Welcome back to the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup. If this is your first time visiting the roundup let me explain how this works. Each week a FS blogger somewhere volunteers to compile a list of interesting posts by FS bloggers. It is not meant to be a comprehensive list of every post published by any foreign service blogger anywhere. Instead it is a list of posts that the roundup compiler found interesting for one reason or another and wants to share. That blogger then publishes the list on Friday. To sign up simply visit A Daring Adventure and pick a date to host. Slow internet is no excuse! Internet doesn't get much slower than Malawi. Dial up is faster than this.
Every time I look at one of these roundups I always think, "How do they keep track of all those blogs?" The last time I did the roundup I was in Germany land of good beer and reliable high speed internet. My strategy for finding blog posts was to go to Life After Jerusalem and click down Digger's exhaustive list of FS blogs on her sidebar one by one. It was a very effective strategy but it did rely on a decent internet speed to get through all of those blogs in a reasonable amount of time. That strategy isn't working very well for me this time. It would take weeks just to load all those pages. Hannah at The Slow Move East is apparently smarter than me. She recommends google reader to help keep track of all those state blogs out there. I think I will be spending some time this weekend figuring out how to use google reader.
WELCOME AND WELCOME BACK
This round up welcomes some new FS bloggers from the 156th A-100 class, as well as the 115th specialist class. There is nothing quite like the first day. Already they have attended a meet and greet hosted by the 154th class, survived in-processing, received their first bid list, and still some have managed to get out and try some new culinary experiences. By the time you are reading this on Friday they will have survived their first week at FSI.
This round up also sees the return of some bloggers who have been absent for a long time. Diplotrotter is back and shares the day her life changed forever. What an awful experience, you have my deepest sympathies. We are glad that you are back among the blogging and look forward to more blog posts in the future.
Where in the World is Doug is now in Germany where he is overheating his laptop making up for lost time after a tour in Zambia, land of the world's slowest internet. He is apparently trying to put up 2 years worth of posts in just two weeks time, so I encourage you to scroll down though the last couple of weeks and look at all the wonderful experiences they had in Zambia. However I can't pass up the chance to point out some very handsome cyberbones kids he ran across on his visit to Frankfurt for some training last spring. Forgive me for a little self promotion.
A distinct pleasure of serving overseas is discovering new cuisines and trying new food. Beef isn't really a new food but Megan, The Half-Breed Outlaw, is finding that beef in Buenos Ares is a totally new experience. Wow those ribs look fabulous.
Mobile Home is discovering new fruits after she arranged for a personal farmer weekly produce delivery. I wonder if I could arrange something like that here in Malawi? Hmm....
Dilpomat and Cat have discovered that menus in Mexico may look English friendly at first glance but it is all a ruse. Make sure to click on the picture and try and read the menu. Tricky!
Emily at Our Life is training her young son Thomas to work for his food. Too funny! I could see Grayson doing this too, however my other kids would rather go hungry.
Two Crabs made a trip to Cyprus where they did absolutely nothing. Sounds wonderful and the scenery is gorgeous. Where do I sign up?
Sarah of Novakistan is spending some time in Minnesota and brings us this humorous list of observations. I particularly like the socks and sandals, always in style. Will there be a humorous list of life in Manila when she returns? I really hope so!
Lindsay Mae is also taking a break from Manila and reconnecting with grandparents, cousins, and friends. Sounds like a wonderful time.
All of us with kids in school have to deal with bullies sometimes, but what happens when mom becomes the bully? Ooops! Really folks it was an accident, she didn't mean to tell the teacher she was LAME. Hopefully by the time I'll Take Mine To Go returns from Jamaica she will be able to help her son deal with bullies and she will be ready to deal with the teacher.
Kolbi has embarked on a daring new adventure, public school! Her oldest is now a sophomore. It's the first time he has ever attended school. This licensed pilot and eagle scout has always been home-schooled. Something tells me he is going to do just fine. Oh and Kolbi since you have an opening in your homeschool would you mind terribly if I shipped a boy or two your way? You are obviously doing something right!
Digger is still at FSI and has some ideas on how to stay awake when the class gets boring. Hint: a pencil in the eye is painful but effective. She also has some ideas to help with language learning as well. Now if she could just solve the overcrowding issues in her area studies class all would be right with the world.
World Wide Available is relieved to have passed the Russian language test but is finding that she will miss FSI. Kitty Non Grata has also passed her language test, although in Khmer not Russian and is ready to start actually training for her job.
THIS AND THAT
Over at SchutzHappens the story of the chair is becoming never ending. By the way, this link is to part 33. If you want the beginning of the story you will have to scroll back a month or two and do some reading. Will the chair saga ever end??
Do you have a recommendation for a smart phone? Stephanie of Where in the World Am I is looking for ideas, so am I for that matter. Are you using a blackberry, an iphone, a droid, or an ancient cell phone from Indonesia that just won't die no matter how many times you drop it? Oh wait that last one is me. Seriously, let Stephanie (and me) know what phones working for you where ever you are. Please.
Just in case you don't have a FB account Kitty Non Grata has posted what history might be like if FB had been around way back when. This has been making the rounds on the FB. Totally hilarious!
V for VonHinken has submitted their bids for their second post and are entering the dreaded waiting period. This is the part of bidding that I hate the most, the waiting while someone else decides your future. Here's hoping you get your number one choice!
CHALLENGES AND DIFFICULTIES
Unaccompanied tours are one the more challenging experiences the FS has to offer and yet modern technology has changed all the rules. This week the Dinoa family experienced some auto problems UGH! But it wasn't all bad news, her husband was able to attend his brother's wedding via skype. Gotta love that modern technology. Sadly The Perlman Update has a problem that can't be solved by technology. Her 3 bedroom 2 bath adorable cottage turned out to be a two bedroom 1 bath adorable cottage. Yikes! It's is going to be cozy living there with three kids for the next year.
On a more serious note sometimes a FSO had to help out a family who experienced tragedy while overseas. This is part of the job. The Slow Move East had to deal with this for the first time last weekend when she was the duty officer. She found it to be a heart wrenching experience but was glad she could be there to help out.
Some might consider having a child with asperger's syndrome as a difficulty but Spectrummy Mummy makes it clear her child is a blessing. If you haven't discovered Specrtrummy Mummy yet, she blogs about being the parent of a special needs child, and also about the fun that goes with being in the FS with a special needs child. Seriously if you thought bidding was a pain, try throwing a class 2 med clearance child in the mix. It quickly goes from being a pain in the behind to absolutely nightmarish!
THAT'S ALL FOLKS
Well that's the round up for this week I know I have left out many many blogs that deserved to be in here. Blame it on poor internet service and a lack of google reader know how. My search technique was hit and miss this time, if I missed you I apologize. If you are interested in showing me how it is done just stop by A Daring Adventure and sign up to host the roundup next week.