Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Long Time Gone

Protesters at U.S. Embassy Sana'a, Yemen
مرحبا   It has been a while since I last posted!

Most of that has been on purpose. Once I was assigned to Yemen, I needed to keep a lower profile. Yemen is a critical threat assignment  Unfortunately there are bad people who want to blow up people like me. For a variety of reasons, the details of what I do and where I do should really be left off the public internet.

The other reason is that I have had so much go in a short amount of time. I had a ton of extra training and preparation before I left for Yemen. Sana'a is an unaccompanied post which means you can't bring family members with you and friends can't visit. On top of that, the situation here isn't normal and I had to plan my life around having basically all my effects stored for two years. I am living with what I could bring in suitcases. In a lot of ways, this assignment is very similar to being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. The security situation has much to be desired but our mission here is absolutely important to keeping Americans safe.

I want readers to know that this isn't normal for the Foreign Service. If you are interested in this as a career, these types of assignments are far from the norm and you basically have to volunteer for them. My situation is something I more or less choose. Then again, it wasn't my first choice. Joining the Foreign Service is about being flexible. You can end up in fabulous places. You can also end up in places where you get on the news for the wrong reasons. It's about going abroad to serve your country. Service isn't always easy.

In other news, I have been learning Arabic. While I still wanted to pursue Chinese, the situation has changed obviously. So I am going to try to learn as much Arabic as I can while I am here. Maybe I can get back on Chinese my next Assignment. I'll find out my next assignment this summer... so I have time.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

YEMEN


Sorry for the delay. Things are crazy in FSS Orientation. But the big news... I am going to Yemen.

It will be a very challenging first tour but I am very excited.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bids in.

Sent my bids in last night.

I have two major Asian countries on the top of my list but also a few hardship posts as "high bids." We had a lot to choose from but with 20 OMSers and 20 spots... someone will get each one. One post I put as a medium bid is shall I say... very HARDSHIP. No telling what I will get though.

Keep your fingers crossed.

FSS Orientation is very very busy by the way. If you ever get the honor to go, keep in mind that they own you for 3 weeks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Orientation

Sorry for the lack of update. FSS Orientation is extremely busy. Also, it is a very diverse group of people and we are all eager to learn. Unfortunately each day is packed with stuff... so blogging it very difficult.


We got our bid lists today... should be interesting. I can't go into detail on the countries but I am very excited. More to follow, I promise!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Last Day

It is my last day at work at my current job. Very very bittersweet. I will miss the people here... also it will be weird to get out of my routine here.

Also, I had a chance to meet with another July Class OMSer today. It was good to sit down with someone else going through the same process. It will feel like a long weekend before I start on monday... so excited!

Monday, July 2, 2012

2 Weeks

In case anyone was wondering... I didn't lose power in what was the worse non-hurricane storm event in Virginia history. Seems like half of the city is out of power... and of course I had to help a family friend move into a new house in Great Falls. Terrible timing (105 degrees with no AC!)... but alas I lived to tell the tale.

So... I am officially 2 weeks away from becoming an official State Department employee. A lot is going on but I feel like I should talk about about leaving my current job.

I am blessed to work in an awesome office. Though sometimes the work would get to me... the coworkers I have are amazing. They have all been very supportive and excited for this next step. My boss was rather sad to lose me but is very happy that I am getting this opportunity. The great thing about working for the government is that I was able to tell them well in advance without worrying about it complicating things. I can't believe I have been there for over 3 and a half years. Time does fly. It makes me think about what it will be like to leave each post after only 2-3 years. I know I will love the lifestyle but it is always hard to say goodbyes. I learned a lot in this office and I feel much gratitude to them for giving me an opportunity to start my public service career there.

The funny thing is that my agency is currently realigning my office to another city. This means that everyone will be getting new positions in the coming months. This was the perfect time for me to get a new job but its hard for everyone knowing that our team will be no more soon. Change is always hard but it makes life interesting... that is for sure.

In other news, I am heading home for the 4th of July. It is very strange knowing this might be the last time I may get to spend an extended time with my family. My oldest cousin just graduated from high school, so this might be the last time everyone is in one place for a long while.

Speaking of 4th of July... I am rather patriotic and always am moved during this holiday. As cheesy as it is, I am grateful for everything this country has allowed me to do. America is a very diverse country and obviously it isn't perfect. However, we are extremely lucky to be Americans. It is a nation founded on ideals. We sought independence at a time when such things were pipe-dreams. So take a moment and think about special this land is. Don't be blind to the problems and challenges we need to face but be thankful we live in a place where you have the self-determination to face them.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It Finally Arrived...

So the Foreign Service welcome package finally arrived. Looks like I have some forms to fill out.

Only took 5 weeks :p

I can't believe its little over a month before I start...