silver linings

Since things aren’t coming together for the Portugal immersion trip in November, we’ve decided to plan for a little getaway after language training has ended and the holidays have passed.  Some relaxation and 4-5 days of surfing lessons in Puerto Rico, seems like a rational decision since it’s a fairly popular Luandan past time. (So technically this is all very responsible “well-being at post” preparation, right?)  I also have a dear friend who lives in San Juan. She has generously offered up her gorgeous, 2 blocks from the beach, home.  Since this trip will include our anniversary (NYE), I imagine we’ll seek out a little boutique hotel for an evening or two splurge. This has been exhausting for Snakes (the language training…not our marriage, I swear!) and he (we) could really use a few days to decompress. It won’t be long until we’re plucked from our cozy comfort and seemingly boundless freedom and shipped to the other side of the world with the promise of comforts to follow within the next 3-6 months.

If you sensed a little anxiety in that last bit, then you’re spot on. To be honest, after the initial shock (okay, and horror) of getting our post assignment wore off, I hadn’t given it much more thought.  The night before last I was lying in bed reading the welcome packet and other info we’ve printed from the Overseas Briefing Center.  It’s pretty sobering. It also should be noted that in the last post I mentioned a new apartment building pretty close to the embassy. It’s pure speculation that we will be living there. It’s been “almost ready” for about 3 years now from what I’ve heard so whether it’ll be good to go by March is anyones guess.

I think what’s most troubling to me so far is that I (allegedly) won’t be allowed to move around the city at will.  My life has been spiced so deliciously by my curiosity and independence. Oh, but the things I’ve taken for granted! I suppose the worst case scenario is that I am confined to our apartment/house for those two years, let out only on the weekends, part of a giant expat caravan rolling toward the surf with my eyes wild open and head hanging out the window. On a more serious note, it could prove to be an incredibly creative time without all of the fabulous distractions I imagine are offered by an overcrowded sub-Saharan metropolis.

We went to the Renwick Gallery this past weekend to see The Art of Gaman Exhibit. It’s a collection of the art, crafts and decoration created by the Japanese Americans confined to internment camps during World War II.  The word gaman is a Japanese word that means “to bear the seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience.” This sentiment is so beautiful, inspiring and humbling. And I, clearly, have so much to learn.


This piece is from the permanent collection upstairs at the Renwick Gallery. I can't remember the title or artist, but it's made from silk fibers. I could've spent ALL DAY in the Gallery gift shop's book section.



5 thoughts on “silver linings

  1. I think PR sounds great! You’ll just get to relax and actually enjoy yourselves the whole time… no classes, no feeling obligated to get out there and use your language skills, etc. I approve!

    Also, I’m hoping Angola turns out to be better than advertised. I’m sure there are people who would be terrified to get out there and explore Detroit; comfort levels are relative. Of course, it’s different when you’re associated with the USG and there are RSOs setting parameters and such for you, but still.

  2. Oh my Sweet Pea! I know you,… a caged bird you are not! I believe that your independence and curiosity will still bring you remarkable experiences, even in Angola…. Besides, your a master of disguise and blending. I can just see you in the markets wrapped in native sarongs, a dark tan glistening, bangles jingling and your curls gone wild! Worldly, Refined, and don’t forget about Sly….. Choose your African name with charisma and move like the gypsies!!!!!

  3. alex- I agree with the “living/working/biking all over Detroit” thing and that it is a matter of perspective but I also know I’ve always been a risk taker and need to work on refining that!
    summer- you’re bonkers and you make me laugh. I think the closest I’ve ever had to a “dark glistening tan” is an aloe sheen trying to cool a wicked sunburn, oh! and then there was that tangle with self-tanner in the 80s, but I don’t think that qualifies since I was more oompa loompa than anything.

  4. The quote “to bear the …….with dignity and patience” should help you through whatever dark days are ahead in Angola. It should help all of us when we start to complain, etc. And it might just not be as difficult as you fear….You are strong and wise and will experience so many things that will make you even wiser and stronger!

    1. V- I am so lucky to have you in my life! Thank you for everything always. Looking forward to lunching together in a couple of weeks. Xoxo e

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