Monthly Archive for June, 2010


Flooding seems to be a recurring theme in my life lately. Last week I was buried under a flood of boxes. I’d say that they are fully unpacked… but well, that would be a complete lie. I still have about 8 boxes left to be unpacked. I’m amazed at how much junk I brought. I forgot that I had about 3 junk drawers which were basically dumped straight into boxes and I think the time to deal with them has finally come. I’ve been attempting to sort and throw away as I go through them so it has been a slow process.

The second flood was of the more typical kind. Saturday morning I was awoken at 4am by my community’s guard telling me that there was massive quantities of water leaking out of my garage. It’s amazing how much Spanish I don’t speak at 4am, so it took me a few minutes to figure out what the heck was going on when he rang my bell. Sure enough though, massive quantities of water were flooding out of my garage on to the street. With the help of the guard I managed to get the top off water tank and turn off the water to the house so it would stop flooding. Apparently one of the pipes broke. Thankfully the consulate facilities maintenance people rigged it so I had a little water for Sunday and had the system fixed by Monday night. Which is when the next flood came! After weeks of seeing some terrific “thunderstorms” where the wind blows and two drops fall, it was kind of a surprise to see a massive deluge of rain fall last night. This morning the streets were so flooded I wasn’t sure I was going to make it in my little honda civic. I hear that this is normal during the rainy season, which means I might need to get an inflatable raft to make it work.

The Cathedral of Guadalupe in downtown Juarez

The weekend after my HHE arrived I also finally got out into Juarez. The CLO arranged a city tour, so we were able to get out and see the center of the city and one of the markets. The city itself isn’t that bad actually. My biggest complaint about El Paso is that it is a very flat city. Being used to cities like Baltimore and New York, I don’t feel like I’m in a city until I see tall buildings and dirty, gritty streets. Juarez feels more like a real city to me. Work itself has also been interesting. I’m actually enjoying working on the visa line, which is a good thing since I’m consular coned and there will be a lot of visas in my future.

Adventures in unpacking

The mountain of boxes waiting to be unpacked in my office.

So unpacking started off with me ripping open a box labeled “kitchen” unwrapping the first item, hoping to see some long forgotten treasure…. I was greeted with an empty, used milk carton. It’s like finding a lump of coal in your stocking. Other delightful adventures include unwrapping a carton labeled “cat pole” to find my didgeridoo. I’m relieved on that one, I wasn’t sure what a “cat pole” was and I was a little frightened. I’ve also discovered that I own 4 cork screws. 11 boxes down…. 43 more to go!

Those three magic words

Today I received an e-mail with those magic words that fill every overseas FSO’s heart with joy, “your HHE arrived.” My happiness knows no bounds. I’m not sure which makes me happier, the thought of being reunited again with my treadmill or my corkscrew. Okay, well that’s a lie, I do know which brings me more joy, but both excite me just the same. Now I just have to wait until Friday.

Getting lost

One of the unfortunate realities of moving to a new place is that you spend a fair amount of time in your first few weeks getting lost. Juarez is kind of dusty and flat and there aren’t a huge number of things in the part of town that make good land marks so I’ve been using billboards and signs. Tragically, there is going to be an election in about 2 weeks so the signs keep changing! I almost missed my house again today because between this morning and afternoon someone went out and stuck up a bunch of signs for a candidate and thanks to all signs I couldn’t see the entrance to my complex until I was pretty much on top of it. I suppose on the bright side I’ve seen a much larger swath of Juarez than I intended thanks to all getting lost, but Dear Juarez, it’d really appreciate it if we could have a little stability when it comes to advertisements.  Every time an ad gets changed, that’s another 10 minutes on to my commute time while I try to readjust and figure out where the heck I am.

White Sands

While Juarez might not be the awesomest city in the world, it is near a lot of cool stuff that I’ve been dying to see. One of those is White Sands! I had planned to go about 2 weeks ago until I saw that it was 110 degrees out… I opted to go to Mesilla that weekend instead to check out the galleries and shops. Today the high was a more reasonable 90ish. I was so excited about seeing White Sands that when I spoke with my sister today I mentioned the trip. She asked “oh, so what’s there?”

“Um…. white sand.”

Silence. Okay,  so maybe the world isn’t as enthralled by rocks and dirt as I am but I did major in Geology and I stand by my verdict. This is a seriously cool place. The trip took a little over an hour. I started off by doing a 1 mile “nature walk” through the dunes and some of the interdune area. It is amazing how quiet it is out there and how blindingly white the sand is.

There is a nice drive that takes you to the heart of the sands, where there is just basically, heaps, and heaps of white sand. That’s where everyone sleds or golfs apparently. I spotted a golf ball in one of the piles of sand. During the drive at one point I noticed some of the sand was moving, or running to be precise. I pulled off and this gentleman obligingly stood still long enough for me to get a picture! I think this might be one of those places that I have to get back to, except next time with a sled and some sunblock. I did stop and play in the sand long enough to make a sand angel, I’ll post that picture in the gallery. I’d post it here but it is a little disturbing because I didn’t want to put my head in the sand, so it is a headless angel. So it may just be “white sand” but I thought it was pretty amazing.

Life in Juarez

I have been very, very bad about updating. I can’t even blame it all on the lack of internet because thanks to my amazing sponsor I had internet after a few days. It’s hard to believe that I arrived at post exactly a month ago! I haven’t been out much in Juarez because I live about 10 minutes from the border and thanks to the SENTRI pass it is just so easy to cross and go shopping in El Paso. Next weekend the CLO is organizing a city tour of Juarez and I am hoping once I get a better feel for where things are in the city I will start doing more in Juarez other than basic grocery shopping. Continue reading ‘Life in Juarez’