Monday, September 20, 2010


That's "hello" in Turkish. Thus far the trip is great. We just finished the lllooonnnggg drive from Pamukkale (which was really beautiful at sunset and not at all as touristy as I had feared) to Goreme in Cappadocia. Thus far we've seen ruins, cats, ruins, road, ruins, the biggest nothingness I've ever seen (the Anatolian plateau) and more ruins. Loads of pictures to share later on, and lots of stories -- about the shortcut through the industrial park, the shortcut on the dirt road, the motorcyclist we almost killed at a tollbooth. Road trips are always an adventure.

Off to bed soon. Tomorrow is a long day of mountain biking and hiking. But before I go, here's a quick photo of our trip. And yes, it's of ruins.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Next stop

Egy hideg sört kérek!

That translates to "I would like a cold beer please" in Hungarian.

Next stop: Budapest! Coming Summer 2011....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The one where I remember that the blog doesn't write itself

Hey. Hi. Sorry for not writing in a while. Work has been crazy busy and frustrating and just GRRRR! Which means I end up without any time to write, and in terribly bad moods that aren't exactly conducive to writing. And Nick was sick. And I was sick. And then sick again. And sick some more. But I made a promise to myself that I would try to do a quick update before we head out on our Turkey vacation. Three sleeps to go!

Speaking of vacation, I've noticed that there seems to be a direct correlation between the frequency with which I post in the blog and the number of days since our last vacation. When I first get back from leave, I'm not only rested, but I'm out of the loop at work. This means I am less busy, with both the time and the energy to write. So the frequency with which I post is higher. When I'm 3 months past my previous leave and 4 days away from my next, I am too tired and burned out to write. And thus the frequency with which I post is lower. Hence the monthlong gap since my last post.

Anyway, here's a quick recap of the exciting (or not-so-exciting) stuff that's been going on in our life over the past month or so:

  • We just discovered that while we are on leave, we will miss: Yom Kippur, the announcement of Nick's next post, and the season premieres of Modern Family and Glee! Trip scheduling fail.

  • Or...we might hear about Nick's next post before we go. I just heard a rumor that we could get word as early as tomorrow. Stay tuned....

  • If we don't hear before we leave, I bet they have internet in Turkey. Where we will be in 3 more sleeps!

  • Although it's been a summer of many goodbyes, I had my first really really sad goodbye on September 6, when our good friends G&S left for their next post. In addition to living across the hall from us, I worked with G in both of my offices. G and his wife S were great cooks and dinner companions, champion euchre players (I am pleased to report that the girls defeated the boys in our final showdown!), and offered a lot of wise council on life in the foreign service as a married couple. To top it all off, S was a Glee fan, and G was a video game fan. So while S and I were having our "Glee girls" nights, Nick and G were having "boys play video games where they kill enemy soldiers with big guns and OMG-did you just shoot that guy in the head?!" nights. I know that life in the foreign service means a life of many hard goodbyes. But this first one is really smarting.

  • I've been dealing with a pretty serious case of homesickness. Well, not exactly homesickness. Let's call it "normal life" sickness. A few weeks before he left post, the aforementioned G was searching for a hotel at which to stay during his brief two week training stop in DC. In a flash two of my colleagues and I were up out of our chairs, recommending hotels and neighborhoods, with arguments such as "But Hotel X is close to a WHOLE FOODS!" And we were shouting out restaurant recommendations and where to go shopping and OMG you have to go to Harry's for happy hour because they serve beer in FROSTED MUGS! Then we heard what we were saying....and realized that we were all really missing life in the U.S. See, it's not really that I love DC with all my heart. It's that I miss being able to do normal things, like going to a grocery store, or out to a bar. I can do that in any city or town in the U.S. I just can't do it HERE. I miss having things to do each day other than work.

  • I bet they have great food and grocery stores in Turkey. Where we will be in 3 more sleeps!

  • Recent field trips: Serena Hotel for G&S' going-away brunch (with sushi and lox and a dessert bar and SUSHI!); a day trip to Mazar-i-Sharif for me, and a 3-day trip for Nick; a day trip for me to Bagram airfield which turned into an overnight trip because it was raining and our planes can't fly in the rain even though it's only a 10 minute flight between Bagram and Kabul and oh screw it I'll just walk home kthxbye!; a going away dinner for another colleague at the Kabul version of TGI Fridays; brunch at Le Bistro; and a going away party at the Kabul Health Club, where we were treated to a performance by the Kabul Dreams.

  • Nick and I have grown so tired of the food that we're cooking dinner at home almost every night. We've happily rediscovered crockpot cooking, and it's amazing how useful the slow cooker has been in making delicious meals with limited access to fresh ingredients. A few weeks ago we made pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches. Last week we served slow cooker lemongrass-garlic chicken to a bunch of friends who aren't so lucky as to have a kitchen. This week it was meatballs and tomato sauce for a big pasta dinner for our hooch-dwelling friends. The weather is starting to cool down a bit, and I am already thinking about the day it will be cold enough to make Manhattan clam chowder or Mom M's Glorified Stew.

  • Did I mention that we go on leave in 3 more sleeps!? All I can think about at the moment is "turkeyturkeyturkeyturkey." I'm so over this work thing. And for those of you who are interested, the destinations for our remaining breaks are: the U.S. (November), skiing in Europe (early January), destination unknown (February), and Nepal for an Everest base camp trek (April). And then We. Are. Done! (Sorry to be whiny. Did I mention that we're going on leave soon? Hopefully a good vacation will help with my attitude). We'll have intermittent access to the internet while we're travelling, so I'll try to get a few posts up about what we're seeing and doing and eating in Turkey. Don't be surprised if all I get out is a picture and a few words (see: posts from the Singapore and Bali trip). And I will try to post pictures of subjects other than of food. Maybe.

Update: I just finished a nice 50 minute run with my friend Go. General Petraeus said we were looking good and to keep it up.