Archive for December, 2008

Happy Festivus!

Happy Festivus! (Airing of Grievances)

Happy Festivus!

Airing of grievances (although not reserved for only Festivus, this is an extra special day for airing of grievances)


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I know many friends and family don’t understand exactly what it is I do, how I got into the career, etc.

In today’s NY Times, there’s a short article about the career, written for those potentially interested in foreign service.  I thought some of you might find it enlightening as well.  Oh, and the building in the picture is on the compound where I do my language training.  The building, Arlington Hall, was actually used to house code breakers during WWII.

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Seth bought Jackson a couple of cans of ravioli and pasta the other day to have on nights when we have dinner with our small group after he’s in bed. No one could have prepared us for his unrestrained enthusiasm for such delicacies! The kid eats like a shovel!! He had it a few weeks ago but had never had the noodles and meat sauce. He went wild for it tonight. Along with his broccoli! His face was died bright red from the toxins they inject to make it look like tomato sauce! I felt so guilty feeding my child something like this but the look on his face and the fact that he ate almost a whole can washed away most of my guilt! Here are a few photos!





PS-Typically after dinner Jack never asks for his milk cup. After his bath he ran to the kitchen yelling “milk”. I told Seth it had to be because he had more salt in that one meal than he normally consumes in a whole week combined!!

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Santa Clause Visits Bogota

As I mentioned in a previous post Santa graced us with his presence at the Ambassador’s house on Friday afternoon. Jackson learned how to say Santa before we left but by the time he got there and set eyes on Santa he was not thrilled to sit on his lap! He let out a huge scream for Mommy!


He didn’t have a problem receiving gifts from him he just didn’t want to be touched!



Jackson wore his little corduroy blazer and loafers and caught the attention of the ladies.


More Sugar Cookies, Please!!!


Any attempt of Jackson sitting down next to “Matilda” (our  family pet goose) was a failed attempt because Jackson hoisted Matilda into the air by her neck. Good thing the Christmas card pictures already went out. Had I waited til last week we could not have gotten a good shot!

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I don’t usually post because Kristen does such a great job keeping our family and friends updated on our lives.  In general, my life is pretty uneventful to the average reader, but every now and then, there’s something worth posting.  I’m not sure if the following is one of those times, but here it is anyway.

A couple of weeks ago, Kristen and I were trying to kill time on a raining Bogota Saturday.  We needed to pick up a few things from the grocery store, so we decided to go to one we’ve never been to before bu that’s only a few blocks away from our apartment.  Let me also say that we really don’t like our usual grocery store because it’s too small and not much of a selection.  But we go there all the time because it’s 2 blocks away.

At our normal store, there are about 10 parking spots, and they’re always filled.  Quite annoying.  At this one, there was covered parking and plenty of spots.  It was looking promising.  As we went to get a shopping cart, we noticed that there was a “car” underneath for Jackson to ride in.  This was the first cart like this that we’d seen in Bogota!  Jackson was pumped, to say the least.  We go into the store, and they actually had an Entenman’s case.

(To quote Seinfeld:

ELAINE: Entenmann’s? From the supermarket?

KRAMER: Well, no. They’re not really in the supermarket. Yeah, they got their own case at the end of the aisle.)

And on that glorious case, they had white powered donuts.  Kristen quickly snapped them up for me, like she’d just found a fantastic Christmas sale. (We got home and tried them the next morning.  They weren’t exactly fresh, but what do you expect when they’re imported from the States.)  Then as we take a few more steps in, we hear Garth Brooks’ “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places.”  It was the most surreal situation.  Garth being played in a Bogota grocery store.

Needless to say, it was one of the top experiences in Bogota, as sad as that sounds.

Oh, and I went back today with Jackson, and this time they had Garth’s “Standing Outside the Fire.”  Bizarro world.

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Our Christmas Miracle

Although we have had a rough couple of weeks in the Kolb house we had a very pleasant surprise the other day. Sunday after being at a friends house and watching she and her mom baking up a storm I decided I had to get out of Bogota sooner than planned! Being overseas means holidays are so different. Obviously we know there is more to the season than shopping and baking but those are some of the things we miss in the preparation! All of this sounded good but of course there was no way for us to pay the $150 change fees on Continental to get myself and Jackson home sooner. So I begged Seth to check it out even if it wouldn’t work out. It was worth checking in to in my opinion!

Seth plugged in our flights on Continental’s changes page and a list of charges popped up. The change fee was 400 colombian pesos. For those of you that don’t work with pesos on a regular basis that is an equivalent of 17 cents USD. So, of course we could tell there was a problem with the computer. They forgot a few zeros so instead of about $200 it was going to cost us 17 cents. Being the honest man that Seth is he decided to call Continental to ask them so that he wouldn’t be cheating them or more so we wouldn’t be snookered into paying far more than we thought. After an hour on the phone with Continental the helpful lady honored the internet mix-up rate. In the end we changed Seth’s ticket to fly home on a red eye. We ended up making money on all of the changes.  This NEVER happens! Seth told the lady “I feel like I just made money off of Continental” She responded, “I am glad you feel that way, Sir!”

Another bit of news is that Seth was awarded a Meritorious award this week at the Embassy for his service to American citizens in the plane crash a few months ago. Many of you probably read about hos Seth got a call early in the morning and went straight to the ER to help the victims communicate with doctors and called family members to notify them that, despite some new reports, their family members had survived. Seth was recognized for his outstanding efforts in that devastating event.  It was a huge honor for him to be called in to help but it was also a very tough and emotional job! I am really proud of him! And I am proud that someday when we visit Daddy’s office Seth can tell Jackson about the plane crash and how he helped.

And now for my part (Jackson)…this is what I have been up to this week..


using my doctor kit to check out Elmo after I threw him on to the floor


It’s looking pretty grave, that must have been one hard fall. “So sorry Elmo. So sad.”


“it’s nothing a big tackle hug won’t cure”


even though I look so tired I only sat for maybe 30 seconds, sitting still and resting is for sissies! who needs rest!??


“the highlight of my week so far was daddy bringing home a big box that had a huge paper snake in it, I mean huge, it stretched all around the house, I know because I pulled it to see how far it would go”


“I have no fear about being trapped in small spaces, mommy thought I might get in and cry for help, nope, I can handle it!”

Tomorrow I get to go see Santa at the Ambassador’s house so I will remind mommy to post pictures! I have been keeping her so busy lately and HATE her to be on the computer so it is kind of my fault when they don’t make it up!

That’s about it!

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