Movies used to have intermissions.  I think Broadway shows still do.  This is my (first) intermission from Cotonou.

I type this from a bedroom (not mine, I lived in the basement) of my Mom’s house in Annapolis, Maryland.  I’ve been back for a few days now, but it really only took a few hours to return mentally to the United States.  There are still a few slips.  Yesterday I went for Chinese food and left my baseball cap in the restaurant.  As the owner ran out to give it to me, I said “merci”.  Air France did their bit for the transition.  Between Cotonou and Paris the flight attendants mostly spoke French, but between Paris and New York, they switched to mostly English.

Up until now, this trip has centered around food.  Those of you not in the Foreign Service may not know that at some posts, you receive an extra weight allowance specifically to ship “consumables”.  Consumables are anything you use up – from tortilla chips to toilet paper (LOTS of toilet paper).  Since, unless you’ve been there before, you don’t know what is hard to get, or you’ll miss, at an overseas post, they let you do this in two parts.  So this week, I’ve been shopping for the second part.  So far, I’ve been able to find everything but canned pumpkin (still looking!) and my Mom’s dining room has a pile of stuff six by eight feet and three feet high (which compared to some piles I’ve seen photos of, is small).  It’s funny what you can and can’t find in Cotonou.  Mexican food was expected, but cream of mushroom soup was not.  Some things are no problem finding (like laundry detergent and toilet paper), but the price and/or quality makes it preferable to ship from the U.S.

The weather in the DC area has been unusually warm for this time of year, which is nice in one way but on the other hand, I left Benin to find some coolness!  Tonight I’m headed out to Nationals’ Park for a baseball game.  I was going to take in Thursday’s afternoon game, but rain is predicted.  The Nationals are off to another miserable start, but you can always enjoy the atmosphere of the ballpark and the Ben’s Chili Bowl half smokes.

My fellow Cotonou blogger Carolyn gets a demerit for sending me a work question to my personal email account.  Bad Carolyn!  I may not give Matt his hot sauce! 🙂

Cherry blossoms in full bloom!  I will probably take some photos today!

Finally, congratulations to my best friend Robert and his lovely wife Monica on the birth of their lovely baby girl.  The pictures are beautiful, but I swear Toby told me they came with hats!



Filed under Foreign Service Stuff

4 responses to “Intermission

  1. Glad you’re enjoying your time back here – and thanks so much for posting about consumables!

    The whole consumables thing is confusing to me and I’m such a perfectionist that I know I’ll approach it with total OCD crazy tendencies.

    Photos! Yay!

    And no demerits for sweet Carolyn, please? She seems like such a dear. 🙂

  2. rkolker

    Cherry blossoms almost gone around the tidal basin, so no photos, sorry. On the other hand, I did find canned pumpkin!

  3. Canned pumpkin is, indeed, to be celebrated… and will come in quite handy back at post.

    Since you promised pictures, may I ask for a picture of your consumables pile? I am fascinated by everything on the topic of consumables… But if not totally easy to do, then don’t even worry about it… no big deal!

  4. It’s Friday, and that means that the Two Month Blogiversary of the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)


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