The last week or so has been particularly active around the hive. One thing I never knew about the Foreign Service before I joined was that their transitions are seasonal. Most people are hired and transfer from post to post in the summer. A few go in the winter, but they usually try to switch to the summer season, since summer has the largest amount of openings and therefore the biggest selection on the bid list.

We arrived at post in August, and there were at least half a dozen people that arrived after us. Most of the positions we’d filled had been vacated weeks or months beforehand. Turnover and on-the-job training from your predecessor are somewhat rare, I’m discovering. But happily, most embassies run the same way and by the same rules. So unless you’re switching departments or job positions, the learning curve is usually the highest at your first post and then levels off some.

We’ve only had one person’s family leave since we arrived, and that was my immediate supervisor’s. So we got to attend their going-away party thrown by friends they’d had at post, and then we threw him a little going-away party at work. There were lots of Good Wishes and Happy Travels and Good Lucks at Your Next Post, as well as a nice stack of plaques and awards in appreciation of two years of fine service. In retrospect, we probably should’ve done the presentations before he had all of his HHE packed out. Poor guy couldn’t fit it all in his suitcase. So we’ll be mailing it to him on the slow boat. 🙂

The whole thing was interesting to witness just because it’s the first of many good-byes we’ll have as we eventually depart this and future posts. It was sad saying good-bye to the friends I’d made in orientation in DC. And here, the office already feels the absence. At least most of the people that are here at the moment will be here for the duration of our stay in Belize.

One of my friends mentioned that when they first arrived, everyone was leaving so they weren’t interested in making new friends. And the energy at post has changed considerably with the influx of new people that want to have a productive and fun next two years. It reminds me of the seasonal transitions when we worked in the Antarctic. If you arrived at the beginning of summer, you shouldn’t even try to speak to someone who’d just spent the winter and was on their way out. They’d more than likely stab you with a fork in the galley anyway. 😉

My family has been on the move as well. My husband left a few days ago to spend three weeks with his family before the holidays. And my mom came down last week and is visiting for two months. Happily, the cat and the baby aren’t going anywhere…and my hubby was here for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was lovely. The DCM invited everyone to her house, which would’ve been lovely to attend. But we figured we’d spend the entire evening chasing our son around so he didn’t break her nice things. So instead, we joined forces and had a Toddler Thanksgiving hosted by our lovely neighbors who also have a little one. (That’s three “lovelies” in one paragraph, time to get out the thesaurus.) There was one other family in attendance, and they have two children under five. So it made for a good playdate. And the grown-up company and food was fantastic as well. We had turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoe pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie, rolls, asparagus casserole, and lots of wine.

We contributed the mashed potatoes and the pumpkin pie. There are no premade pie crusts in the entire country of Belize…honestly, there might be. I didn’t even look…I just assumed. So I got to make my first pie crust from scratch! It was tasty enough, but I would give it a solid B for presentation. Next time I’ll know to make it larger than the recipe calls for so that it’ll actually cover the entire pan.

Another first in the food department was the asparagus casserole. Sometimes I wonder how I’ve managed to make it to the ripe old age of 21 (ha! ya) and never have tried certain things. Asparagus casserole is one of them. It was so good…I had two portions…and am so copying that recipe.

Happy belated Thanksgiving everyone!

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