Archive for October, 2014

Good coffee again!

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

We got the rest of our air shipment delivered this week, so John has his beloved espresso maker and coffee roasting equipment – which means I get delicious lattes on the weekends! I’m enjoying my second one of the morning right now.

This week was fairly routine. I made it to the gym several times this week, although I’m not making it every morning like I was in Pakistan, but I’m working on it! Our building has a nice little gym downstairs, which makes it convenient so I really don’t have an excuse!

Work is going fine. It’s actually a bit of an adjustment to slow down from the pace in Islamabad, but it’s a good problem to have! John and I usually venture out together at lunch and find a place for a taco or a salad (yes, you can eat the veggies here – we even get fruit cups from the street vendor). The weather is so lovely, and it’s such a treat to walk out of the Consulate and be able to walk around.

Another good thing about being here is that we’re more aligned with the time zones, so it’s easier to talk to friends. Ann and I had a good long conversation yesterday, which was nice.

Afterwards, I walked across the street from our apartment to the mall and had a nice manicure and pedicure. One of the hardest things about moving is finding those little things that make you feel more at home – we’re getting there!

We capped off the afternoon with a going-away party for a woman in our office who is heading back to Washington. It was a nice outdoor event at her apartment building with a lovely view of the city – the caterers set up a grill and had all kinds of yummy tacos.

Flavie continues to feel more and more at home. She’s regained some of her playfulness and is eating more – I like to think that she realizes she is home and doesn’t have to go anywhere for several years!

Off to prison

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Making soup at the market

Making soup at the market

The highlight of the week (if you can call it that) was my first prison visit in this consular district. A team of us headed to the federal penitentiary in Tepic – a huge sprawling complex. We have about 25 American prisoners there, both men and women. It was a long day, and hot compared to Guadalajara (I can tell I am already getting spoiled by the weather here), but it was fun to get out of the city and see some of the countryside. The mountainous drive took us pass the town of Tequila, as well as Volcan Tequila, and we saw miles of agave plantations. I’m looking forward to visiting there at some point.

Monday was a holiday, so John and I went to Sam’s and Walmart to stock up on groceries and household supplies. I wasn’t too impressed with Sam’s here, so will be checking out Costco to see if it’s better.

Yesterday, my new Honda was delivered to us, along with part of our air shipment from Hot Springs! It’s nice to have some different shoes and clothes to wear, and I look forward to driving here!

The rest of the week was pretty calm – just to work and home. John went to a newcomers’ party hosted by our Consul General on Wednesday night; I missed it since we didn’t get back from the prison visit until 8PM, but John had a good time.

Flavie seems to be getting more used to the apartment and is eating better and exploring a bit more. She’s really a trooper.

Market Outing

Sunday, October 12th, 2014
Chiles, Abastos Market

Chiles, Abastos Market










I’ve never seen so many fruits and vegetables in my life! We joined in a CLO trip on Saturday to go to the Abastos Market. It’s like a local market on steroids – rows and rows of wholesalers, selling to restaurants and to the general public, along with little eateries, cheese stalls, etc. It’s huge! To see more photos, click here. We had a lot of fun – the group ended the adventure by stopping at a delicious Korean food stall for some stir fry.


Our market group

Our market group










Another highlight of the week was getting the 4Runner delivered! It’s been in storage in Belgium since John left Tel Aviv in 2012. It’s wonderful to have wheels again, and not rely on taxis and friends to get around everyday. We were lucky that it arrived so quickly (although we did start the paperwork in late May to move it).

My boss was working out of town this week – I was glad it was a quiet week with no big emergencies in the office. I was happy to see a Facebook post from a fellow we knew in Tel Aviv – he was in town doing some college recruiting. I quickly pinged him, and we had a nice lunch together on Wednesday – small world!

It was a quiet week at home, too. Last Sunday we stayed home and watched “The Way, Way Back” – a really good movie. Flavia disappeared – in the late afternoon, it dawned on us that we hadn’t seen her all day. We searched high and low – I even went outside the building to look, even though we had only opened the door once all day. Finally, as I was searching in the closet, I pushed a drawer closed and she popped out! She had climbed up behind the drawer somehow and had found a nice spot to nap! She seems to have adopted it as her “safe spot.” It reminded us of when we were leaving the house on Saddle Hill in 2007 to drive to DC to join the Foreign Service. The house was completely empty, yet she managed to hide for about an hour as we went crazy trying to find her! She’s a little Houdini.

We got back in the gym grove this week, setting the alarm for 5AM and going downstairs to the apartment gym. It’s small, but does the trick.

Yesterday I happened to look at a couple of golfers on the fairway and noticed they had hit good drives and looked like their second shots hit the green (we can’t see the green from the balcony due to trees). Then I noticed about 20 people standing around the green, heard the polite golfer applause, and realized the golfers and their caddies were walking and not in carts. I Googled it on the computer and realized it was the GCC annual tournament – it will be fun where there is a big tournament here!

Thanks to our friend Petit, we’re now hooked on the TV series “Scandal,” and have been watching episodes at night. Yes, it’s a little trashy and far-fetched, but who cares!

Congrats, John!

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

Congratulations to John on his promotion this week! It was our first time to be considered for promotion to FS-02 and it’s pretty unusual to get it on your first time – but, of course, John did! It made for a very happy week, with lots of congratulation notes. I made the “honorable mention” list, which made me very happy, as well – but not the same as actually getting the promotion. So for now, John outranks me! Congrats! We celebrated at a nice steak house in the fancy mall in our neighborhood.

The rest of the week had a rosy glow about it in light of this good news! Saturday was especially fun – we went next door for a paella cooking class. Turns out that our neighbor Arturo (married to a Consulate employee and the only other Consulate family in our building) is a professional chef – lucky for us! We had a small group from work to learn how to make paella and then we enjoyed a meal together. Quite nice!

Cooking class

Cooking class

Paella - yummy!

Paella – yummy!



















Friday after work, Cindy and Raoul picked us up to go to our consular chief’s house for a party. It was a lot of fun, and was nice to socialize with folks outside of the office.

Tuesday, the fire marshal from Washington was in town. We loaded up into a van and went to a deserted parking lot to learn how to use fire extinguishers. It was a lot of fun, and reminded me of Thanksgiving with John’s family in Texas a few years ago when Mitch brought a bunch of extinguishers and taught us how to use them (that branch of the family needs them, given their penchant for bonfires!).

Yesterday after the cooking class, we walked across the street to the VIP movie theatre (meaning they have recliners and serve drinks) to see “Gone Girl” – it was excellent! We read the book when we were in Indonesia for vacation in 2013 and loved it, so we were happy to see a good adaptation of it. I love Rosamund Pike.

Also, John taught me a new strategy/card game for two, “Lost Cities,” so we enjoyed several rounds of it yesterday, too.

Flavie continues to get a bit more comfortable every day!