Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Diplomatic spouses, and more

May 23, 2007
There is a program here, I am sure it exists elsewhere, whereby the spouses of foreign service employees gather and do fun things in and around where they are posted. It is for all diplomats, so (for example) at this event there were folks from the USA, Italy, Belgium, Venezuela, Tunisia, etc.

We got a tour of Fort St. Angelo, which is where the original Knights of Malta first settled when they arrived. The Fort is usually only open for tourists on Sundays; hence the wonder of the cachet of the diplomatic spouse group! Further, the tour was led by the Knight in Residence - an actual Knight of Malta, one of the very, very few who have actually taken the religious orders. It was wonderful - we got to see the chapel (normally off limits to tourists), wander the ramparts, and learn about the history of the fort.

As an aside, the view of Valletta and the water from there is amazing, but of course I didn't think to bring a camera.

May 27, 2007
Today is a gray day. It actually looks like it could rain. I didn't think such things happened in May in Malta. One week down without Terry, two weeks to go. Kirby is supposedly getting onto a plane today and heading my way - less than 24 hours from now I should have my furry first son with me!

May 28, 2007
Amazing as it may sound, Kirby actually made it to Malta alive! No heart attack on the plane, as we had feared. I (sort of) almost didn't make it, though, just couldn't find the darned cargo area. I knew it wasn't on the premises of the airport, but I thought there would be signs somewhere on or near the airport property. Nope. So I stop at the airport and ask directions from some Air Malta employees. When those don't pan out, I stop at a gas station and get directions. Again, I'm closer but not quite there yet. At the next place I stopped and asked directions (I don't even know where I was but there was a gate and guards and the very nice man who thought he was being perfectly clear and obviously had no idea at the extent of my ability to get lost) one of the guys offered to show me where to go if I'd drive him right back. As they had told me, it was truly only about 2 minutes down the road from where I was, but I definitely would not have gotten there based on the directions. In fact, when I drove the guy back and returned, I had to go all the way around the roundabout a full 360 because I wasn't sure which way to turn off. I had given myself so much time to get there, though, I still made it before the plane landed.

It took a while for him to be unloaded and brought to cargo, and when I walked into the cargo area he was quietly freaking out while what looked like every guy working in that warehouse was gathered around. He is just too cute for his own good! I went over with the food and water I'd brought and fed him through the wire part of the crate - not allowed to release him - and poured water into the dish in his crate. Once he'd been fed and watered, I guess, his energy was restored because he started barking and howling.

The vet who had to check his paperwork and microchip was absolutely wonderful and helped me through a few snags we hit but all in all, about 3 hours after I'd arrived at the airport, I was leading Kirby toward the car and home.

He actually managed to settle down in the car, as I once again managed to get lost on my way home. I can generally get wherever I want to go without problem, but for some reason I can never manage to get back without problem. He has explored the yard and the house, he has barked incessantly at the nice basset hound 2 doors down who I was hoping he could become friends with (King was being walked by his owner and we happened to be outside as they walked by), he has barked at our landlord, and he has managed to ignore the gardener (for this last item, he was handsomely rewarded). He really seems to like the carpet in the study, in the absence of any of his beds or anything else soft on any floor in the house. I did get a pillow for him to sleep on, and he is currently resting half on and half off it. I think he likes the coolness of the tile floors.

For the hell of an adventure he had over the last 24 hours, he seems very well adjusted. We'll see how things go over the next few days as he has to adjust to no real schedule and being left alone in a strange house.

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