Life Unparalleled

Loving Life as a Foreign Service Family – Current Parallel 41° 23' N – Barcelona, Spain



When we moved from Utah to DC we were able to bring 2 suitcases each plus 900 pounds of stuff from our house.  We love camping, so we made sure to fit camping gear into that 900 pounds.   Visions of Shenandoah National Park danced through my head.  Life, however, has been pretty dang busy, and we hadn’t made it out yet.  It looks like there will probably be limited camping opportunities for us in Nigeria due to security restrictions, so we wanted to be sure to get in a trip before we go.  Last weekend we found a super fun campground in Montgomery County, MD.   It is so green here in the East!

Traffic was a little crazy on our way up there.  The drive that took us 30 minutes to get home took us about 90 minutes on our way up on Friday.

We were so glad to go though.  Look how beautiful it was.

So much green!

We had a few criteria in deciding where to go: it should be close, it should be close, and it should be close.  We also wanted somewhere we could reserve, as I didn’t get out of class until late in the afternoon on Friday, and we didn’t want to have to scramble and fight for a first-come-first-serve spot.  Finally, we wanted a second spot available, so my friend Marc from my days as a scout could join us.  We ended up going to Little Bennet Campground, which was amazing!

It was a highly developed campground, but the deciduous forrest was so thick that we still felt like we had some privacy.  There were organized crafts activities for the kids, hiking trails, beautifully level tent pads, and a few special activities:



Biggest bounce house ever!


We found evidence that snakes are not only found in the west.

Very intact snake skin, we could even see the eye scales. Also, my hand for scale. Get it?

Our youngest also finally lost his first tooth.  

All in all, it was a much needed dose of vitamin “N” (nature), and a great weekend with Marc.  He and his wife have been a lifesaver for us.  Not only did he show me around DC when I was here last summer to take the Oral Assessment, they were willing to watch our 4 kids on short notice for a whole week so DyAnna could go with me to a training for emergency situations which may occur overseas.  Our kids absolutely LOVE their daughter, and I look forward to them playing together many more years into the future.  We’ll really miss them and camping for the next 2 years.

In other news, Harrison’s replacement Diplomatic Passport was finally issued, and we got our visa applications turned in.  Our travel orders and plane tickets have been issued.  Our pack-out is scheduled in 2 weeks, I have just over a week of the basic consular officer course to complete, and 4 weeks from today we’ll be landing in Lagos.  In bureaucratic bumps and bursts, the process is coming together.

One last bit of excitement coming up.  When we toured the Harry S. Truman building back in A-100 they told us about a restaurant up on the 8th floor which does a fancy lunch with great views out over the National Mall.  I have an afternoon of admin time in my schedule tomorrow, and I was able to arrange a reservation, so Dy and I get a very unique date tomorrow!


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