Yesterday was Groundhog Day, and if Punxsutawney Phil lived in Yerevan, he definitely would have predicted six more weeks of winter for us. Earlier this week, I woke up to a crystal clear morning and drank in the view of Mt. Ararat as I crossed the drunken bridge (so named because it is flanked by brandy factories) on the way to work. It was also the first time since returning from vacation in the States on January 16 that I'd had a clear view of the road from my window on the third floor of the Embassy. The Embassy sits just above Yerevani Lich (Yerevan Lake), which means that on days already prone to be foggy, it gets lost in a raw, mean cloud. Didn't think fog could be mean, did you? It can. Especially when you've been waiting a week to get out of town and the planes aren't taking off because the airport is also built in a fog pit. But that was last year.
This year, my vacation to the States went smoothly. Jeremy met me at Dulles on Dec. 30, and we spent New Year's at the newly renovated Herbst house in Virginia. The new sun room is beautiful, and it and the rest of the house is jammed with rugs and tchotchkes my parents had collected during nine straight years abroad. It was nice to be home. Jeremy played basketball and watched sports with Nick and Johnny, and my sisters and I had a chance to catch up.
But of course, the big news, is that Jeremy and I are now engaged. He proposed on January 9 in Chicago, with a beautiful ring he had designed himself, in a beautiful condo he had rented for the week that had a great view of Lake Michigan. Later in the week, we went to visit his parents in Nebraska. They threw us a lovely engagement brunch, complete with huge blinking rubber heart rings for the guests. We are very happy, but the euphoria has been tempered somewhat by the fact that I flew back to Armenia less than a week later, and we won't see each other again until my tour is up, probably sometime in early June. At least I have this rock on my hand to stare at all day. I'll let Jeremy tell you all how he is coping.
We decided to start this blog mostly because I've really enjoyed reading those kept by my Foreign Service colleagues, and also because we thought it would be a fun way to keep our families apprised of our lives as we count down the days to our wedding (still in the very early planning stages), live in the same city for the first time ever (those initial three weeks in Armenia hardly count) and prepare for our first year of marriage ... in Afghanistan.