This has been one mother of a week. Thank goodness it's Wednesday! (The Saudi version of Friday.) Work was very busy this week, including a lot of after-hour events. Which I love. Until my alarm clock sounds the next morning. While I don't blog about my work, I do want to say that I visited two centers for children with disabilities this week, and I was blown away. One was for children with intellectual disabilities, the other for physical. Both had state of the art equipment and facilities, world-class staff, and amazing foresight and planning. Every detail was thought of, and each center includes parents in every aspect so the therapies and adaptations can continue at home. I can't wait to work with these organizations more. Having spent some time working in special ed before becoming a diplomat, I almost teared up visiting these centers and seeing their resources. And while they can't meet the needs of all children in Saudi with disabilities, they provide amazing opportunities for hundreds of children to be independent and eventually be productive members of society. In a country where the rate for physical disabilities is roughly 7% and intellectual ones only slightly less, there's a huge need. What an amazing couple of places. Wow.
I had a very pleasant surprise today when I went to the post office - my Christmas tree arrived!! I had completely given up hope of receiving it before Christmas, which apparently did the trick. I set it up tonight, and it's perfect. It's small, only 4.5 feet tall, but I set it on an underused end table in a corner, and it looks beautiful. The cats, predictably, love it. Callaghan has been climbing and biting and marveling all night. I took some pictures and will post once I get the chance to download and organize the six million pictures from the last month... I haven't yet put any ornaments on; I'll wait till the novelty wears down a bit.
I also received a commissary shipment today including bratwurst, breakfast sausage, and sliced lunch meat ham. My freezer is content.
In other ways, today was sad. I was issued my very first Blackberry, very much against my will. I hate having a cell phone, and now I have two devices. What I really hate about these things, though, is the fact that people see nothing wrong with checking them while I'm interacting with them. I think this is the height of rudeness - BBMing, taking a call, constantly texting - while conversing or dining with someone, I do not want electronic devices to be part of the experience. So I vow not to become one of these people.
Anyway, I am going to work on unpacking and decorating and Christmas shopping online. I got a new china cabinet from GSO today, so I can actually unpack and display my good china! And table linens! Yay!