It’s a normal part of Foreign Service life but it’s new to me. In the next few weeks we’re going to be losing a bunch of the folks who have been here since I arrived. They’re moving on to bigger and better things, but I’m going to miss important parts of the Embassy family. At a small post, a good team is everything and we have a good team. Going away parties at an Italian restaurant last night, and a picnic at the Ambassador’s residence Saturday.
Of course, the other side of the coin is we will be meeting new people and integrating them into Embassy Cotonou. I’ve had the opportunity to meet several of our new arrivals already – on Facebook, by email, through their blogs, and in person, and I think we’ll continue to have a good team moving forward. Maybe we’ll even find a few good softball players.
With a four-day weekend, there is time to rehearse my speech for the press which got delayed by an unexpected holiday Friday. Thursday was already a religious holiday, and the Benin government decided (on Wednesday!) to give everyone Friday off so they could be at home for census workers putting together the voter list for next year’s elections. Unfortunately, it killed plans for a press conference and training session on the new DS-160 form we’ll be using for non immigrant visas we had scheduled for Friday morning, including my debut on Benin television.
I’m also going to do a little bit of cooking this weekend. My first attempt at Challah is becoming dough in the bread maker (I’ll take the dough out to rise and braid and bake). I’m considering making a run at potato latkes, but I need to go buy potatoes to do that and the stores are closed today, so maybe another attempt is in store for onion rings. I have a new recipe which looks good, including one for onion ring loaf like you get at rib restaurants.