“So, you’re cheating,” Mom said, sitting back against her chair. She looked at me, tapping her fingers on the chair arms for what seemed like a very long time. Then, she folded her arms in front of her chest. I waited for the other shoe to drop.
The nomadic life of my youth taught me four things: 1) be at home where you are; 2) let go when it's time; 3) settle in fast; and 4) forget there's anywhere else to be. This cycle puts you right back at 1) being at home where you are.
Mom and Dad made their protocol farewell calls on the Ambassador and Mrs. Sparks and other senior diplomatic couples. They were fèted at our first “despedida,” a goodbye party routinely thrown by Embassy colleagues for departing friends; the “bienvenida” was the party counterpart to welcome new diplomats and their families into the Caracas Embassy.
on Venezuelan Independence Day, she set down in another letter about how the American Independence Day seemed to be done in Caracas. She was an outsider, sharing her observations with perhaps more enthusiasm than she could yet feel.
Behavior matters,especially when you're in a Foreign Service family in the Italy of the 1960s.
I think being an American abroad may require a stiffer ethical spine these days. Standing up for who we really are has never been more important than under the Trump administration's callous disregard for the tenets of democracy: the rule of law, freedom of the press, a government by the people, facts.
One Sunday, I was doing my homework in my room when I heard a clanging coming from the street. I pulled aside the sheer drapes covering my window and saw a small group of cochinos in front of the closed candy and newspaper store across the street going through the contents of some garbage cans. One of the older kids handed a piece of something to a very small boy who put it in his mouth and sat down against the building, slumping like an old man. Garbage for lunch.
At 2AM July 3, 1955, my parents and I, a 8 month-old, arrived at the seaside airport down the mountains from Caracas. It had been a marathon: driving up to NYC from DC, where they'd had two months of orientation training, leaving the car at loading docks, and taking our 10 pieces of luggage…