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 http://www.rfi.fr/ 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.
Living an exciting life on the cheap. I love traveling and want to make it accessible to a wider audience. You don't need big bucks to get away and have fun. Follow me and I'll help you make the most out of your budget.