September - October, 2001

This past month has put us into a new and surreal world. Before September 11th, I never thought that our trip to London would be so loaded with emotions and experiences. Judi and I were thoroughly enjoying our new adventure. We had just settled into our new flat and were slowly getting "out and about".

To help fill out the long days during the week (and to gain a bit more spending money), Judi decided to go back to work. Out of several potential job opportunities, one looked very promising: Budget Technician. Her strong financial background as a management analyst seemed to fit perfectly with the demands of the job. Another great point was that she'd be working for the wife of one of my co-workers - the man who was instrumental in my selection. Her credentials spoke for themselves; Judi was selected.

Before she started her new job, she had the good fortune to join me in a trip to Naples, Italy. The week of work went fine. On Friday, we dropped off my co-worker at the Capodichino airport, returned the rental car and started our romantic weekend. (It got off to a bad start…check out the slide show on our web site:

Judi's first day on the new job was 10 September. As can be expected, all the new things to which she had to adjust overwhelmed her. She knew, however, that she had talents and abilities that were valuable.

The next day, the world changed! After the events in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania, we saw the creation of "Fortress America". Our first taste of that was when we discovered that our building was locked down - no one could enter or leave the building. Judi and I started wondering about the security of being an American in London. Common sense prevailed and we were allowed to go home at the end of the day. For security reasons, we were told not to come into work the next day. We decided to catch a cab rather than walk home…the day's events had left us pretty shaken up. Surprisingly, it seemed that no cab would stop for us. Four or five passed us by. Finally one stopped, but said he was going in the opposite direction and was running late. (We thought that perhaps the cabbies didn't want to become targets of terrorism by picking up American fares.) We ended up walking.

On our way home, we passed several individuals or small groups of Muslims. We were nervous. Then we saw a Muslim couple with an infant in a stroller. That image affected both Judi and me in the same manner - we had to start sorting out in our minds the difference between a "terrorist" and a "tourist" (or resident). We both realized that we were building up unrealistic prejudices. (I remember some training I got a long time ago: "We all have prejudices; we must learn not to discriminate based on those prejudices.") Our flat is a few blocks away from Edgeware Road, an area with a high concentration of Muslims. In fact our favorite supermarket, Safeway, is located over there. A simple trip to the grocery store made us nervous. (We've been doing a lot of growing lately.)

In the days that followed the atrocities, we were bombarded with images, thanks to BBC News (we don't get CNN with our current TV arrangements). One image that tore at our hearts was that clip that showed the joy on the faces of a few Palestinians at the news of America's sufferings. We both said at that point that suffering was suffering…when and if America retaliated, we hoped that we wouldn't jump for joy. We knew that the world had just tumbled into a very tenuous position. All our futures hinged on how the world powers dealt with the upcoming events. We saw on the news that Patriotism was flourishing in the States. We saw an American flag on the building next to our flat and felt a welling up of our own patriotism. However, we were advised not to flaunt our nationality on the streets - "don't make a spectacle of yourselves". All hands received Anti-terrorism/Force Protection training.

Almost immediately after the atrocities, people showed their sympathy and support by leaving flowers near the statue of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the nearby Grosvenor Square. It was rumored that over 5,000 persons a day were visiting the Square. I went over there a few days after the incident, and then again Judi and I went on 22 September. (If you're interested in see the flood of flowers and notes, go to this link in our site:

We made plans to attend the Navy Ball on 13 October. I was looking forward to it…a Black Tie affair…a rare time to see Tim in a tuxedo. Unfortunately, it was postponed. Well, maybe later.

I'm writing this on 8 October, the second day of the major military response to the events of 11 September. The air strikes began last evening (our time). I'm so grateful for the initiative and sense that Tony Blair has displayed. We think he's offered a voice of reason in some perilous times. I'm proud to be associated with both these countries (UK and USA).