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2 posts from July 2015

July 14, 2015

One just can't celebrate Independence Day too much....

  Pinwheel basket

The joy of being overseas during some federal holidays is that sometimes one can have the opportunity to celebrate them more than once.   The 4th of July happens to be one of those special days. This year we've had a chance to celebrate Independence Day on three separate occasions, all of which were memorable and patriotic, whether we were wearing flip-flops or dressed to the nines.

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My office at the embassy ran the community event, as we call it, and my unofficial take is that it was quite a good time.  Whether one enjoyed the delicious pulled chicken, hung out by the pool, became a little misty-eyed during the playing of the national anthems, bounced in the brinca-brinca or worked on becoming a bungee jump master, fun appeared to be had by most (if not all).

Nick 4th of july

 

  Pool pick nick

 

Our next event was the official party for the Embassy. I will simply say that it was once again a lovely event, a chance to connect with so many, and to appreciate the beauty of celebrating our country's independence with our host country yet again. It was another unforgettable evening that ended with a spectacular display of fireworks.

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Our third event was the 4th of July itself back in the States.  Just being in the U.S. for such a holiday is a treat in and of itself. While out buying last-minute items for our celebration that night, one person asked what we were doing to celebrate Independence Day. 

My response?  "We are here!"

We had a quiet, but fun-filled day watching parades (with only mildly jet-lagged kids), hanging out with friends, eating copious amounts of delicious indulgences such as grilled bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, and watching never-ending fireworks gorgeous displays of fireworks.  There is something so heartwarming about seeing the red, white and blue decorations everywhere. Even Trader Joe's was festooned in streamers and balloons.   Simple touches that remind one she is home...

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This is as good as it gets when you have still tired travelers the day after their trip...

 

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Oh, the wrath I received for this photo....

 


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And with that, another 4th of July successfully celebrated. Next up: nothing says R&R like a little time at the beach....

 

July 05, 2015

Ah...'Murica

How we are happy to see you again...while it seems like I was only just here with Cait for her brief college tour in February (I will write about it at some point), and Peter was only in the States just last week, neither Nick nor Kelsey had not stepped on U.S. soil since August of 2014. 

So, here we are, enjoying the convenience and ease of vacation life here and the way our dollars simply fly out of our wallets to accompany said convenience.  From art supplies Cait needs for her summer intensive program to the yearning for Thai we've been missing, it's a never-ending flow.  That being said, given how regulated our expenses are overseas, the wallet-lightening is limited to once a year and therefore, well, expected and a bit easier to take.

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The weary travelers at the crack of dawn.


We were very lucky this year to arrive in time to celebrate the 4th of July in the States. A few minor snafus nearly left us in Managua and then Atlanta, two of the three being due to passport issues and, yes, the second passport issue was in Atlanta.  For some unknown reason, our boarding passes for our flight from Atlanta to BWI (no visa needed that I know of) were rejected (the double-blinking red light of no-go).  The gate attendant in Altlanta boarding the flight to BWI (yes, read that again) promptly told Peter she needed his passports (um, WHAT?). He gave them to her, and then they were rejected due to not having the proper visa.

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Okay, definitely appropriate for a traveling day. This tiny bit of humor brightened the day after several tense travel moments.


Yes, really. Apparently, we needed a visa to get to Baltimore, and not the kind that earns you Capital One points...who knew?

So, I boarded with the kids and waited for a very tense 30 minutes, while Peter inexplicably had to explain several times how we A. shouldn't need to show passports, B. do not need visas to go to Baltimore, and then wait for not one but TWO supervisors to show up in the hopes of fixing the glitch. 

Finally, he boarded, the door shut, and off we went...

Then promptly after the Super Shuttle dumped us and our 9 bags of stuff (someone felt like not using his entire R&R allotment) at the Salty Dog 'Stead, we did what anyone in their right mind would do...and headed for the Old Stein Inn so that we could satisfy three meals worth in our dinner (breakfast and lunch didn't so much happen on Friday due to the numerous snafus...but tasty spatzle made up for that quickly).  The kids got to hang, the adults sipped tasty hefe-weiss brews, and all was well with the world....

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