First week – check!

The Liberator catching the evening sun

We made it through our first week successfully! Most of the week was just doing our check-in process, including meeting (separately) with the Ambassador and Acting Deputy Chief of Mission. John had his first country team meeting on Tuesday – I went to be introduced (I’ll be in charge of the consular section for the next five weeks while my new boss goes on vacation). My boss took me to a coffee shop to meet contacts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs one morning – there’s already a lot going on I need to get up speed on.

John and I are staying in a temporary apartment – it’s OK but small and pretty bare bones. We annexed the studio apartment next door so we would have two bathrooms and space for both of us to dress for work. John and I ate in the cafeteria every day – they have a pretty good menu including some nice salads. Everyone seems nice so far – the consular section is about 50 people, which is much, much bigger than Monrovia. It will take some time to learn everyone’s names, for sure! Unlike Monrovia, the embassy here is old and we outgrew it probably decades ago. I have an office of sorts – they erected a glass enclosure around my desk, chairs, credenza, safe, etc but the glass doesn’t go to the ceiling so there is really no privacy, and one side of it opens to some weird kind of space above the radiators. That said, I’m happy to have more than a cubicle! We walked to work the first couple of days, but John dropped something really heavy on his foot and is in quite a bit of pain when he walks, so we switched over to taxis to get back and forth (it’s about a 20-minute walk from our temporary apartment).

My boss took us to his house Friday night – a lovely house with a yard and small pool – then we went to an Italian restaurant for dinner with his wife. They are both very nice, and we enjoyed seeing a completely new part of town. Families often live in the suburbs near the school, and while the houses and neighborhoods are nice, it’s quite the commute with a lot of traffic – so I’m very happy we’re downtown.

I explored some on my own this weekend – got a manicure, went to a couple of different grocery stores, etc. This morning I walked to the embassy and worked out in the gym. I hate getting out of my gym routine, and am still trying to figure out what to do while we’re in the temporary apartment. The weather is pretty chilly, especially in the mornings. It’s been kind of overcast and damp, too, but today was nice and sunny.

I also got some reading done – I finished “All that Remains,” a book by Sue Black about her work as a forensic anthropologist (with a lot about death, of course) and am now reading “Wordslut” by Amanda Montell.

Here are some photos from home leave taken at The Momentary contemporary art museum and Crystal Bridges in Fayetteville.

Howard Finster
The Frank Lloyd Wright House at Crystal Bridges
The oak hydrangeas at Crystal Bridges were beautiful
Just a bike outside The Momentary

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