Farmer’s Market

August 15th, 2021
Pipas!

I stopped by the embassy farmer’s market Friday afternoon and picked up some lettuce and fresh eggs. I also had this guy chop me a coconut to drink the water inside – yum! It reminded me of the pipas in Costa Rica, and also drinking a cold one on a very hot day in Cambodia. The lettuce was really good – almost like a cross between Bibb and Romaine. John grilled steaks last night from the NGO and I made a little salad. I tried to roast frozen broccoli but it was kind of a bust – but, I also threw in some frozen green beans and they were good. I took our social sponsee Jim to the grocery store yesterday and was delighted to see purple onions and decent cauliflower.

We spent a couple of hours on the Ambassador’s veranda after work on Friday for a farewell to one of John’s employees. It was mostly local staff – John and the Ambassador gave remarks (which I missed!). We laughed because it was apparent that some of the local staff thought John was the ambassador! We pulled up chairs and visited with some folks and enjoyed a beer and the ocean breeze.

We finished “Hit and Run” and “Schmigadoon” this week – and are still enjoying “Ted Lasso”!

August!

August 8th, 2021
Sunset Saturday Night

I had a couple of social things to do this week. Last Sunday we went to a pleasant brunch at a colleague’s house to welcome the new USAID Country Director. Afterward I had my biweekly call with Ann, Pam, and Jackie where we attempt to solve the world’s problems. Saturday night, our public affairs officer and I took the USAID Country Director to a sunset dinner overlooking the beach – a nice evening with a good breeze and cold beer.

Work was busy – an adoption, students, general visa work. Matthew is back from a long absence from the office – thank goodness! I’ve never been so glad to see someone!

I love the new “no-work weekends,” too. I wish I’d been doing this the last year and a half! I finished reading “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” and also read “My Father the Pornographer” – both good reads. Saturday I ventured out to a salon to get my nails done – nice!

John and I have been watching “Unforgotten,” “Physical,” “Ted Lasso,” “Schmigadoon,” (thanks, Muffy!), “Manifest,” – and most recently, an Israeli drama, “Hit and Run.”

Dipping our toes back in

August 1st, 2021

COVID rates are declining here. Since the embassy has a high vaccination rate, we’re tentatively dipping our toes back in the socialization water. Last weekend included a local holiday on Monday, and we met a few folks at the embassy pool for a burger and a beer. Friday afternoon, the Ambassador had a small group over for a mid-afternoon happy hour. And yesterday John hosted a small group of gamers at our apartment – they had a great time and I enjoyed hostessing.

We welcomed the new USAID country director Friday night. John and I set up his house with enough groceries to get him going and met him there when he got in from the airport. I took him to the three main grocery stores yesterday and gave him a general tour around town (or as much as I could without getting lost!).

Sadly my car battery decided to die on one of the rainiest mornings we’ve had – motor pool came to my rescue, and John took care of getting me a new battery.

We finished watching “Mrs. Wilson,” which was good. We’ve been watching “Manifest,” and while it’s not as high quality as other shows, it’s an interesting premise and a no-brainer to watch!

Go Team USA!

July 25th, 2021
Evening water gathering

As I was driving home from work one evening this week, this parade of young girls carrying water passed in front of me. I’m not sure what the source of water is – sometimes around town you see wells. But everyday all around us you see people carrying water back to their homes from early in the morning to after dark.

I had a long meeting at the Ambassador’s residence on Wednesday that didn’t finish until 9:30 PM. It was interesting but really threw off my sleep schedule since I’m usually asleep by 9:30! Work was busy as usual all week. COVID numbers are declining still, so that’s good.

John and I have started putting out feelers for our next jobs. It exciting to think about the possibilities, and it’s incredibly complicated, too. I had a good video chat with the fine folks back in Consular Affairs in DC about options. I’m hoping to be able to do some kind of remote job so John can bid more broadly.

I’ve always enjoyed living overseas, but hate that I can’t just turn on the TV and watch things like tennis matches or the Olympics. I spent a good amount of time yesterday trying to figure out how to see parts of the Olympics – it’s not easy! I even signed up for a premium package that was supposed to let me watch, but it doesn’t allow a VPN nor does it allow access outside of the United States. I managed to watch parts of the women’s gymnastics this morning on a free NBC site and really enjoyed it – I’m just wishing for the good ol’ days when I could just turn on network TV and watch to my heart’s content!

John and I are enjoying rainy season. Last night he grilled us a steak and we enjoyed a coolish evening on the balcony – that sweet spot when it’s not raining and isn’t too hot. He’s been buying meat from a non-profit in town that teaches young people animal husbandry, started by an American guy.

TV-wise, we binged on “Halston” this week and really enjoyed it!

July already?

July 18th, 2021

It’s really hard to believe it’s July already! Time is moving quickly in many regards. It’s been a very rainy weekend – the sun just came out for the first time probably since last week sometime. I’ve completely enjoyed the rain – often very heavy – this weekend. And speaking of weekends, I’ve had one! For the first time since I can remember, I didn’t work on Saturday. Instead, I finished “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and started “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” (which I finished today).

John and I watched an old movie last night, “Local Hero,” that he came across somewhere – it was fun. And we’ve been laughing so very hard over a ventriloquist named Nina Conti- look for her and Monkey on You Tube. We got so into her skits that we watched her documentary, as well – fascinating (we’re adding Vent Haven in Kentucky on our bucket list…where ventriloquist “dummies” go to retire. We finished “The Valhalla Murders” and enjoyed the Icelandic scenery, and started a new season of “Unforgotten.”

COVID numbers seem to be going down here, but they are still higher than they ever were last year, so we continue to watch closely. We’re staying on skeleton staffing for now.