Saturday, June 26, 2010

Home Leave In Pictures

Sometimes you just can't adequately express how things are in words. It takes pictures. So, here are some pictures of my Home Leave so far. Hawaii...Grandchildren, gorgeous flowers and beautiful scenery. Fort 95 year old father.

Micah is in his swimming pool, showing me his form on a boogie board and Makana is just looking all innocent. He's so cute...

Below is me with the beautiful NaPali coast of Kauai in the background. More pictures of our
day long catamaran trip, cruising up and down the coast of Kauai. It was wonderful...I highly recommend Capt. Jack's NaPali cruises. Great drinks, great food and a very entertaining crew. And of course, some breathtaking scenery.

We saw dolphins making an attempt to play around the front of the boat,
never quite figuring out which was the front and back of it. We saw gorgeous light shining on the cathedral-like peaks of the coastline. It was just a wonderful 6 hours on the water.

My son Bobby and his son Gavin enjoying the cruise.

And lastly, my wonderful Dad in Fort Worth, Texas. Last night he was all smiles as TCU won their game against UCLA. As I write this, UCLA is way ahead of TCU but we'll see how it ends. I sure hope TCU wins.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Home Leave, Phase 2, Texas Style

It's been a little over 2 weeks since I left Hawaii and arrived in Fort Worth. It's been great seeing my Dad again, as well as many other friends. Some of my friends include Mr. Macy, Mr. Hobby Lobby, Ms. Coldwater Creek and others, who had no trouble communicating with my credit card! Today the movers packed up all my purchases and they are on the way to Oman. Now the hard part will be to not buy anything else since my suitcases are already at about 47 pounds each and can't go over 50 or else it will cost me! I guess there's always the postal service. Monday my car will be picked up and sent onward also. In about 2 months, I might see everything again!

Since I've been here in Fort Worth, I've made a point of hitting all my favorite foodie places (BBQ, burger, steak, ice cream) and should be OK for another year. There's an artichoke in the fridge waiting for me to cook it, which I think I will do for lunch tomorrow. Yummm....I wonder if there are artichokes in Oman?

Monday, June 28th I fly to Washington DC. I will be attending some training there as well as meeting up with some new friends, a very old friend and having a face to face meeting with some of the people in DS who, for the past 2 years, I've been in contact with from Honduras. I also plan on meeting the corresponding desk officer for Oman. And I'll do my best to not wander in to anyplace where I can spend money!

Tomorrow is my birthday and it's nice to be home with my Dad to celebrate it. It won't happen again for a while. Dad is 95 and I swear, he hasn't aged a day since I left for Honduras in March of 2008....he's ageless! While I was in Honduras, I was able to make a few flights home to Texas at a reasonable cost. However, the same won't be true when I'm in Oman. A flight home will be way out of my budget so the next time I'll be here will be in a year or so.

I really miss everyone in Honduras. I knew I would and many of them are on Facebook so staying in touch will be easy. I still miss them. It was a really good first post and I learned so much from so many. I can't wait to get to Oman and start learning much more.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Looking Back...Looking Forward

My time in Honduras is now a thing of the past. It'sa good past, full of wonderful memories, lessons learned and so many people I'm glad to call my friends. I wouldn't trade my 2 years in Tegucigalpa for anything. As a 'first post' I couldn't have asked for anything more. Under the guidance of my great boss, Ted, I learned so much about security in an embassy. Whether he knows it or not, I learned much more from him, things you just don't learn in a book or from a class at FSI. I will miss his leadership and can only hope he is an example of what most RSOs are like. The difficulties we faced in Honduras were many but in dealing with each one, Ted went about it with confidence, calm and the knowledge that he was doing the right thing. I'll miss you Ted, and feel so fortunate to have worked with you.

Right now, I'm in Phase 1 of my Home Leave. As I sit here, I can hear the ocean and smell the salty breezes. The island of Kauai is indeed a bit of Paradise. My son lives here and visiting with him, Nicole, his wife, and my amazing 3 grandsons, Gavin and the twins, Micah and Makana, makes for the perfect Rest and Relaxation. Yesterday was Gavin's first day of preschool. He loved it and was looking forward to returning today. I stayed with Micah and Makana yesterday while my son and Nicole worked and we had a great time. I now know who Thomas, Percy and Emily are but can't figure out why the boys fight over who gets Percy. For those of you with no exposure to Thomas the Train, this will mean nothing to you, as it did to me before coming here. My son bought a huge box of miscellaneous cars, engines and tracks on Ebay and the boys sit and build tracks for hours on end. At just 2 years old, this is huge! I wonder what they did before to occupy their time? For more pictures of my stay on Kauai, go to my Facebook page.

Phase 2 begins Monday when I fly to Fort Worth, Texas for 3 weeks. My father lives there and I will spend lots of time with him. I'll also see many of my friends and catch up on what's been going on with them for the past 2 years. I'll also spend some times with other good friends, like Mr. Macy, Mr. Dillard's and Mr. Williams Sonoma! I'll be buying another car to ship to Oman and clothes for some very hot weather. And I already have a list of the places I want to eat...I can't wait for a good Mexican meal!

Phase 3 starts with my flight to Washington DC on June 28th. While there, I will take some classes in SharePoint and Excel. I'll meet with some of the people in Diplomatic Security that I may speak with while I'm in Oman, as well as some of the Directors for Western Hemisphere who I have dealt with over the past 2 years. Just putting a face on the name will be a good thing. I'll also be in DC for the July 4th celebration, which should be lots of fun.

Finally, on July 18th, I fly out of JFK headed for Muscat, Oman. The first stop is in Zurich, Switzerland where I will spend the night and most of the next day. I hope I have time to wander around and see something pretty enough to photograph. Then I fly into Dubai, which should be a sight to see with all the unusual buildings and man-made islands. After a 2 hour layover, I fly to Oman, landing at 10:45 PM, when it will most likely be 100 degrees. Being the eternal optimist that I am, I can only hope that over the next 2 years, I will be able to sweat off a few pounds!

So, farewell to a wonderful stay in Honduras and looking forward to an amazing 2 years in Oman. What a life!