why move east?

When I was 14, I decided that I wanted to learn Arabic, mostly because I wanted to be a pain in the ass and do something that no one in my hometown would ever think about doing.  (This mindset also led, in subsequent years, to a name change, 10 piercings in my left ear, a tattoo, and a regrettable time when I had bright red hair.)  At age 18, I picked a college with an Arabic program and, more importantly, a hefty financial aid offer, and off I went to St. Louis.  Arabic was the hardest thing I'd ever done - and I loved it. Nothing else had ever made me work so hard.  In the process, I fell in love with the Arab world, the Caucasus, Iran, and Central Asia, and I met a small group of other nerds with the same loves.  Nearly ten years ago I joined the U.S. Foreign Service, fulfilling several of my needs on the Maslow hierarchy: an income, health insurance, an incredible network of friends and colleagues who are just as passionate about their specialties as I am about mine, opportunities to see places and to do things I never dreamed possible for a farm girl from Arkansas, and a chance to change the world, one small step at a time.

I started this blog when I joined the Foreign Service, to chronicle a new chapter in my life (and to make a break with the high school/college blog).  I try to be honest yet prudent here, because obviously there are limits to what I can say about my job and my coworkers in a public forum.   I try to be honest while staying mostly upbeat.  And finally, I try to be honest in the most humorous way possible - if you've ever met me in person, you know that I can't go long without making a joke or telling an amusing story that you reminded me of.

So!  Welcome to the slow move east.  I don't know where it'll go next, but it's guaranteed to be interesting.

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