked the carpets they had on display. It’s a very pretty building that sits on the bay looking out over the water. Quite nice.

We went back to our hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon reading in the lounge, then back to the airport that evening to catch our flight back to Pakistan, again via Oman. We arrived home around 7AM. I slept for a few hours, then went to work at noon. After work, we went to pick up Honey the Chihuahua who had stayed with friends while we were gone. She was very happy to see us!

I had a few meetings this week, including finance committee for the school. Spanish lesson via telephone Monday night, which is always humbling!

Last night we went to a nice dinner party at Pam and Ron’s. Their good friend Julie was in town, so we got to meet her – she’s super nice and was fun to talk to.

All in all, a pretty good week!