Thursday, September 20, 2007

Weekly Humor, Round 1

i would like to say that i have a newfound appreciation for academia - you know, when you only have to be in one place for two to four hours a day, and the rest of the time is spent doing whatever the hell you want and can disguise as work.

Because of security considerations (and a healthy departmental disapproval of blogging), there's not a lot of specifics i can share about my job and the people i meet. This is your regularly scheduled reminder that you are reading this as a close colleague, friend, or family member. Even though i will not be divulging many specifics and will probably change a lot of details, please keep in mind that this isn't a public blog for a reason! (The Security Guy came and lectured/barked at us today. Can you tell?)

With that out of the way, it's time to move on to Weekly Humor. Yesterday we got to mingle with a group of outgoing ambassadors who wanted to meet the newbies for some unholy reason. Before we met them, the question was raised in our class of how many were career Foreign Service people and how many were political appointees. (The United States is, if i am not mistaken, virtually alone in the world in continuing to appoint large quantities of political ambassadors without a career in diplomacy; they make up around 30% of our ambassadorial work force.) We were told that there were indeed some political appointees among the group, but we were not told at first who they were. When i saw the pack, i noted that some of them wore an American flag lapel pin while others did not. i had trouble keeping a straight face when, during introductions, i discovered the perfect correlation between lapel-wearers and the list of political appointees. It was a small sample size, to be sure, so i'm hoping i can meet a large pool of ambassadors to test my theory further. Now i'm trying to see if i can find some interesting common behavior displayed by those classmates who wear a patterned shirt (green gridded lines on cream, shall we say) with a differently patterned and colored tie (pink paisley). Then again, color-blindness might be the problem. Let's hope so.

Also, today i discovered that crying can be an effective negotiating tactic, or perhaps it only works when you're dealing with an insurance company that is already predisposed to offer good customer service. Surprisingly, i haven't used the tears-on-command tactic much in the past, to my family's great happiness, i'm sure!


  1. hannah, I just wanted to first say that I love your blog. It is a lot more in depth, and therefore better, than your Xanga was. I'm glad I took some time to night to catch up on what you've been writing.

    A few comments from recent posts:

    (1) You don't really pay $1,950 a month in rent do you? There's no way. I pay $800 in New Orleans, and although I'm pretty lucky, I could never imagine an apartment costing 2 grand a month. Unless you're renting a room in the White House.

    (2) Please don't go to Jerusalem! Who's blog would I comment on when you're gone? :-( I personally would choose Dubai....they have a lot of big golf tournaments there and they are constructing the tallest building in the world there.

    (3) The lapel pin theory is awesome. Damn those unworthy political appointees.

    (4) I know what it feels like to be the youngest in the class. After a little time passes, nobody (including yourself) will even know the difference. The only good thing is that they probably won't send you to Jerusalem in light of the fact that you are 22 and too young and fashion-sensitive to die.

  2. Now you know why I don't have a blog! Don't worry though, there are several FS blogs out there...just be discreet!

  3. Ben, here you go, point-by-point.
    1) No, i'm not, the lovely American people are paying for this lease! i'm in a prime position in suburban DC, which explains the rents. Similar apartments in Manhattan would cost upwards of $5K a month. All of this makes my very frugal self sad... i paid $275/month in St. Louis!
    2) i have no intention of going there, but Riyadh or Islamabad is a distinct possibility. They do have internet there, though, so don't worry. =P You can come visit me on a long weekend and i'll take you golfing in Dubai.
    3) i thought it was pretty cool. =D Not to say they're unworthy... i'm sure they'll do a fine job, since it takes diplomatic skill to get such a coveted position. It's just been developed outside the Foreign Service.
    4) Thank you for this... it means a lot. The age gap has really been bothering me a lot.