Monday, November 29, 2010

A Rough Day, Getting Rougher

Wikileaks.  Urgh.

That's all I've got on that topic now, though if you're a user of Google Reader, you might see more of my opinions in that venue.  I've kept the profanity to a minimum.

I also just got slammed with being the control for four official visits in the next two weeks, three of which have fewer than 12 hours between one visitor's wheels up and the next visitor's arrival.  Getting out and meeting with people on my own?  Totally unnecessary.  I can't do my job because of my job!

Did I mention that I'm up for tenure, rather by surprise?  And that I therefore have to prepare my performance memoranda with about a four-week notice, which included a ten-day stay in the US?  Oh, and that I'm the guinea pig at post for testing our all-online performance evaluation system...  which is to say that no one can figure out how in the hell I'm supposed to have an EER.  I mean, it's to my financial benefit not to get tenured this go-round (hello, six more months of overtime), but still, if I'm not to be tenured, I'd at least like it to be because I was considered and judged to need more time.

Also, it appears that if one spends 10 days at home with one's family doing nothing but eating homemade food and drinking, one might gain some weight.  I'd make a joke about my hips not lying about how much they love my stepdad's cooking, but I'm too tired and grumpy.

Whine, grump, complain.  I'm taking my Beej and going to bed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Good Things in Life

Whoops, didn't make it in time for the weekly round up.  Oh well - here's my list of things for which I am thankful.

  • I am thankful for my mother, and for the chance I got to spend ten days with her last week.  We need hannah-Mumsy time at a minimum of once every six months to maintain our (relative) mental stability.
  • I am thankful for the 25 years I had with my Aunt Gail and for how close we have always been.  I am thankful that her illness was swift and that she didn’t suffer long. 
  • I am also thankful for my coworkers in Istanbul and across the world, who have been so kind and supportive of me during the last few months.  As has been said, one of the hardest parts about this job is being a continent away when family’s in poor health in the States.  Unfortunately, I understand this from personal experience…  but fortunately, everyone else does too, so when someone needs to go home on short notice, the office pulls together.  My coworkers offered to take over official visits and Congressional reports for me, two things that no one ever wants to deal with.  Seriously, I love my post.
  • I am thankful for my email group – six opinionated, strong women who have held together for over two years across 8 countries, 14 time zones, job losses, multiple break-ups, and family deaths, existing on a diet of advice, gossip, TMI, mutual celebration, and lolcat videos.
  • I am thankful for my friends in Turkey, a ragtag group of expats with amazing stories and backgrounds - former professional dog handler, a person who tried to talk his way into Saudi Arabia based solely on his Shell employee ID, a thoughtful anarchist working for a large multinational firm, and a shitton of English teachers.  Call me socially isolationist, but I like my batch of Americans-in-exile.
Hope you're all well!  I'm here...  more updates to follow later in the day.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Back to Normal in Istanbul

After I left a meeting today, I walked back towards the metro station to take the train home.  It's a perfectly normal route for me; meetings are often held in the Taksim area because it's so central to everyone.  Then it struck me - I was walking through the site of the Sunday bombing.  There were no additional police (that is to say, no more than usual), no additional barricades, and people were walking around enjoying the beautiful weather.  It was so normal.

In Turkey's ongoing war with the PKK, perhaps as many as 40,000 people have died in the last thirty years, in terrorist attacks, military operations, and the civilians caught in the crossfire between the PKK and the military.  Sadly, this is a country that is used to constant, "low-level" acts of terror.  By this I mean incidents that kill 2 or 3 or 6 people, not mass casualty events.  Imagine what would have happened if a similar bomb had gone off in DC or any other American city.  The site would be cordoned off for weeks, traffic blocked temporarily or permanently around the area, and no one would want to go near the area, no matter how central it may be to one's daily commute.  Turkey doesn't have that mentality.  For better or worse, Turkish people carry on with their business after these tragic attacks.