Life is challenging right now.
Work has been pretty rough over the past few months. A couple of long-term projects have been stuck in bureaucratic limbo, raising stress levels and hurting morale. Congressional testimony is coming up for my Agency and providing information to those testifying always involves high stakes and the involvement of outsiders in my daily business. I've had people who don't understand my job contradict me about what I do. It's pretty infuriating to have someone who doesn't understand how things work tell you you don't know your own job.
Fortunately, vacation is only a week away. If only I can get all the things done I need to do.
Life at home is also topsy-turvy. Our two 14 year old Chinese exchange students, Yvette and Sandy (their "American" names), are very nice girls. They are sweet, smart, respectful, and very shy. They have this wonderful capacity to be absolutely amazed at simple things outside of their experience. The looks on their faces when something unusual and unexpected happens always makes me smile. They also seem to find Ben fascinating, which is very nice and good for him.
What's difficult about the hosting experience is that since they're only here for two weeks, we're striving to make their experience as rich as possible as quickly as possible. In the past week we've visited a state park for hiking and swimming, took them to my game night, went bowling, saw a minor league baseball game, and attended an outdoor concert in town. In a couple of hours we're leaving for the National Zoo. We haven't packed this many activities into a week ever. It's been challenging to maintain the necessary level of energy.
But this experience will stay with these girls for the rest of their lives. I know this from my own brief experience in Europe long ago. We owe it to them to make it a good one.
They leave Thursday morning and then we pack up and head for Indiana on Friday night. After a week in Indiana it's on to California for another week. When we return in mid-August, it will have been over a month since we had a quiet family home life. And I'm all about a quiet family home life.
So that's what's going on in the summer of 2010. Oh, and there was a giant oil spill that ruined the ocean.