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Embajadors in Spain

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Welcome to my blog on the Huffington Post. What you'll be reading here are a series of letters I send out describing our life and adventures as United States Embajador and Embajadora (Ambassador and Ambassadora, to Spain). I hope you enjoy these.

Hola # 1 (January 2010)

Dear Friends,

First -- forgive this being a general email to you -- it's not the usual more personal way I like to do things, but it may be a way I get to update everyone on how we're doing in Spain -- at least for awhile. On the other hand -- I'll also try to respond to your emails- so please, keep those cards and letters coming.

We arrived in Spain a week ago Saturday (Jan 9, 2010), and have been very warmly welcomed. Our residence is beautiful and we're beginning to settle into our home. We have a staff to help us -- a residence manager, butler, housekeepers, waiters, chefs and drivers. (Nice or naz as some of us like to say!) I must say the staff here is terrific. Luckily the 1000 lbs of our "stuff" that we shipped by air (as opposed to the 7000 lbs that come by sea) arrived so our closets are filled with clothes again. Sorry to say -- Alan's winter coats were not part of this first shipment. He has now been with out a winter coat all year. However, he truly doesn't get out very much -- our residence is attached to his office in the Embassy, and if he does need to go outside, he is chauffeured everywhere. More about this later.

As you know, Becca, Stephanie, two friends of Steph's, and Stella traveled with us. Stella (our cocker-poo) is as happy as can be -- there are people around her all day -- and she is getting lots of attention. The girls all traveled well, as well. Becca and Steph's friends left on Sunday, and Steph is leaving tomorrow. These goodbyes have been really sad- I have loved having the girls here with me.

Alan LOVES his job. He is already working quite hard, long days, goes from meeting to meeting, and has been dealing with some important issues. He loves the work but the lifestyle feels like an "out of body" experience. The position of Ambassador has a lot of protocol associated with it. Folks stand when he enters a room, they wait for him to sit before sitting, they call him Mr. Ambassador, (I'm called Madam or Embajadora), he is always driven where he has to go, and he has bodyguards with him whenever he goes out. The team he works with is great, and he's just totally happy.

I've been settling in and keeping busy with the girls being here. We've done a fair amount of sightseeing- the Prado, Museo Reina Sofia, Royal Palace, day trip to Toledo, attended the Spanish premiere of Sherlock Holmes (red carpet, Jude Law, Robert Downey Jr., Rachel McAdams and Guy Ritchie all there), dinners and lunches out almost every day, and lots and lots of walking around, trying to figure out where things are and learning our way around.

Speaking of learning -- Alan has continued his Spanish lessons, and I'll restart once Steph leaves. Everyone speaks Spanish here -- so we're determined to learn.

Stuff we have coming up:

We're going to see the NY Philharmonic, going to the Spanish premiere of Nine (do you think Penelope will be there? Hope so), dinner engagements, a welcome reception for me, and probably lots more -- but you get the idea.

I'd like to say it's been a totally easy adjustment for all of us -- but it hasn't been. I do find myself homesick -- I miss all of you, I miss Weston, Boston, my family, friends, and the creature comforts that I know. I think the more I get into the swing of things here, the happier I will get. But, it's a work in progress and it is what it is. Alan is working hard to making our partnership work and to be supportive of me.

So, I send you all lots of love.

Please keep in touch- and if I don't answer immediately, don't worry, I will.

XOXO (you kiss twice in Spain)

Susan