Archive for February, 2022

Happy anniversary to us!

Sunday, February 27th, 2022
Amen Pharmacy and a ke-ke (very popular means of transportation)

John and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary on Thursday – wow! We treated ourselves to delivery sushi and started watching a new season of “Young Wallender” – a perfect evening for us!

We had a visiting Congressional delegation (CODEL) on Monday – yep, Monday was a federal holiday but John and I were in business clothes at the Embassy to meet them. Several are members of HFAC – House foreign affairs committee. In total there were seven, including Omar from Minnesota. She and a couple of the others were very interested in my short consular briefing and asked follow-up questions about adoptions and US teens who get abandoned in Liberia by their parents — this seems to be a Liberian thing and I haven’t seen it elsewhere. When they hit puberty and start getting into trouble in the US, their Liberian-born/US-naturalized parents bring them back here to live with family. The kids are usually unhappy because they’ve grown up in the US and are at a complete loss back here — and end up on the Embassy’s doorstep asking for help. It’s quite sad but there is little we can do (since they are minors) other than try to mediate with the family both here and back in the US. Anyway, it really caught the attention of the Representatives.

Other than a small thing back in 2009, John and I had never participated in a CODEL (or the Presidential delegation — PDEL — the previous week). They are planned in excruciating detail – every movement, every meeting, every contingency is choreographed- which makes for some really long video calls in the run-up to the visit. I can’t imagine all the man-hours that were spent on the one-day visit. Luckily I only had to do my briefing at mid-day and didn’t have other duties.

Last Sunday, I learned that one of my cousins died in a car crash. She was about to turn 28. Mom was always very fond of her. I didn’t know her much as an adult, but my heart goes out to the family.

I had a quick chat with Jackie, Jamie, and Beth while they were at Pinnacle Mountain yesterday – it was fun to talk for a few minutes and see them all bundled up and out for a walk.

John and I finished “Inventing Anna” and also got caught up on a British show, “COBRA.” I really enjoyed Julia Garner in “Anna” – it’s a great story and she’s just so fun to watch.

Flavia in her favorite place

Happy Valentine’s Day

Sunday, February 20th, 2022

Valentine’s Day was a little different this year as the embassy welcomed visitors from Washington on Monday. The crisis in Ukraine changed the names of the people who came to get briefings from embassy staff and to attend an event sponsored by the government of Liberia. Liberia has planned a lot of celebrations based on the 200th anniversary of the return of freed slaves from American to this land that would be eventually become the country of Liberia. The government keeps referring to it as their “bicentennial” but it’s not the bicentennial of the country – but no one seems to want to parse that difference. My favorite visitor in the three-person delegation was the Secretary of the Smithsonian, Lonnie Bunche. I had a few minutes to chat with his about the ”Sidedoor” Smithsonian podcast (we share a favorite episode about Apollo 13).

Fangirl with Secretary Bunche

Now that COVID rates are going down a bit, I ventured back to the salon this week, treating myself to leaving the office early (!) one afternoon. Last night, we were invited to a small dinner party (!!) at a co-worker’s home. She is Moroccan and made my favorite lemon-olive-chicken dish. It was fun to socialize with the couple and another guest; they also have two cute kids who enjoyed a couple of magic tricks from John. The smaller girl helped John with a magic trick several months ago when we had a talent show. When her mom told her that John was coming to dinner, and that John is mom’s boss, the little girl was amazed that her mother was so lucky to have a magician for a boss (!!!) – she’s quite adorable.

We’ve been watching the wonderful Julia Garner in “Inventing Anna” on Netflix this week – I’m totally hooked on it. I finished reading “Atonement” — so good — and just started a book of essays by A.S. Byatt (not as fun a read for me).

We also wished Pete a happy 86th birthday this week!

On the drive home

Not an ordinary week

Sunday, February 13th, 2022

For starters, the grocery store had broccoli this week – it’s only about the third time I’ve seen it here. It wasn’t as nice as what you would get at the store at home, but roasted up, it was still pretty tasty! Quite exciting!

The week was filled with more emergencies with American citizens – it’s like a full moon or something. We’re dealing with some very tough cases. Two of us from the consular section went to a small private burial of a U.S. citizen this week where I said some words and read a poem/prayer.

Friday was a local holiday. I worked from home most of the day, just trying to get caught up a bit. We’re heading into the season where we have lots of annual reports due and employee evaluations – busy time.

Last Sunday I had a good video chat with Ann, Pamela, and Jackie, and another with David. Mary and I talked yesterday when she called to tell me a mutual friend Donna had died – very sad. I hadn’t seen her in years, but liked her and her husband very much.

Today would have been Mom’s 97th birthday. Miss you.

Crazy week

Sunday, February 6th, 2022

This was one of the craziest weeks I’ve had in Monrovia — which is saying something. We were just incredibly busy handling simultaneous emergencies and competing priorities. The days flew by.

The good news is that COVID rates appear to be going down here, so we are easing restrictions a bit. John had a few people over yesterday to play board games – it was fun to have people in the house again. They had a great time with lots of laughter.

John and I finished the first part of the new season of “Ozark” and watched a great Israeli show, “False Flag.” I finished reading “The Bettencourt Affair,” about the family in-fighting over the L’Oreal cosmetic company fortune – it was a good read but the family is so rich that it was hard to comprehend the sums of money involved.