Sunday, August 31, 2008

24 Hours in Riyadh

Well, I'm here, even if my two checked suitcases aren't yet, but BMI thinks they'll be here soon. (I had two suits, two shirts, three pairs of unmentionables, and my allergy meds in my carry on bags... things will start to get really interesting by Tuesday if I don't get my bags soon!)

What to say... my house is huge - three bedrooms, two sitting room type things, an office space (which strangely enough does not have the house's sole internet access point), and God knows what else that I haven't found. I know a lot of people here already, which is very nice, but the others I've met seem to be hardworking, cynical, and sarcastic, with a penchant for off-color jokes. Feels like a good match.

Today I was at the embassy from 8 to 8. That's somewhat disingenuous, as there was a catered lunch (three new people arrived to the consular section this weekend, two leave this week) plus several hours of running around the embassy, meeting people and filling out paperwork. I'll be eased into the regular work schedule there over the next few weeks.

That's all I have for now. The internet's pretty slow here, and I'm too tired to worry about setting up the proxy server and the like (gotta access Pandora and AIM somehow). I hope to have Skype up and running in a few days. Ciao folks!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

In London

I survived NYC - barely. Tales of bureaucratic battles, weddings, and the best shoes ever await you, but they'll have to be related once I am coherent, clean, and settled into Saudi. I'm at Heathrow now, and my flight leaves in an hour or so. I already expect wonderful things from it, given that the ratio of adults to children among the passengers I've seen so far appears to be 1:3.

Catch you on the flip side!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last Post from DC

Well, here it is. My car is halfway back to Arkansas (and probably wishes he were back in DC, given that there was a shootout in the parking lot of my mom's hotel at 4 AM), my suitcases are packed, and the administrative work is almost done. All that's left are the goodbyes and a few additional hair-pulling moments of frustration. Ah well, what can you do?

I'll see you from New York!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Moving, Again

Things I have discovered while preparing for my packout (ie, movers show up to box my things and put them on the truck to Saudi Arabia) tomorrow.
  • I am addicted to Burt's Bees - I have found at least eight stubs of BB lip gloss today alone. This is after I bought four or five to get me through my first few months in Riyadh.
  • I have enough sheet and towel sets to furnish a medium-sized B&B.
  • In addition to the bedrooms at this B&B, I have enough knives and kitchen utensils to outfit its kitchen. You may draw your own conclusions as to why I have about 15 brand-new, very sharp knives in my possession.
  • At some point in my life, I raided the Rendezvous' stash of moist towelettes and placed the entire haul into the inner pocket of every purse I own - in the event that I have a BBQ emergency, evidently.
  • I have pairs of jeans in every size from 4 to 12, only about half of which fit me at any given time...
  • ...yet I can still wear my Dolphinstock shirt from ASMS 2003.
  • My color palette in my professional wardrobe has recently branched out. I formerly owned suits that were entirely or almost completely black; I have recently added dark gray and dark brown. I don't want to go too crazy here.
  • I have never moved to any place where I couldn't use my car to get there, and so I could always just leave shirts on hangers for the drive. Folding nearly every shirt I own, knowing that when I see them again in two months they will be wrinkled nearly beyond repair? Not cool.
Back to packing. Who knows, I might find the Lindbergh baby next.

Friday, August 15, 2008

In Twelve Hours... experience the FSI Arabic department comes to an end, at least for this tour. My final exam starts at 9 AM. I'm offering 3:1 odds that something horrific happens, such as I forget every verb I know, and 4:1 odds that I get the crazy bitch (the one who drove me to the ER in a panic attack) for one of my examiners.

So. Not. Excited.

Friday update: I got the score I wanted! Well, I was aiming half a step higher, but I qualify now for incentive pay, which is really the only thing that matters. My travel to Japan, China, and Taiwan has now been funded! Yay! No more Arabic ever ever ever again for me! (Yeah, right...)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

3 Weeks!!

I am barely maintaining control of the insanity. I leave DC in 3 weeks. I think I'm on top of tasks (except for paperwork... god, I hate it), but I have this feeling that something horrific and time-consuming is going to come up at the last minute. My two best friends from the FS left for post this week, the news from Saudi Arabia has been less than stellar of late, and I have my end-of-training Arabic exam in eight days. I am so not enthralled.

If you see me belly-up at a bar in Georgetown or Rosslyn in the next two weeks, just buy me another beer and call me a cab, would you?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Istanbul 2010!!

I got my first choice post! I'll get to Istanbul in June 2010, where I will remain until June 2012 as a political officer, reporting on things like minority religious and ethnic communities in Istanbul and human rights. I am so excited!!!