I'm currently writing this from a room in Trichy (Tiruchirapalli), India. I'm here for a friend's sister's wedding on the 3rd. My trip here and to Chennai (capital of the Tamil Nadu state) has been really nice. I got a few salwar kameezes custom-made, as well as two saris (or sarees, depending on where you're from). The country is beautiful, but perhaps not quite in the traditional way Americans think. There are many ramshackle buildings with thatched roofs made from the fronds of palm trees, and poured cement houses that are showing their age with water stains and chipped facades. The streets are often cracked and filled with potholes (when paved), lined with garbage through which the cows, goats, dogs, and pigs pick. But still, it is colorful, warm, inviting, and incredibly hospitable. I have loved every moment here. I can only hope that once/if I make it through the Foreign Service process that I might be posted in Chennai to serve my three years.
Speaking of the Foreign Service, I am very happy to announce that on May 26, as I drove to Logan Airport, I found out that I passed the QEP. This thrilled me to no end, and was the perfect way to start a vacation. I really am very surprised at having passed because on paper I am a rather underwhelming candidate. However, I think that my customer service background coupled with some strong, well-written personal narratives gave BEX enough confidence in me to invite me to the Oral Assessment. Perhaps I might not have made it before the hiring boom under the Obama administration, but that doesn't matter to me. The fact is, I have been given the chance to showcase my abilities and try to gain a spot on the Consular register (and thereby a position in the Foreign Service, as everyone is being called off the Consular and Management registers these days).
I'm very happy and thankful for this opportunity, and I refuse to squander it. In just a few weeks I will pick a date that suits me, and I will prepare for a day in Washington.
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