Archive for September, 2017

Catching up with friends

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

This was a fun week! Aside from getting more comfortable at work, we were able to catch up with several old friends.

Friday I went to Main State and had lunch with my A-100 classmate, Aaron. After work, John and I met Scott and Tammy for happy hour, plus two other really fun women from work. It was fun to sit outside and laugh. On the way home, John and I ducked into an Italian restaurant for dinner, and I had a yummy seafood stew.

Saturday night, we met another A-100 classmate – and one of our favorites – Jimmi, who just arrived back in DC this week. We walked up to DuPont Circle and had a nice steak with her.

John was in a class this week up near my building, so we had lunch together several days, which beats my normal sad desk lunch. I also had coffee with a couple of folks during the day, which was nice.

I’m happy to report that Flavia is much more comfortable in the new apartment, thank goodness. I felt so bad for her when we first arrived. But now she’s out exploring and hanging out in the living room with us, looking out the windows, etc. Good for her!

Click to see all of my Iceland photos!

Land of fire and ice

Sunday, September 10th, 2017
Northern lights!

Northern lights!

My first work trip was to Iceland – how lucky was that?!! It’s a super-popular destination these days, really since the volcano eruption in 2010. I flew out a day early to get in some sightseeing, and stayed a day afterward. Wow – what landscapes…so desolate and majestic.

The flight from D.C. was an overnight, so I arrived early in Reykjavik Monday morning. After dropping my bag at the hotel, I headed to the neighborhood geothermal pool where the locals gather like a coffee shop. That was a great experience and really rejuvenated me after the six-hour flight. Then I headed to the church where you can go to the top and see the view. Unfortunately, the weather changed on a dime – as it’s apt to do, and I couldn’t see much. I ducked into a cafe across the street for a bowl of lamp soup to warm up, and emerged to clear skies. After the rain, the view from the church was beautiful and clear.

Downtown Reykjavik is charming! Lots and lots of restaurants and shops – but the prices are obscene! I’m not sure I got over just how expensive everything is – if you go, save your pennies ahead of time.

Tuesday I did a South Coast tour in a small tour van. It was a beautiful day, and we saw lovely landscapes, waterfalls, mountain glaciers, black sand beaches, and puffins! I really didn’t know what a geothermal hot spot Iceland is, but the whole country is all about the hot water. It provides them with cheap electricity (so much so that there are three large aluminum plants there and they enjoy very low electricity prices as consumers). You see steam coming out of the ground in many places, and sometimes a community can’t bury its dead because the ground is too hot. Hot water runs in pipes under the city streets to keep them from icing in winter.

Wednesday through Friday I worked. A lovely colleague from Frankfurt, Berenice, flew in to show me the ropes of my new job. She’s delightful and it was fun to learn from her and enjoy meals together.

Friday night, we went on a Northern Lights tour and were lucky enough to see them – wow! So mysterious and beautiful! And cold! My hands were freezing!

Saturday we went on a fun Game of Thrones tour, seeing spots where they had filmed parts of season four. We stopped at a horse farm to see some of the horses they used – Iceland prohibits any horses from being importers to the island so their horses are purebred. They are small but very strong and beautiful. They were super curious and friendly, and wanted to be petted.

The landscapes were just incredible. There are only 330,000 people in the whole country, and most of them live in Reykjavik, so the countryside seems very desolate. It’s basically an island formed by volcanoes, and you can drive for miles through lava fields…then you came upon a huge glacier in between mountains. Just incredible!

I think I’m going to like this job!

Cool landscapes!

Cool landscapes!

Waterfalls and rainbows!

Waterfalls and rainbows!

Glaciers!

Glaciers!

It has begun!

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

The travel has started! I leave in about 15 minutes for the airport for my first trip! You’ll have to wait until next week to find out the destination.

We had some good socialization this week. We started off on Monday with an Islamabad reunion with the Messmers, Schallers, and Spence near Foggy Bottom. On Wednesday, we met up with a friend from Juarez. Thursday I went to a going away get-together with a lot of folks in the Consular Affairs building, where I saw a lot of old friends and made a few new ones.

The week was topped off by dinner with our dear friends Cathy and Jim, who were both passing through town. We saw Cathy recently when she stayed with us in Hot Springs – she is off to Ecuador. Jim is en route from Vietnam on to Hong Kong. We met at our house, then walked over to Clyde’s in Georgetown for dinner. It was great to see them both.

Wish me luck on this new adventure!