Thursday, December 9, 2010

Biting the Bullet

I submitted my registration/application for the FSOT. It's been two years since I last registered for the test. I feel like that timespan would be more acceptable if I hadn't made it all the way through the first attempt (or two!), but I succeeded on my first attempt! I made it all the way through! Yet, I'm still languishing on the register.

I was successful at putting the Foreign Service out of my mind, or at least toward the back, for a while, but that familiar obsession is coming back with a vengeance. I want so badly to get that call in 2011. I'd do almost anything for it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Update

Things are more or less the same here these days, with a few new developments.

First and foremost, I'm losing my job. Again. This is the second job from which I've been laid off, and I have yet to find a replacement. I would be more upset if I didn't have some sort of backup plan in the works, but I'm working on something that may allow me to learn a language and gain my .17 bonus points. Russian is futile at this point. Full-time FSOs get 44 weeks of training to get to a 2/2, and since I'm at a 0+/0+ on a good day, this just isn't going to work for me. Since I took four years of French in high school, I'm going to take two months off once I am laid off (January 3 is D-Day for me) and try to learn the language full time. I'm probably a 1/1+ at this point; I read much better than I speak or understand, but reading doesn't even factor in the phone test at all. I've been listening to daily to train my ear in getting used to hearing French spoken at a rapid rate (and in many different accents/dialects; much of the French spoken is from Western African countries). Bonus points will bump me up to the low 20s on the Consular register. That puts me on the cusp of an invite. I'll be retesting in February/March for the FSOT because I expire off the register in October. Le sigh.

On a more positive note, I went to New England for a long weekend from November 12-15. I got to see my dad and quite a few of my friends. We had a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving on that Saturday, where we attempted to make a turkey for the first time ever. It went off with only the most minor of glitches, and seven of us sat down to a beautiful meal at my friend Ralph's apartment in Burlington. It was one of the best nights I've had all year, and it helped a lot to alleviate my homesickness. The crew all want to try to make it down this way at some point in the near future, and we're hoping for a February get-together. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it happens!

My New England trip made me feel like Thanksgiving has already come and gone, but there is still dinner to be had this week. In a first-ever experience for me, I'll be dining with my boyfriend and his family. As all of you are now well aware, I don't even celebrate holidays with my real family, so this is a big change. However, he and his parents/stepparent have done everything in their power to make me feel welcome. They are really wonderful people, and I feel honored to be spending a meaningful holiday with them. I'll be bringing my delicious take on a holiday classic (it's called pumpkin chiffon pie), and spending Thanksgiving evening at the UT v. A&M game. I'm actually starting to like football; who knew?

There isn't much else going on. I'm trying to keep my head down and work these last 6 weeks without too much fuss or complaint. The generous severance package coupled with my school loan excess will be enough to see me through a few months comfortably. For that I'm grateful. Things always seem to work out for me in one way or another, and I'm so thankful that I have my friends and loved ones by my side just in case.

And please enjoy this Billy Joel classic. It's been stuck in my head for days.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happiness is...

There's nothing quite like overlooking Austin's rolling hills and cliffs bathed in the moonlight with the top down, warm night breeze combing through your hair, and the best of company next to you. Nights like that are bound to stick with you forever.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I'm not wanting to move back home or relocate or anything even remotely close to that, but I miss my dad, my friends, and (yes, every now and again) the familiar surroundings of New England. I left Massachusetts 8 months ago and haven't looked back, but now, I find myself feeling very nostalgic for "home." Not helping the situation is the fact that my funds from school have been delayed, so my trip will likely be pushed back a few weeks, and that makes me sad.

I love Austin so much, and more so with each passing day. I love my new friends and the life I'm leading down here. But man, am I homesick. So very, very homesick.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

So What If I Was Only 6 When The 80s Ended?

I love the big 80s hits, and I was recently introduced to Radiostar, an amazing 80s cover band here in Austin. I got to see them last night, and they put on another amazing show. If ever you're here, be sure to check them out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Phone Rings in the Middle of the Night...

What happens when a big drug company settles out of court instead of continuing with a trial?

You get a phone call waking you up to tell you that you get to see your sweetheart three weeks earlier than expected. And then you can't go back to sleep, so you choose to blog because you're bursting with excitement. I'm glad I picked up the phone. :D

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Will Marry You

So, I'm now a licensed wedding minister in the great state of Colorado, and I performed my friend's ceremony on Labor Day weekend. By the power vested in me, I pronounced them husband and wife. So, for $50 I'll marry anyone else. I'm totally turning this into my side business.

I'm back in Texas, still enjoying my life. Personally, things have been going well for me. Professionally, not so much. This is interfering with my ability to pay bills at the moment, and is generally trying to ruin my buzz. I am itching to get my student loan excess (did I mention that school started up again this week? Ugh.) so that I can pay a month or two of rent and try to settle up with everyone else I owe. I've been applying to jobs like crazy over the last couple of days, after a perfect storm of backbreaking straws at work befell me. Something has to work out for me soon. It just has to.

The only real sad part of my day-to-day life at the moment is that I'm very much missing my friend. It stinks that he's in Irvine for a full month for work, but I came home to a surprise yesterday. He bought a webcam so we could at least keep in touch face-to-face while he's gone. I guess when you know that the distance is temporary, Skype becomes an attractive vehicle for conversation!

There haven't been any positive changes in the Foreign Service front. I haven't even bothered to check my rank in the last 5 months. I'm thinking about removing myself from all the boards for a while. Unless I retest or successfully learn a language between now and next October (not impossible, but just really hard when you don't have the resources or time), it's lights out for me for the time being. I try not to think about it, especially right now because I have such mixed feelings now that I'm living in Austin, but it inevitably comes up. I'm actually meeting up with someone new tomorrow who wants to ask me some questions about the process.

On a completely different note, I am going back "home" in a month. By home, I don't mean Cape Cod. Just the Northeast in general. I'll get to see my dad, who is turning 70 next month (when did he get so old?!), and the rest of my really good friends who still live up there. I've been very homesick for them lately. A long weekend in Burlington during the fall foliage season will be just what I need. It won't hurt that I'll likely bring a pretty great traveling companion. :)

Overall, there isn't too much out of the ordinary going on. I'm scraping by, trying to remember to be thankful for all of the great things I'm experiencing. I'll get through the rough stuff eventually, and I know I'm always that much better for it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Face Hurts

My days have been so filled with activity that it's hard to write a coherent post about what's been going on the last month. First off, it's August! When/how did this happen?! It's not that I'm not excited to be moving closer to joining the Foreign Service, I'm just stunned at how quickly time is flying by. I am just starting to really settle into Austin, and the people I've met are simply fantastic. Knowing that I'm going to be leaving them in a year or so (more? less?), well, that just makes me sad. I suppose it's good practice and all that, but, seriously, I LOVE it here.

I have a job interview of sorts tomorrow. I'm not sure how much the position pays, but hopefully it's quite a bit more than what I'm making. That would allow me to work normal people hours (instead of 7-6 everyday), and ease the burden of planning out my paychecks weeks in advance. It would also be closer to my house. This would give me more time to spend with my friends and my dogs. And maybe go for a jog every now and again!

I have to say, I have been generally happier the last two months than I have been in a very long time. And to add to the already wonderful feelings of vitality and happiness that have been coursing through my veins, I've managed to meet someone who makes me smile so much that I think my face might get stuck this way. This generally goes for the rest of my friends, but perhaps with this one I can't help but grin just a teensy bit more. It's refreshing, to say the least! :D

I've found that trying to do what makes me happy just helps the rest of the pieces fall into place. And, boy, am I one happy girl.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Staying Put (And Loving It!)

So, yeah, my job is still soul-sucking and terrible, but in the last week or two, I have been trying really hard to have fun outside of work. It's a strange, yet freeing, feeling resigning myself to knowing I won't be joining the Foreign Service in the next 6 months, likely longer. My feeling about being here suddenly switched from biding my time and waiting to waiting, but living here as well. And in this short time, I've been having a blast! It's great what a little outward adjustment of your attitude can do to your inner thoughts and feelings. I genuinely hope this is an indicator of my time left in Austin. I love this place!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Reputation Precedes Me

You know what makes me feel amazing? Being recruited for something because someone has heard that I'm good.

I know I'm betraying my inner feminist by saying and feeling this way, but I much prefer playing sports on mostly or all male teams. In my experience, the level of competition is much higher, and the thrill that much bigger, when you perform well against people who are automatically assumed to be better than you because of gender. I have played ice hockey on all-male teams since I was 8. I now play floorball. If we can get past the gender divisions in IFF's rules, I will be playing for the Austin men's team for the national championship in California in 6 weeks. And now, I'm going to be playing for the local A-level men's roller hockey league because the owner of the sports arena heard I was a good ice hockey goalie.

My dad used to tell me, "If you're really that good, other people will do your bragging for you." There's no bigger compliment or self-esteem booster than when that sentiment rings true.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

2011 Will Be My Year

So, it seems that I will not be getting an offer for any of the 2010 A-100 classes. How do I know? Well, because I was placed on the register at 53, and am languishing still, after two offers, at somewhere in the high-40s. It is highly unlikely that I will be extended an offer in one of the two remaining classes with so many people coming off the DNC list, and so many more passing their OA and jumping onto the register with scores higher than mine.

Le sigh.

The Foreign Service life is nothing if not waiting, so I suppose this is to be expected. Since I have been "afforded" this extra time, I am going to commit myself to trying to change a few things in my life before I get the call, and not just mope around and sulk about how this process is taking just short of FOREVER (for those who are counting, I took my FSOT on February 12, 2009).

Some things I'd like to accomplish while I'm in Austin:

- Get out and really see the city. Make this place my true home so I always have people to come back to, and so I don't end up feeling baseless overseas.

- Make real friends, not just acquaintances. Those of you who know me know that I am a bit of an introvert when it comes to getting to know people. I tend to keep it superficial with most, though I am very attached and loyal to my small inner circle. Because I will be interacting with new people every day, and because my close friends will often be moved around every couple of years, this is a crucial skill to develop.

- Try my best to get fit. I'm a pretty big girl, and, unfortunately, built like my dad. I know that I was never meant to be skinny. That being said, I also don't want to live my life being overweight. I will always be representing America when I'm abroad, and the last thing I want to do is feed into that stereotype. Also, getting in shape is for practicality purposes; what happens if I get assigned to a post in Asia ? I was head and shoulders, literally, above most other people (men included) in India. It's already going to be difficult finding clothing there that fits a 5'10" woman. Why make things more difficult by trying to find clothes to fit one who is plus-size? And, of course, I love sports. I would like to join the Hashers when I get overseas, so being physically fit would be a great start.

- Try to learn a language. I want to get serious about this. My goal? Become at least marginally conversational in Russian, even I get called before I can score bonus points. The former Soviet bloc is of great interest to me, and I hope to specialize in that area in the future. It certainly can't hurt to learn a little something now.

I think it's good to have goals. While I may not achieve everything on this list to the extent I am imagining in my head, I still want to try. If I don't, who knows what kinds of opportunities I may be squandering. I love this city; I won't be here forever; I might as well try my best to enjoy the months I have left, right?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Was your knowledge tested?

Did you know the answers to the questions in the last post? Take a look and find out how you scored!

1. The most-populated capital city in the world is Tokyo, Japan.

2. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, is considered the coldest capital city in the world; the average high temperature in January is a frosty 2 degrees Fahrenheit!

3. At 13,488 feet, La Paz, Bolivia, the highest capital city in the world.

4. The United States of America ranks in the top 5 countries in the world in terms of population, but it is the only one that does not have an official language.

5. Antananarivo is the capital of this 10-letter country. M-A-D-A-G-A-S-C-A-R

6. There are 10 landlocked countries that have navies. Can you name them? (Hint: 2 in South America; 3 in Africa; 4 in Asia; 1 in Europe) Bolivia, Paraguay, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Uganda, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Turkmenistan, and Serbia.

7. South Africa has three capital cities -- one judicial, one executive, one legislative -- none of which is its most populous city.

8. There are 13 sheep for every one person in New Zealand.

9. This tiny country in the Pacific has a population of only 48 people, mostly descendants of the Bounty, no natural harbors, no airport, and communicates with the outside world through satellite phones and internet service. Name it. Pitcairn Islands

10. The number of states/countries which the United States recognizes as independent is 194.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Learnin' is Overrated

I love to learn, but I really do not enjoy college. I am currently taking a class on corporate finance. Major yawn. I much prefer organic learning, or learning due to interest or accident. Being forced to learn something causes me to go into extreme procrastination mode--as if I really needed help there.

So, here are some things I've learned about cities and countries around the world that make me only want to know more. How many of the following questions can you answer without the help of Google? Post your answers in the comments!

1. The most-populated capital city in the world is ____________.

2. __________ is considered the coldest capital city in the world; the average high temperature in January is a frosty 2 degrees Fahrenheit!

3. At 13,488 feet, ___________ is the highest capital city in the world.

4. __________ ranks in the top 5 countries in the world in terms of population, but it is the only one that does not have an official language.

5. Antananarivo is the capital of this 10-letter country.

6. There are 10 landlocked countries that have navies. Can you name them? (Hint: 2 in South America; 3 in Africa; 4 in Asia; 1 in Europe)

7. __________ has three capital cities -- one judicial, one executive, one legislative -- none of which is its most populous city.

8. There are 13 sheep for every one person in __________.

9. This tiny country in the Pacific has a population of only 48 people, mostly descendants of the Bounty, no natural harbors, no airport, and communicates with the outside world through satellite phones and internet service. Name it.

10. The number of states/countries which the United States recognizes as independent is __________.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

You Should Live Here: Austin, TX

I've had the luck of getting to meet a few future colleagues in both Boston, MA, and Austin, TX. Not that I don't have love for you Massholes--I spent 24 years of my life growing up there--but there is something about Austinites that just makes me smile. I think a large part of it has to do with the fact that most of the people here are transplants. When you're new to a place, you try your best to meet new people and make friends. That attitude just sticks. Things are also really laid back here, and Austin isn't exactly what you would picture when you think of Texas. P (a future diplomat) said it best yesterday: "Austin is big-city convenience with a small-town feel." He's dead-on. Austin proper has a population of about 750k, while the Austin Metro area has a population of about 1.7m. That's a lot of people! Still, it's a haven for home-grown businesses and a laid-back lifestyle. Picture Burlington, VT only bigger and much, much hotter. I love it here!

My new-found friends and I watched the US not lose to England (poor Rob Green, though, did you see him getting beat up mercilessly by the British press? He will NEVER live that goal down) at an incredibly busy Cuatros, and then we went for some tasty Mexican at Wahoo's Fish Taco. And to top it off? Jenga, Skee-ball, tabletop shuffleboard, and king-size checkers over drinks at Kung Fu Saloon. Is there really a more fun afternoon? If I have to be poor and struggling in some city in America, I'd prefer it to be here. Would you like to live in a one-bedroom apartment in a nice, gated community with a pool-side cabana area with two gas grills and outdoor refrigerators, on-site dog park, free Wii and XBox rentals, which is pet friendly for less than $600/month? In the words of the great philosopher, Sarah Palin, You Betcha.

So tonight it's off to floorball where we will have our work cut out for us (no subs tonight, and then a fill-in game for one of the absent goalies), but it's all in the name of fun. I will do my best to forget I have to wake up at 5:30 for my awful job, and at this rate, I don't think that will be too hard.

So, in summary, this is Austin. You should live here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Soldiering Through (a.k.a. Today Made Me Cry and I'm Going to Complain about it Here)

I know that, somehow or other, things sort of just work out in my favor. I often go through a lot of stress and aggravation in either finding or waiting for a solution, but things always work out in my favor.

However, there are days like today when I just get overwhelmed and end up in tears. Nothing that happened today was particularly awful on its own, but it's more along the lines of having a pebble in your shoe all day, and then another, and another, until finally you just need to call it quits and stop walking.

I'm way overtired, mostly because I have been working 7:00 - 6:00 for the last two weeks straight trying to get enough money together to pay my bills, and I have an hour and a half commute every day. I'm out of the house for about 12.5 hours minimum per day. I have only 2 or so hours to be at home with my dogs and relax before I go to sleep and get up to start it all over again. It's tough on them and me. As I cleaned up after one of my dogs this morning on our walk, I noticed something that was less-than-great--a worm. This is bad because once one dog gets them, it's almost impossible for the other to not get them. I think I caught it pretty early, as there was only one that I could see, but the medicine won't get to me until early next week. Not only was it money I didn't really have to spend (and this is even after getting a very discounted medicine online), but my poor pup has to live with those disgusting parasites until Tuesday because I'm so broke.

I'm also getting sick. My glands are swollen and I've had a headache all day, so I know this is the beginning stage of whatever I've contracted. I thought my day was already pretty lousy, but 5 minutes before I had to leave work some jerkoff called and was a complete and utter shithead to me. This is how the conversation went (and I am not exaggerating):

ME: "Hello, thank you for calling [my work], how may I help you?"
SHITHEAD: "Yeah, I got a order number for you."
ME: "Unfortunately, our system went down about 15 minutes ago, so I can't pull up your order, but if you tell me what's going on I might be able to troubleshoot it blind."
ME: "Sir, I apologize, but our systems are down. I cannot look up anything regarding your order or your account, but I might be able to help you if you can tell me what is going on with your order."
SHITHEAD: "Okay, so, um, I got this product that y'all sent to me, and I returned it, and y'all were supposed to, like, set up an exchange for me, but I ain't got nothin' now."
ME: "Ah, okay. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to see if they've set up the new order for you, or if they've processed the return. If you call us back first thing in the morning when we reopen, we can certainly help you then."
SHITHEAD, Belligerently: "NAH, NAH, NAH! See, you said TWICE that you could help me if I told you what was going on, and I have my order number, but you ain't done nothin' for me! THIS IS BULLSHIT!"
ME: "Sir, I told you I MIGHT be able to help you. Like I said, our system went down 15 minutes ago, and I cannot see anything at all regarding your return, or a replacement order."
ME, getting angry now, but remaining calm: "Sir, I did not guarantee that I'd be able to help you. I said MIGHT. MIGHT means that it's possible I can, and it's possible I can't. Unfortunately, I cannot help you. You will have to call back tomorrow."

At that point I terminated the call and reported his number to my managers (neither of whom work late, so that's accountability for you). It's not even like I took his remarks personally, I'm just angry at people like him for being such terrible examples of human beings. Where is the civility? I don't have to have been born 50 years ago to tell you that manners, by and large, are non-existent in today's causal society. And the way people treat those in service positions is just atrocious. I'd had enough, and it was time for me to leave work, so I packed up and left.

Only I had more than an hour to drive home because there was an accident. I was just ready for the day to be over. So I got home, sat down on my couch, and I just started crying. Sometimes I get so beat down by the day-to-day that it's hard to remain positive.

On the bright side, tomorrow is Friday. Also, I'm hosting a potluck barbecue this weekend for some local FSO wannabes, so I do have something to look forward to, if I can just get past today.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

To our troops, both active and retired, those living and whose lives have been sacrificed in the line of duty, and to all of their families who support them day in and day out, thank you for your service. Thank you so very, very much.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Trying to Find the Backdoor

Not being in a position to receive an offer for August is maddening, even when I've told myself countless times that I need to wait at least until October before I start getting my hopes up. I still emailed Pat Evans last night and asked that I be considered for any late additions to a class. While I may reside in Texas, I'd be happy to take a page from Kolbi's book and sprint to DC if a spot became available. I have done the math; I could accept a call for a class within 5 days of it starting and be ready to go (tired, but ready to go). As long as I could get the movers in and out of my apartment in a day-- and let's face it, I'm a broke college-age student, I don't own THAT much stuff--I'd be packed and ready to go within 24 hours. Two days of driving and I'm in Virginia.

Yes, I've played this scenario out in my head every which way. And I'm really hoping one of my compatriots decides at the last minute that they should wait until the next class, leaving me to swoop in and get called earlier.

I honestly won't miss the job I have now. If I have to tell another educator how to spell "academic" or "education," there is a very real chance I might quit on the spot.

Friday, May 7, 2010

When this apple fell, she rolled far, far from the tree

To sort of run with the last post's topic--of not really being very family-oriented, that is--I sometimes feel as though I ought to give some background as to why I am this way. It's mostly because my family is, well, just plain awful. I don't mind if they were to read this (not that any of them is very literate, especially when it comes to computers), because they've long known I feel this way. Some of them aren't good people, and they are the better ones. Most of them are bad, rotten-to-the-core people. This goes for my immediate as well as extended family members.

I'm writing this because today I found out that my little brother, whom I'd always seen as fairly innocent, if a bit mixed up with the wrong crowd, was arrested for armed robbery on Wednesday night. From what I hear, he knocked over a convenience store with his friend to feed his new drug habit. I don't need to really tell you readers out there that THIS IS A FELONY CHARGE. I know there are some people out there who make good lives for themselves after incarceration for a serious crime like this, but most of them don't. No one wants to hire a convicted felon. His life is going to become mooching off the system and living in a gutter with a needle sticking out of his arm or a collapsed nose from snorting too much coke. Any hopes he had of straightening out his life and going into the armed forces are gone. Great job, kiddo. Way to fuck up your life for the rest of your goddamn life by age 22.

I wish I could say he were an anomaly in my family, but it turns out he's really the rule, not the exception. I'm the exception - the white sheep of the family if you will. I'm the only one without a criminal past, with a steady job, a clean credit report, who has never been into drugs, and has a promising future. My family is filled with drug addicts, alcoholics, pedophiles, thieves, abusers (of women and children), deadbeats, master manipulators and overall scum. The only person I maintain any form of contact with is my father. My six brothers, mother, and countless extended family members aren't to be trusted.

I know I sound angry about the situation, but I'm not. I don't like the people to whom I happen to be related. I actually am so thankful that I didn't turn out that way, and that I have had the good sense since I was "knee-high to a grasshopper" to want to do everything in my power to be better than the people from whom I came. Seriously, I think I'm so incredibly lucky to be who I am, in spite of my background. Things get difficult some days, and I feel overwhelmed. I get upset and wonder sometimes why life seems to be so tough. And then I remember where I come from and where I'm going. So much in my life has sort of fallen into place, thanks to a fortuitous combination of hard work and (a lot of) luck. I really think about it and am amazed: A diplomat in my family? Who on earth would have predicted that?

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Post Wherein I Needlessly Worry About The Future

I don't want to have children. Ever.

I've always felt this way. When I was a little girl, I never liked to pretend my dolls were my babies, or that I was their mother, nor did I fantasize about growing up and having babies or getting/being pregnant. I apologize in advance to all you moms out there who may heartily disagree, but pregnancy and childbirth sincerely gross me out. Like, to the point of making me queasy when I hear terms like "mucous plug" (barf!). I think some babies are cute, but I never have thought to myself, "Aww! I want one of those!" I honestly believe that I lack true maternal instincts. So, if I really don't want kids, why am I writing this post?

The Foreign Service is much more than a job, or even a career. This is a lifestyle you choose. You weigh the pros and cons, and then you choose. I wrote a few months back about the toll this choice has taken on my relationship, and while it's really hard to accept, I have to realize how much of this is my doing. I want this lifestyle; not everyone else will want it, too. Most of the people I read about or have heard about in the Foreign Service are very family-oriented, or have spouses/significant others who want to be a part of this life. They have their husbands/wives/fiancés/fiancées/children to help make the transition easier for them once they move overseas. I won't have a significant other, and I choose not to have children.

As a single woman joining the Foreign Service, finding a partner is likely going to be an uphill battle. Men have it a little easier. As the old joke goes, if you want to find out where a man spent his first tour, ask his wife where she's from. On top of that, finding a partner who is interested in spending most of his adult life overseas with me (either following me or as a tandem partner) is going to be a bit more work.

I sometimes worry that because FSOs seem so deeply family-oriented, that I'm going to end up somewhat left out. Rational? Irrational? I don't know. I don't really need to be worrying about that right now, but it doesn't stop me from thinking about it.

How did you folks out there manage to strike a balance between choosing a career in the Foreign Service and maintaining your sanity in regards to your personal life?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Little Spring Fluff

The weather is getting nicer with every day that passes, and it makes me smile and want to sing.

For some reason, Train's new single, "Hey, Soul Sister," is the song that fills me with happiness and allows me to enjoy the sunshine just a little bit more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Glimpse of the Future?

I am addicted to the National Geographic channel's series called "Banged Up Abroad." In the US it's called "Locked Up Abroad," but they're essentially the same show. Each episode features someone who, through his or her own fault or not, was either held in captivity (some) or jailed (most) in a foreign country. Most episodes deal with stupid people trying to smuggle drugs from one country to another, and the time they spend behind bars once they get caught.

I. Love. This. Show.

As an aspiring consular officer, one who is especially interested in American Citizen Services, this show is even more interesting to me than it might normally be. If you haven't already seen it, I recommend you give it a chance!

Watch all of the episodes here!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

There Are No Words For This Post

There are very serious things going on in the world, I know (what happened to Poland today, for instance). However, this makes me question humanity in more ways than one. By the way, that link may be slightly not-safe-for-work, so click at your own risk.

I just...*sigh* Ladies, GET IT TOGETHER.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Four for You, Lin-Coco

This video has been making its way around the interwebs, and for good reason!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

I called Pat this morning over at HR to see if my information had made its way from DS. Imagine my surprise when I found out that not only did my information make it over to HR for Final Suitability, but I was placed on the register yesterday afternoon!

I'm currently ranked #53 out of 105 on the Consular register. I'm hoping for August, but, let's be honest, I'll take anything.

Monday, April 5, 2010

177 Days

Great news, folks. I've finally made my way through the quagmire that is Adjudications. After 177 days, I've been granted my Top Secret security clearance. That's .4849 years spent waiting for someone to say "yea" or "nay."

So, what have I been up to the last few months? I moved out of Massachusetts and came back to Austin, Texas, the place where I started this whole journey. I've got another meaningless job, doing customer service work as an inbound call rep. The work is monotonous and frustrating (if the people I speak to on a daily basis are any sort of representative cross-section of our nation's collective intelligence, I'm afraid for our country's future), but I needed a job and they hired me. This is exactly why I need to get in good with the foreign service. Without a bachelor's degree, I am going to end up doing menial jobs like this for the rest of my life.

I'm still going to school, playing floorball and hockey, and enjoying the amazing weather. It's been 80+ degrees for the last week...who can complain about that?

I'm hoping to be on the register within the next couple of weeks. I'd love to have an offer for the August A-100, assuming I end up on the register in the 40s.

Here's to progress and a speedy Final Suitability Review!