Sunday, October 6, 2019

Home Leave 2019

For foreign service employees, there is a congressional mandate to return to the United States between foreign assignments as a way to reconnect with American culture and values.  It's also a great time to visit family and friends and take care of the things that may have been put off for the past couple of years, like the dermatologist and dentist - or that pesky colonoscopy.

Our home leave itinerary was:

  • Washington, DC for consultations and training
  • Provincetown, Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Southern Vermont and NW Massachusetts
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Bangkok for consultations
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia
We left Bamako right as scheduled on July 25.  Cosmo did great on the flight to Paris as well as the flight to Washington, DC.  He pretty much slept the whole way (this would become a theme for all of his flights).

In DC I had a week of consultations with various areas of the State Department.  For my fellow foreign service colleagues, don't skimp on your consultations.  This is a great opportunity to meet people - even if they don't have anything directly related to your next assignment.  It's also a good excuse to meet up with colleagues and friends from past posts.  In this career, you never know who you may end up serving with in a future assignment, or who knows whom who can help you get that coveted Rome posting later on.  Networking is not something that comes naturally to me, so I've had to work at it.  But it pays off in the long run.

A Bamako reunion with Sena and Keith 

The Washington Monument 

Cosmo and Haechi had a reunion, too. 

We found another Bamako alumni - Andrew.

After DC the real home leave began.  We were off to Provincetown, MA for three weeks, coinciding with Carnival.  This year's theme was "Enchanted Forest".

 Anchors aweigh, Cosmo!

 Leaving Boston for Provincetown on the fast ferry.

 First show - Bob the Drag Queen

 Bob the Drag Queen's show.

 Cosmo on the beach.

 Flags flying at The Harbor Lounge.

 "Shady Pines, Ma!"  We ran into Dorothy and Sophia at tea dance.

 Markle and the Bobs at tea dance.

 It's golden, rainbow hour.

 with David at Ciro and Sal's.

 Sharks sighting are on the increase around Cape Cod.

Cosmo seems less than thrilled at our Carnival costumes.

 Provincetown Carnival 2019

  Provincetown Carnival 2019

  Provincetown Carnival 2019

 Provincetown Carnival 2019 

  Provincetown Carnival 2019

  Provincetown Carnival 2019

  Provincetown Carnival 2019

 Trixie Mattel in Provincetown.

 Mark's sister, Susan, with Mark in Provincetown.

 Mark and Cosmo.

 With Miss Richfield 1981 at Carnival 2019

 Highland Light in Truro, MA.

 Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown, MA.

 Mark and Michael at Cafe Heaven.

 Entering the Seashore.

 Along the Provincelands Dune Trail in Provincetown, MA.

The Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, MA.

After PTown we drove up to stay with friends in Sebago, Maine for a couple of days, then over to southern Vermont and NW Massachusetts for a few more days.

 Mountain view from Greyrocks in Sebago, Maine.

 Hancock Pond near Sebago, ME.


At the Clark Museum in Williamstown, MA. 

Veterans' War Memorial Tower on Mount Greylock, Adams, MA 

Mark and his twin brother, Michael, on Mount Greylock.

From there is was on to Oklahoma City for more family and finally Los Angeles before leaving the USA.

With giraffes at the Oklahoma City Zoo. 

Good to see that my alma matter is still looking out for the bald eagles at the OKC Zoo. 

At Drag Gospel Brunch in OKC. 

Mark and our new grand niece, Brinley.

I had two days of consultations at the regional financial center in Bangkok before arriving in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Wat Prayurawongsawat Worawihan in Bangkok, Thailand.

Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand.

 Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand.

 Golden Buddha at Wat Kanlayanamit in Bangkok.

 On a bicycle tour in Bangkok.

Who wants some durian?

Our home for the next three years - Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

 Our closest neighbor.

 Our apartment in Phnom Penh.

 This couch is Cosmo approved.

 Rooftop pool at our apartment building.

Along the Phnom Penh riverfront one morning.

The view from our rooftop - yes there is a tapas bar on our roof.