Archive for May, 2014

Lots going on

Saturday, May 24th, 2014
Club waiters

Club waiters

Transfer season is definitely here and it seems there’s some type of going away party almost daily. It’s fun but sad at the same time, since we don’t know when we will see some of these folks again. This week, one of the top performers in my group left so we had a goodbye lunch for her on Tuesday and afternoon ice cream on her last day. She’ll be missed, but the other officers are very good and stepping up to the challenge of increased visa demand for summer travel.

We attended an early birthday/going away party for our friend Victoria this week, too. I like how she is celebrating early, because she knows many of her good friends will be gone later this summer when her birthday rolls around. It was a fun evening!

We’re also wrapping up the school year at the International School. I went to the last finance committee meeting on Tuesday night. I’ve really enjoyed the people on the Board – it’s really been a pleasure.

And on Wednesday night after my photography class, we went to the DCM’s house for a reception for visiting colleagues from Washington. Another beautiful evening outside.

We wrapped up the week with happy hour on the patio with Brad, Elmira, and Terry – a nice end to a busy work week.

Unfortunately, our plans for the weekend got cancelled thanks to middle-of-the-night bomb blasts in two market areas in Islamabad – one in F6 where I frequent. I’m not sure why someone would blow themselves up in the middle of the night when there is no one around (or otherwise, for that matter) but at least there was only one injured guard and not hundreds of shoppers. That resulted in a swift lockdown on Saturday morning and rounds of phone calls to all staff to be sure everyone was tucked in at home. John and I made the best of the day and started the last season of “Homeland” and ordered pizza. We’ll see how the weekend shakes out security-wise. We were sad to have to cancel a coffee roasting demo and brunch at our house this morning.

The photo above are the waiters at the Club during the recent awards ceremony. We eat at the Club daily – they are all really sweet and give us good service. Nice guys. I picked up one of them the other day coming to work early on a Saturday morning. He rides a bus to town every day from his village, then walks the last two miles to work – and he’s not alone in this routine. Most folks here do not have cars – the lucky ones have a motor scooter or very old bike.

Atta boy!

Sunday, May 18th, 2014
Receiving his award from the Ambassador

Receiving his award from the Ambassador

The highlight of the week was the Embassy awards ceremony – John received a Meritorious Honor Award from the project director of the new Embassy compound. Quite a nice recognition for the great work he’s done all year!

Last Sunday we were on lockdown since national politician and former cricket star Imran Khan had a large protest. We enjoyed the day at home, thanks, Imran! In the late afternoon, we went through our secret door to Sarah’s house and sat on her balcony with a glass of wine, enjoying the nice afternoon weather. I took this cool photo of their dog, Inca.












The week was a whirlwind of activity. Wednesday after work I attended a good photography class on the compound, given by Sully, a co-worker and excellent teacher.

Thursday, John and I walked over to Lydia and Cesar’s rooftop party in honor of Nina, who departed later in the week. It was a beautiful night and lovely to be out on the roof with friends.

Friday was happy hour after work, then John and I went to Christy’s for a surprise dinner party for Joe and Julie, who will be leaving soon. Christy made her famous enchiladas, and Poonam made an out-of-this-world Navajo green chile stew from her home state of New Mexico – and Indian fry bread – yum!

Saturday I went to the office to do a few odds and ends. Luckily I was able to trap Mittens, a little tortie who has a bad abscess on the base of her tail. I ran her over to the vet when he opened, then met Brad briefly at the F6 market to run a couple of errands. After a relaxing afternoon at the spa, John and I went to a lovely outdoor party in honor of Darlene, also departing post. We stayed for a hour or so, then hurried over to the Serena Hotel for the wedding of our co-workers Zia and Anna. Zia is of Pakistani descent, so this was their Pakistani wedding – to be followed by an American-style wedding stateside. It was lovely to see everyone all dressed up! Congrats to Anna and Zia – two super people!

This morning we went to Joseph and Sunera’s for brunch and then afternoon Settlers of Catan (I watched and read magazines). In honor of Joseph’s birthday, John had this birthday cake made for him in honor of Settlers – you geeks will “get it”!

Joseph and Sunera

Joseph and Sunera

Brick, wood, sheep, wheat, and ore

Brick, wood, sheep, wheat, and ore






















My early morning gym friend Meghan has started a 6AM spin class that I am really enjoying. While I’m normally at the gym and either doing strength training or cardio (usually on the spin bikes) every morning by 6AM, this is a fun change of pace and a really great workout.

Happy birthday to me!

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

John left late Saturday night for Bahrain where he spent the week in a training class, leaving me to my own devices until his return in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday. He had a lot of fun and came away with some useful management tools. He said Bahrain was HOT, but he enjoyed the trip and made a lot of new friends in the class.


Last Sunday I went to a nice brunch hosted by Juan and Chesa to welcome our new NIV Zach to the section. They are wonderful hosts and had lots of good food, music, and conversation. I left there to meet Carolyn and Sunera at a fancy Pakistani dress shop where they tried on clothes for two hours – shopping for an upcoming wedding here. Then Sunera and I peeled off and shopped a bit more in the F-7 market. Fun!

I celebrated my birthday in a pretty lowkey but nice way. I got lots of nice messages from friends on Facebook and on email. I especially appreciate the donations to Out of the Woods animal rescue back in Little Rock that my mom and in-laws made for me. My friend Brad and I had drinks at the Club after work. Then I spent the evening doing what I did the other nights John was away: watching the most recent season of “Downton Abbey”!

Saturday I couldn’t sleep, so I went to the gym early as usual, then worked till around noon, taking some time out to hit the Embassy yard sale first. Then I picked up Brad and he gave me his personal tour of the F6 market – we went in several furniture stores, jewelry shops, a stationer, etc. – lots of fun and I saw some shops I had never seen before.

Wednesday I attended a brown bag lunch viewing of a documentary about Himalayan brown bears that live in the north of Pakistan. It was interesting but also depressing since their habitat is so threatened – and I don’t have high hopes that the government of Pakistan will step in to do much. It’s kind of crazy -there are still people living up in the north who basically live the same way they lived 100 years ago, both in villages and nomad tribes who move their goats around. And the weather is so harsh. The documentary was very well done, and was funded from our Ambassador’s grant fund.

My work with the Embassy cats continue this week. I had tried for days to catch a little tortie and I was finally successful on Monday morning; I ran her over the vet before lunch. Before I left the office that evening, I sent an email to the C’Attache group to let them know. One woman immediately wrote back to say, “But her kittens will starve without her!” Oops – turns out the cat had had kittens about a month earlier and I hadn’t realized it! So I had to call the vet and run back across town to get her and bring her home (the vet hadn’t gotten around to looking at her yet). She meowed loudly at me the whole way, as if to say “I tried to tell you, lady!”

Exit strategy

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014
Content Flavia

Content Flavia

It’s starting to sink in that our departure will be here before we know it! We’ve already started processing our transfer schedule paperwork. I know that time is going to fly by from this point forward. In the remaining months, I need to fit in all the things I’ve been putting off, namely shopping for those have-to-have things and spending lots of time with friends.

Thwarting my desire to goof off was an onslaught of work this week. Lots of special projects that DC needs answers on, a trip with our CG to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs one afternoon, and then just our regular workload. I also serve on a review panel for employee evaluations – ’tis the season – and have been reviewing several of those every couple of days. I went in Saturday to try to get a little bit caught up but I’m not sure I made much of a dent in it all! Doesn’t the USG understand that I have shopping to do?

In spite of work, we did manage to spend time with friends this week. Last Sunday after a trip to the spa, we had game day at our house with Christy, Joe, Shelly and Keith. Christy made me a delicious almond cake with sprinkles on top to celebrate passing the Spanish exam – so sweet of her (pun intended)!

Thursday was Pakistan Labor Day, so we were off. I used the opportunity to try to get caught up on a few things and go for my usual gym workout, then headed to Keith and Shelly’s for another game day. I usually don’t play, but enjoy hanging out with everyone while flipping through magazines. Keith and Shelly also have a cute dog that I played with.

Yesterday late afternoon John and I spent a couple of hours with our good friends (and my co-workers) Brad and Mike. Brad is just back from his R&R, so it was fun to get to catch up before the crush of our work hits us on Monday.

Monday was Will’s last day in the consular section, so we had a nice group lunch with the local staff and ice cream in the afternoon for the whole section. He’s been a great officer and I hate to lose him.

John and I have had fun this week in the evenings catching up on “Mad Men” and “The Americans.”