Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Everything comes together...or NOT!

Well, a lot has been revealed in the last 8 days. Not all of it good. First off, the worst possible scenario has come true about the dishes...they never arrived! I unpacked boxes for three solid days and each day I was sure "this" was the box with the treasure trove of dishes. NO. Not a single plate arrived. No dishes of any kind. Now I am the kind of person who collects dishes. I probably had 8 sets of dishes/china in Austin, and I loved them all. In fact, I had a set of pretty pink rose antique china that I posted on Craigslist before I left. When the lady came to buy them, I could not part with them and ended up bequeathing them to Laura instead. Me, who loves to collect dishes and serve meals on a different set each night, arrived in Africa for a two year assignment with not a single place setting. Grrrrrr! After some investigation, I discovered that the moving company (who was supposed to keep all the kitchen things in the "send no matter what" category); had actually put all 4 boxes of dishes onto a different section of the inventory and they all went into storage instead of being shipped to me. Grrrrr. Now I have to decide if I should ship them (which will take 2-3 months), buy something online, or buy something here (not a good option). Wish me luck.

I did start running again lately, so those 100 energy bars will come in handy. Yesterday I ran with a group called the Hash House Harriers. Check out their google info. They were started by a British group about 45 years ago. They run every Monday night here; on different trails through the city. They are very active all over the world. Anyway, last night I arrived late to the meeting place because for some reason as I was leaving the Embassy, my car wouldn't start. I had Motorpool take a look at it (they are right on site, which is convenient) and all it was, was a lose battery cable connection. All the bumpy roads make parts come lose. I have to get it tightened eventually with a real tool. The car got started and I was on my way. I found the meeting place but the runners had already left. There was one lone runner on the side of the road and I shouted out the car window, "Are you running with the group?" He said he was, so I asked to join him. I parked the car and jogged to catch up. We exchanged names as we started the run and I happened to ask him how his weekend was. He nonchalantly says, "oh, I just got back last night from hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro." What irony! Just when I'm trying to get back into running, I end up running with some ultra runner who hikes Mt. Kilimanjaro in his spare time! As I began to get short of breath because we were climbing a mammoth hill, I informed him that I run 12 minute miles and since I could not possibly keep up with him, he should just run right on ahead of me! He smiled that pensive expert runners smile and said of course not! He stayed right with me the whole time; even when I had to walk up another hill that looked like a training run for Mt. Kilimanjaro. The total run was about 45 minutes long (which is about double what I have been running by myself on the nice flat beach!) and we got to know each other a little. He is from Iowa originally and he even has a name from the Midwest; Brian Larson. He works for C.A.R.E and has been with them for a long time. Said he took the bar and practiced law for a while, but didn't want to spend his life like that. Nice guy and he really was patient with me during the run. After the run, the group meets back together and sings silly songs and drinks beer. Crazy, but good way to meet new people.

I just spent the last part of my evening doing laundry and ironing 5 shirts. Before moving here, I can't think of the last time I ironed anything. There was such a thing as "dry cleaning" in Texas. Perhaps you have heard of it? Well, there is no dry cleaning here. Nada. I guess I will be ordering some Dryelle from Drugstore.com soon.

Speaking of things we don't have....beauty shops. The lady who cuts hair has been gone for 2 months on holiday. I have not had my hair cut since April when I was in DC. That's 4 months ago!! The other day, I actually took the little tiny scissors off my Swiss army pocket knife and trimmed my bangs. I could not stand it any longer. When we were in OMS training in DC, many of my OMS classmates commented on why all the OMS's who had been in FS for a while, seemed to have awful haircuts. They must have spent too much time in African countries and lowered their standards!!

Speaking of dishes...I had my first real party on Thursday night. Yes, that would be a few days after I discovered I didn't have anything to serve on! I had already planned the party and sent the invitations out. I went out and bought 30 plates from the local grocery store. The plates were sort of like "seconds" that you can get at china factories in Europe. There I am in the aisle, carefully inspecting each plate to find 30 "good" ones, when the power goes out. Of course, it's totally dark and I can't remember where I set my purse! No worries, the power came back on when the generator re-started. Everyone is used to it here, but it still surprises me. The party was a huge success and everyone had a good time. It was a going away party for a nice young man who was at the Embassy for a 3 month assignment. He was smart and capable and kind and funny and he reminded me a lot of Ryan.

I better get some sleep. It's midnight here, which is pretty typical for me. Oh, I have been trying to watch some of the Olympics but every single time I turn on the t.v., it's boxing and I HATE boxing!

Hope all is well with you in your corner of the world,

1 comment:

Sophie said...

Hi! I found your blog via Digger's "Life in Jerusalem" blog. I just finished law school and took the Foreign Service written exam last week. Now I am eagerly waiting for my results! I was wondering if you have any contact information for your running friend who works for C.A.R.E.? If I am not accepted into the Foreign Service, I would love to become a part of such an organization. Thank you!