This last month has been a busy one for Peter at the embassy. His section was preparing for a high level visit from Canada in addition to spending hours compiling and writing various briefs for all of the meetings that were scheduled. The annual Human Rights (one of the files that Peter covers) Review is also due sometime this month, which is in itself a huge project.
This all has means that Peter's been putting in long (longer than his usual 'long') hours at work and then coming home and working most of the evening after the boys go to bed. Although it's been busy and at times stressful and frustrating for him (and me), it's also great experience to be so involved in planning a visit like this.
And now that the visitors from Canada have arrived (and some have already departed, actually), it has meant days of meetings and lunches and commissions... and entertaining the visitors. In addition to taking them out to some of Bogota's notable restaurants to experience some of the sometimes crazy night life here*, a dozen or so from the embassy also took in a bull fight on the weekend. Peter came home saying it was definitely an interesting cultural experience, but not one that he'll be in a big hurry to sign up for again!
Gory was the word he used.
I won't go into the details he shared, but suffice to say I'm glad I decided to stay home with the boys instead of going along. Peter said that, while there were several kids there, it "would've destroyed Liam". He likened it to the Roman Colosseum... people of all walks of life (the Colombia President's kids were there in one of the private boxes) crammed into a stadium to cheer and jeer and drink and revel in death, essentially.
I'll take a quiet afternoon sitting in the playroom knitting while the boys play Lego, thankyouverymuch.
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Speaking of death, Peter left for the airport early this morning just after seeing the boys off to school. He and one of the fellows visiting from Ottawa are off to an area of Colombia along the Pacific (I think it was?) coast. When Peter was explaining where it was they were headed to, this other guy nervously responded, "But they wouldn't send us anywhere actually dangerous, would they? I assured my (newly pregnant) wife they wouldn't.".
Colombia does have the 10th highest rate of homicide globally (as of 2009) and this area does have the highest murder rate IN ALL OF COLOMBIA...
Do you consider that dangerous??
Needless to say, I'll feel better once I know he's on the plane headed home.
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And just for fun, here's a picture of Peter from one of the Human Rights consultations that took place earlier this week...
He's talking during class.
that's him in the red tie, talking to the Ambassador
In his defence, the meeting was just starting and most people weren't even there yet, as evidenced by all the empty seats. Punctuality is not as much of a priority down here.
Welcome to Colombia.
*Just to be clear, the extra-curricular excursions were all on everyone's own dime and it was only Peter's co-workers from here and counterparts from Ottawa that went out at night. It's not like Ministers travel around the world to go clubbing with entry level employees... although that would be pretty funny and make a good story!