Merry Christmas!

With Christy, John, Amy, Rick, Carla and Mike Christmas Day

We spent Christmas with a few good friends from John’s section at work. We took the lazy way out and went to the Serena Hotel for their brunch, complete with Pakistani Santa ho-ho-o-ing around. Mike and Carla hosted us for before and after cocktails, and along with Rick, Amy and Christy, we formed our own little family to celebrate. It was a great day!

On Christmas Eve, we were officially off work, but we went in for a while anyway to get some things done. In the afternoon, we watched a few episodes of “Homeland,” then we got dressed and went to a couple of parties.

First, we stopped by the Ambassador’s residence for a bit, then we went to Frank and Lita’s for one of their famous fire pit parties – lots of lawn chairs in the front yard, gathered around their fire pit. They’re great cooks as well – shrimp bisque, chili, and a yummy turkey stew, all served up with cornbread. Couldn’t get much better! Afterward we went to Rick’s for after dinner drinks with him and Amy – a ¬†good day!

Sunday was also fun – Konstantin had us over for a rooftop party. We were in A-100 with his wonderful wife Carolyn. We met a lot of new folks and enjoyed food good and drink sitting on his rooftop.

Wednesday, it was back to work and a crazy day – well, pretty crazy the rest of the week, just trying to get caught up. Thursday after work I had drinks at the Club with my old friend Jason from Juarez days – so fun to yak with him. He was in Consular but now is in another section, and he’s always a hoot to visit with.

Thursday I had lunch with Jim and Kellee at the French Club, across the street from our Embassy. Friday it turned chilly and rainy. John has now moved from Housing into Procurement, and his team took us out to dinner Friday night for a traditional Pakistani meal at a neat restaurant.

Yesterday, we worked in the morning. My visa section was trying very hard to get some Pakistani students to the U.S. in time to start their January semester, so I went in to the office to get some visas out the door. After that, we tried a new spa – “Madame X,” as my friend Luke would say. It’s new, still in growing pains. The generator wasn’t being cooperative while we were there (now we are in rolling blackouts because of electric heating) – but finally the lights and heat came on. We’ll give it another shot, but they have a ways to go!

Saturday night, Rick and Amy came over for drinks, then we went to the Polo Lounge for a nice meal. It’s basically an outdoor restaurant, but in the winter they set up tents and heaters and it’s quite pleasant.

This morning, I ventured out on my own to the market – I was quite proud of myself, although there was no traffic and nothing to be afraid of, but I haven’t really driven around much outside of the Diplomatic Enclave by myself. ¬†John got his meat smoker, and is enjoying being outside this afternoon smoking up three chickens for New Year’s Day – he’s back in his element and having fun!

It’s gotten chilly here, and Flavia is quite happy that we’ve turned on the electric blanket at night. In the mornings, she normally runs to her food bowl when I get up, knowing that breakfast is on the way. But with the cold weather, she’s been jumping instead on her favorite chair, because I turn on the heat in that room while I am getting dressed and the blower blows directly on her sleeping spot. With the scarcity of electricity, we only turn on the heat while we are in a room (no central heat or air) – I guess she’s decided that being warm is more important than eating!

Mr. Khan has cut back all of the roses, and is preparing to put in pansies and petunias, so our garden will look different soon. Right now it looks a little sad because he’s also dug up all of the marigolds (they are big here, about 3″ across).

Wreath with flowers from our garden




We hope all of our friends and family had a great holiday – it’s tough being this far away, but we’ve made such good friends that it makes being away a lot easier. I’ve enjoyed my Christmas present from Aunt Bonnie this year – necklace and earrings from Uncle Vince’s rockhound collection, and I’ve loved wearing my hand-loomed wool scarves from John’s great aunt Leanah – memories that money just can’t buy.

Rick and Santa

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