John doing balloon animals for Community Day

John doing balloon animals for Community Day

After a long slog, I passed my Spanish test this week! This means I can go straight to Guadalajara without having to have language training at FSI. I have several people to thank: my Spanish tutor at FSI, Fabiola; my first tutor here, Eva (who called me from Florida on Friday to see if I had passed); and Susana, my last tutor who teaches Spanish at the language institute here in Pakistan. They – and all of my friends – were pulling for me and I really appreciate it! A very special shout-out for hubby John for his unending support! I am glad that stress is OVER!

The cat group that I work with here – the C’Attachés – are still doing good work. I trapped two females in the parking lot last week and got them spayed with C’Attaché funds. I’m looking for another tortie to get fixed this week. I saw her on Saturday on the Embassy compound but she refused to take the bait to get trapped! They are smart. It’s so great to see the cats on the compound thrive. The two down by my office, Ramonacita and Diego, are so funny. They mug for attention, roll in the grass, and laze in the sun – they’ve come a long way since we first found them. And they love being petted and scratched.

I mentioned in last week’s post that John and our friend David made over 250 balloon animals at Community Day – enjoy the photo above!

Before my Spanish test on Tuesday, I met my good friend Barb for a drink at the American Club. It was her last day in the office and I was sorry to miss it (I took the day off to get into the “zone” of the test) – but nice to have a farewell drink with her before my test.

We had a nice meeting with the Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan this week, Ambassador Dobbins. The mid-level officers had an informal happy hour with him on the patio one evening after work. Interesting to hear his thoughts on careers in the Foreign Service and the future of Pakistan.

I am so happy that I don’t have to study Spanish anymore – or feel guilty for not studying! Saturday I worked for a while, then went to a house party where a lovely jewelry designer and handbag vendor were in attendance. I bought a lovely tote, a wallet, and a fun red handbag – my first new handbag since I bought my beloved Bagellini bag back in 2010 before we went to Israel. It was a fun girl-fest, with all of us encouraging each other to spend, spend, spend!

Saturday night, we went to a lovely rooftop party at Carolyn and Konstantin’s – they are wonderful hosts and the weather was perfect for being outside. Afterwards, we stopped by another rooftop party to say farewell to friends from Lahore who were evac’d here last fall. Islamabad is fantastic right now – the weather is perfect, tending toward the hot side in the afternoon but great evenings. My basil and mint are coming back with a vengeance – I left a bundle on my neighbor Sarah’s doorstep when I went to pick delicious organic lettuce from her garden this afternoon. And our roses are amazing, plus pansies, petunias, and other flowers I don’t even know the names for – beautiful!

Click here to see photos of Islamabad by a really good photographer.

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