When I got to work this morning, I found an e-mail from the Ambassador's wife asking me if I would join them for dinner. Not sure if I did anything to merit the invitation, but I was not going to turn down the chance. Besides myself, they invited the two interns who have recently moved into my guest bedroom. (They were house sitting at the Ambassador's house while he was on vacation. There other option was a house without A/C or internet.) Additionally, the Ambassador's daughter has recently come in country and will be staying for 6 months or so.
Ambassador Thummalapally is very friendly. He used to run a CD and DVD company and before that I think he was in the recording industry. His wife, Mrs. T, is always smiling. Although I have seen more of the Ambassador and his wife than most junior officers will, I had not really had the opportunity to talk with them in small informal setting since my first night in Belize. That night, I was too intimidated to really talk much.
The highlight of the evening for me, besides the food, was listening to the two of them talk about how they knew President Obama. Mrs. T and the President went to the same school, Occidental College, in the late 1970s. This was before President Obama transferred to Columbia University. Amazingly, given the geography and time, they remained friends with the President as he progressed through his life and career. They were there for many of the big moments in his life - his wedding and all of the campaigns. When he was thinking of running for the Presidency, Mrs. T started volunteering full-time for the campaign and the Ambassador was eventually on the finance committee. They would drive all night from Colorado to campaign for a weekend in Iowa and then drive back all night to get back to work.
There may be a few downsides to Belmopan, with its size and lack of amenities. But I get to have a bunch of wonderful opportunities here that I don't think I would get to have at a large metropolitan post, especially an informal Tuesday night dinner with the Ambassador and his family