Saturday, March 23, 2013

*yawn* *stretch *smile* See&View

We're all a little tired today, and a nap is called for.  We had a nice brunch out at Blue Fig, along with several other Embassy families, after a rather memorable morning with those same families.

The line outside for security formed at 5 a.m.  We joined in at 7 a.m. so definitely did not get the front row, but while the ballroom could hold 1500 people, we expected only to fill half.  It was cold outside.  Remember how I said yesterday started at about 80 degrees then dropped like a rock with the sandstorm?  This morning was overcast and threatened to rain and 47 degrees.  None of us wore coats because we're dummies.

Let me just say, the Secret Service guys are awesome.  Don't tick them off, like the Peace Corps folks waiting with us did and were unapologetic about, and they are very cordial.  They made sure Jonathon's pop tart went safely through security.

This time was a little different than last time when we met President Bush in Manila.  No chairs to sit on while we waited, for one thing, which can make for a long wait when the President isn't expected until 9 a.m.  Ian didn't have to work this one either.  Last time he was off doing his thing, managing the arrivals at the airport  (and had his photo taken in front of Air Force One) and then dealing with the press corps all day.  We didn't see him.  We also didn't see Katherine as she was at Malacanang Palace for the children's welcome.  That's where the photo of Katherine and Mrs. Bush was taken.  The other 3 and I sat in the heat of the Ambassador's yard and waited for hours.  That's a long time for kids 2, 4, and 6.

This time Ian was with us.  Our friend, Donna, had airport duty and had her photo in front of Air Force One.   It felt like the rest of Embassy was busy with the visit, while Ian held down the Consular fort.  Katherine was with us as well, but hung out with her friends.  The boys were in the affectionately labeled Petting Zoo.  All kids between 7-14 were corralled off the ballroom, which allowed them to play (Nicholas had cards), read (Jonathon had a book), make noise, and hang out with their friends and not underfoot.  About 15 minutes before the President arrived they were shuttled into the ballroom and situated on risers so they could all see and, more importantly, shake hands with the President and Secretary Kerry.  Our boys were in the mix somewhere, but being "so far" in the back of the general assembly I couldn't find them.

About 10 minutes late (yes, it matters!) the guests of honor arrived.  And the deluge of cameras began.

And iPads.  I wish I had a pocket full of rocks to throw at every single iPad that was held for photos, and worse, videos.  If I wanted to watch the whole thing on a screen I would have stayed home.  Not that it was live fed anywhere, but you know what I mean.

Secretary Kerry was a Foreign Service brat starting around 11 years old, and it was great he spoke directly to our kids, and to us, as one of us.  Personal note, his voice is deeper than I expected.  And no, it doesn't matter one bit.  Just sayin'.

Well bummer, my short video of President Obama didn't even get in focus.  Thanks iPad person.

Nicholas and Rebecca shook his hand, the rest of us were not so lucky, but that's OK.

Getting to see him in person was a privilege.  Thank you Mr. President for taking time out of your day to meet with us, it meant a lot.


  1. So cool! I got a friend to take the boys, but the girls missed out.

  2. We saw Shay and Aiden, glad they made it. Ian did your job when we were in Manila, so I feel for you!

  3. The meet and greets are crazy affairs. My daughter (now 17) is not a fan of them after having been pushed off the edge of the high-risers repeatedly by jostling kids when she 'met' President and Mrs. Bush in Beijing. She does have a great story though! Had to giggle about your deeper voice comment with Secretary of State Kerry. When he was here earlier this month, I was struck by how tall he was.

  4. Very neat opportunity, and yes, I think it wonderful that he took time out of his schedule for this!