Two years ago, back before this life of living abroad began, my children made some friends. Our home in Utah backed against National Forest. It was lovely. So much clean land to explore with red rocks, wildlife and flowing water. One day after the kids had gone out to play they came home excited that they had made some friends who lived in a bus. I was a bit confused and mildly concerned. Oliver wanted to invite the new friends over to play so I accompanied him to go meet his new friends. They were a German family taking a year to travel around Canada, the US and Mexico in a converted school bus. They had done a similar trip around Eastern Europe and Asia a couple of years earlier. Heike and Tom along with their two daughters, Paula age 7 and Emma age 10, and their dog published books sharing their escapades along with helpful tips for others craving a similar adventure. We liked them immediately and they spoke english well enough to have a lovely conversation. We invited them for coffee and tea the next day. We enjoyed their visit and learning more about their lives abroad and at home in Germany. The kids continued to play together for the week that followed.
The day after Christmas, Dy and I gave in to the temptations of (1) willing grandparent agreeing to provide child care (2) a cheap train fare and a 1 hour train trip and (3) the desire to scratch off another country on our scratch-off map of the world, and we took a train from Vienna to Bratislava, Slovakia, for the day. It was fantastic to explore this beautiful capital city with no real itinerary, just spending some quality us time. We had heard about Bratislava from a few friends, and they all loved it. We quickly came to see why.
The view out the window of the 1 hour train ride from Vienna to Bratislava, Slovakia. Go clean energy! Continue Reading →
November and December were a whirl wind of school activities and the holidays. We hosted Thanksgiving dinner and invited some lovely friends of ours. They are from Romania and had never experienced an “American Style Thanksgiving”. I assured them they had eaten all the food before but we had a great time.
Just a note all those wine bottles are not even close to full. I had attended a ladies wine tasting a couple of days previous and my friend sent me home with some extras.
The ride to the airport was eventful. We will never fly out on a Friday again, and definitely not the Friday that school releases for Winter Holiday. It was crazy and took us about 4 hours to make the 10 mile trip. There were so many people traveling that all the airport lounges were essentially out of food. Our credit cards included airport lounge access which saves us from having to buy meals for our family of 6 when we travel. It saves us so much money. Our overnight flight was uneventful. It is so nice that the kids are old enough and have enough travel experience to be really amazing and self efficient when we travel now. What a difference 18 months makes!
When I worked as a lawyer, occasionally I would read in a national newspaper about a Supreme Court case which I knew would have an impact on my life, or something about Utah’s National parks. This was only an occasional occurrence. Since starting to work for the federal government, reading about policies which have a direct bearing on what I do from day to day has become a much more frequent event. In the current administration, immigration is a hot button issue. As a consular officer, I have been on the front lines of implementing the several iterations of travel ban by executive order. More recently, I’ve been obsessively reading about the partial government shutdown. The Department of State was one of the executive branch agencies which underwent a lapse in appropriations. Continue Reading →
We were lucky enough to host a great Hanukkah celebration again this year. We had made so many friends in the 18 months we had been here and we didn’t want to leave anyone out so we ended up with about 80 guests. A friends and colleague were gracious enough to co host with us in their great apartment. They have one of the top floor units which means almost double the floor space plus a on the roof patio that is fabulous. Ben ordered chairs and tables from the consulate warehouse. I did lots of shopping and prepared what I could ahead of time. On the day of I employed two other stewards(maids/cooks) plus Margaret to help with frying 400 latkes and 100’s of doughnuts Nigerian style called puffpuff. Guests also brought food. It was a wonderful evening. The kids ran wild and played driedle and the adults ate and ate. We felt very pensive when it was over knowing we are moving soon.
As some of you will know, over October break, 6 lucky students, plus me and then Mom as a female chaperone and my fabulous drama teacher Mark Patton had the amazing opportunity to see 7 amazing shows on this year’s school trip to London.