Life in Beirut is fantastic, though it's much different than most of our other Embassies as all employees live on the Embassy compound. Apparently compared to other Foreign Service housing ours is very small, but I live in a charming two-story bungalow with a balcony off my bedroom that overlooks the Mediterranean. This might be a hardship post, but I'll take a sweeping sea view any day of the week!
Work has definitely been a whirlwind. My colleagues are so smart and helpful, and they've really made this transition much smoother than it could have been. One of the most heartbreaking things I've done so far is tour Palestinian refugee camps. I was part of a group observing UN-funded schools in action, and I will never forget the conditions under which the children have to study. The cramped classrooms, extreme heat, and lack of a playground don't encourage scholarship, but the students were so attentive and eager to learn. The kids-especially the girls-were eager to describe what they wanted to be when they grow up and knew how important education would be in achieving their dreams. I was so inspired by their determination-I'm not sure I would be as dedicated in similar circumstances.
Life outside of work is also busy and lots of fun. I've played on the Embassy softball team, sampled many of Beirut's tasty restaurants, and attended my first representational event: the Harley-Davidson Dealership Grand Opening. Oh yes, there's quite the Harley following here though the clientèle isn't exactly what you'd see in DC over Veteran's Day...I also attended the Spanish National Day party, and the wine and paella convinced me that Madrid needs to be at the top of my list for my second post! Yep, one month in and I'm already thinking about the next place. I need to work on this whole living in the moment thing. One way to do so is head to the spa-this is definitely a great place to pamper yourself! I indulged in a manicure, pedicure, and facial for a grand total of $65-mango mimosa included! And that's considered a bit pricey for Beirut. I plan on getting extremely spoiled while I'm here.
Well, that's the first month in a nutshell! Here's hoping that updating the blog becomes a regular occurrence =)