One of the neatest things about Joey's new job is all the different people I feel fortunate to have met.  For example, last night I met one of his classmates, Julie.  This is Julie's second time around in the Foreign Service.  Something like twenty years ago, she joined the foreign service for the first time and met a Spanish diplomat, whom she married.  She left the foreign service, became a dual citizen in Spain, and traveled around with her husband as the "trailing spouse," until a few years ago.  Now she is back in the US Foreign Service and headed to Luanda, Angola, in the next few days.  She had some really interesting insights, given that she's lived the life as both the officer and the spouse, and she suggested that for the first six months I get involved in everything I can.  She told me to join every book club, womens' club, international club, whatever is available, to meet as many people and make as many connections as possible.  She said that's the best way to make friends outside of the embassy, especially in a place like Abuja, where the diplomatic community is very tight.  She also raised her kids abroad - her daughter is 17 and a freshman in college - this is her first time living in the United States!  What a whole different perspective.

Our new friends speak so many different languages and have lead such interesting and unique lives - I really feel privileged to have gotten to know so many of them.  Take for example our friend Sujata, who is going to Paris.  She was born in India and moved to the US when she was five.  She speaks French, Hindu, Urdu, English (better than I do) and I think Russian too!  Our friend, George, was a game show host in China - apparently the Chinese equivalent of Bob Barker! 

Anyway, in an effort to keep busy in Abuja, I applied for a job.  Its a part-time accounting position (though I think its a lot more book-keeping than anything else) through the employee services association, which isn't affiliated with the Embassy.  They operate the commissary as well as a few other things to make life a little easier for all the diplomats living in Abuja.  Tuesday morning I spoke with Jordan, the general manager there, who is accompanying his wife on her first tour for the "High Commission."  I believe that means she is a British diplomat for the UN there.  Don't quote me on that, though; I'm still trying to figure out what everything means on the American end, let alone the international spectrum.  Anyway, he said that I had a leg up, given my EFM status (Eligible Family Member - aka on the travel orders of the diplomat and a US citizen), and because I actually have an accounting degree.  He said he'd get back to me by the end of this week or the beginning of the next, after speaking with the board of directors, so I guess we'll see.  I doubt it'll pay well but at least it'll give me something to do, an outlet to meet people and feel like I'm accomplishing something too.  Besides, retirement at 26 isn't all its cracked up to be.  Ha.

Today's dilemma is what kind of car to buy for Abuja.  We just received this info:

3D4.  A variety of Japanese, European, Korean and some US brand automobiles are in common use in Nigeria.  Embassy personnel will find that sedans are adequate for most movements within Abuja.  Some may prefer four-wheel drive vehicles/SUVs, despite their higher gas consumption, for their ability to tackle rougher road conditions (particularly those outside the capital ring road).  These vehicles also make it easier to see over smaller vehicles and extend your range of vision.  Please note, however, that armed carjacking is a problem in Nigeria, as it is in a number of other countries.  Carjackers prefer newer, high-end European or Japanese SUVs.  Incoming Mission personnel should consider these factors before deciding on the vehicle that will best suit their needs here.


  1. has mom given you the contact information from our cab driver from nola yet? apparently he's from nigeria and his family is very wealthy in abjua. He said to give him a call and you should get in contact with his family while over there - he sounded legit. maybe they could give you some info about what car to get.

  2. I served my first tour in Sri Lanka and was also confused about these terms at first.

    Among British Commonwealth countries, the senior diplomat in charge of the diplomatic mission of one Commonwealth government to another is a High Commissioner. In other words, the High Commissioner is basically the equivalent of the Ambassador, but with a different title given the slightly different nature of the relationship between the countries. The High Commission is the equivalent of an Embassy, but between Commonwealth nations.

    It sounds complicated, but it's really not...
    e.g. In Nigeria, the Brits (Commonwealth) have a High Commission, not an Embassy. In the UK (Commonwealth), the Nigerians have a High Commission, not an Embassy. The same is true of other Commonwealth countries, such as Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, Sri Lanka.

    The US is not part of the Commonwealth and therefore doesn't have High Commissions or High Commissioners.

    More info is available here: