Friday, June 18, 2010

Weekly State Department Roundup

Warning this is by far the longest post I have ever, or will ever do. Go get a something to drink and get comfy. You could be here a while.

I didn't quite know were to start with the round up so I decided the best place to start was with Digger's exhaustive state blogger list. Wow are there a lot of people out there blogging! By the time I was finished going through her list I was relieved when a blog popped up as private, that was one less to look at. Sadly I had to make some decisions. Who gets in, who gets left out? Hard call. I tried to include as many blogs as I possibly could. The bulk of this was put together on Thursday so if you posted something round-up worthy after that, and I missed it, I am truly sorry. Without further adieu I present this week's Weekly State Department Blog Roundup.

I have quite the act to follow. Ryan and Lori's Exciting Adventures celebrate the successful publication of last weeks round up with what has to be the perfect summer lunch, at least in my opinion.

Okay, so that wasn't lunch, but I bet it tasted real good.

Waiting: The one constant in Foreign Service life.
We spend our lives waiting. Waiting to find out if we are in. Waiting for bid lists. Waiting for Packout. Waiting for UAB. Waiting to leave. A life time of waiting. Seems like every one out there is waiting. I am waiting for wheels up, just two more weeks now.

Yellow Flower at Foreign Service Specialist - My OMS Journey is all packed out and waiting to start class, and start the next step in her life's adventure. She will be joining the June class of OMS at FSI. Acronym soup.

Sara at Wife-Mommy-Woman is waiting for her car to make it to post.

Zoe at Something Edited This Way Comes is waiting to leave. Italy is waiting for her, even if her apartment isn't quite ready for her yet.

Digger of Life After Jerusalem is waiting for the week to end and hoping she doesn't die of boredom in the mean time. Is it really possible to die of boredom? Only time will tell.

Donna of E-mail From the Embassy is done waiting and will be off grid for a bit while she is on home leave. Enjoy the summer and we hope to hear from you again soon.

This just in: Soon is already here. Donna is back in the states and has some words of wisdom to impart regarding dogs, 10 year olds and jet-lag. Apparently in China your dog is classified as luggage.
Rules are rules, and if the boss says the luggage goes through the x-ray machine, it goes. Whether or not it is barking.
Kolbi did you get that? Your luggage will be x-rayed whether or not it is barking. Be prepared.

Jodi at For Lack of Tacos is waiting for a trip back home and bracing herself for some reverse culture shock. I think some good Mexican food will help take the edge off the culture shock.

Worldwide Availability is waiting to start basic consular training, but is at a loss as to what to do on his first gap day.

Diplomat and Cat are waiting for their HHE which word has it will be arriving today! YAY!

Daniela at Tuk & Tam is waiting for the bid list, and a foreign assignment so she have something interesting to blog about. In the mean time she is entertaining herself with the TV show Mad Men. She is also waiting for the results of her FSOT test. Will they be a tandem at the next post?

From The Back Of Beyond is waiting to go to her first posting in Luanda, Angola. In the meantime she is coming to grips with Luanda being one of the most expensive cities in the world. And she is really wishing she had saved her t-shirt from the Angola State Prison Rodeo that she attended years ago. What a crazy world, attend the Angola Prison Rodeo, go to Angola.

The Criplomats are waiting for their next post in Israel. They still have some time left before they go. They are filling that time by getting the cat all squared away for travel, hosting visitors, and hanging out with friends. That's what life is all about. Right?

Lisons & Dansons are are waiting to go to Cairo. In the mean time they are enjoying some very fine food. I don't know where this place is but, I think I need to get there soon. It all looks delish.

Dave of dp's blog is waiting to get to the Dominican Republic. He even has the black passport in hand. Now if he could just figure out the pet shipping without going bankrupt all would be right with the world.

Devon at Devonnaire is waiting to move to Germany. As excited as she is about the posting, she is not excited about the furniture. Anyone have any tips to make American Colonial look a little more Mid-Century Modern?

Language Training
As far as I'm concerned language training is on the hardest things anyone ever has to do. I seem to have no knack for languages at all, it has become a family joke how badly I can mangle a foreign language. Anyone who can conquer a new language has my utmost respect.

Congratulations to Natalie at EF'M! David let us all know you passed your Spanish exams. Someone high up must have been reading considering the phone call she received.
A big thank you to all of the well wishers from yesterday's big announcement. Natalie was flattered. In fact, we received a phone call from no one less than our illustrious veep, Joe Biden, himself who wanted to tell Natalie that her achievement was "a big effin deal."
She won't have much time to bask in the glory of her achievements. They finally have a timeline for departure to Mexico. They have lots to do, and not much time left.

Alex at Travel Orders is working on that most difficult of languages, State Department Speak. It's more than just acronyms you know!

Short Term Memory passed the Spanish Language Phone assessment. Well Done!

At Adventures Around the World Heather's teacher decided to shake things a bit up by taking a feild trip and toruturing her with small talk. Small talk in Nepali. Egads!

Laila of Pantsuits and Pearls scored a 3/3 on her Aribic exam and on flag day last week discovered that she will be heading to Beruit. Congratulations. From some of the comments it sounds like an awesome first post.

Herding Cats is taking Spanish and really enjoying it. Check out the cool alphabet song video. If all language lessons came with such catchy tunes maybe I could actually learn to speak or at least sing in a foreign language.

Kitty Non Grata will be taking her Khmer language test today. Lots of good vibes going her way. Hopefully she will have cause for celebration when she goes paint balling this weekend.

Ever wonder how language training works for spouses? Well this week Kolbi explains the Mathematics of Language Classes at FSI. Here a hint: The numbers need to be divisible by four.

Road Tripping
As a group we seem to be always on the move. Always longing to see new things. For many of us that is what drew us to the FS in the first place. Here are some highlights from this week's travels.

Ever wondered how much time you should plan for your sight seeing? Well check out The World That We Live In for tips on how to take in the Tower of Pisa in five minutes or less. They have this tourist thing down to an art.

Amy Gottleib and some friends signed up for a tour of scenic Halong Bay, Vietnam. The only problem was it turned out to be a Bikinis and Booze Cruise. I know this would thrill a lot of people, but Amy isn't one of them. Lucky for her she found some other people who had mistakenly booked the wrong cruise as well. Get this, not only were they from her home town of Austin, Texas, but one of them actually lived on the same street she as she did. Talk about a small world!

Trailing Husband wonders why road trips always mean a flat tire. Isn't that always the way? Don't worry he didn't let it ruin the day.

Peripatetic is roadtripping through Europe with stops in Vienna and Genzano.
I interrupt our road trip chronicle to report on yesterday's Infiorata di Genzano. It's a festival that involves the creation of elaborate designs made of flower petals laid on the main cobblestone street of Genzano, a town south of Rome.
Look at this picture!

Can you believe that those pictures are made out of FLOWERS?!? It boggles the mind.

At Post
How hard is it get around at post? Depends on where you are. Some places are pretty easy to get around, other places it seems to rob your sanity just trying to get where you want to be.

Hannah of The Slow Move East tells us that there are a myriad of choices when it comes to getting around Istanbul. Everything it seems except the tuktuk. I think for me that would just afford me lots of ways to get lost. I hope Hannah has a better sense of direction than I do.

Diplomat and Cat Really wishes Juarez wouldn't change the signs so often. Election signs went up while she was at work hiding her landmarks and she missed the turn to her house. It's pretty bad when you can't find your way home.

Warpiper has decided it will be easier to get around Vietnam on 2 wheels instead of 4. He is in the market for a bike, a motorcycle that is. Now the question is should he go go all out and get a Hog, or should he buy something cheaper and more readily available?

My favorite kind of posts about life at post are those that give me a snap shot of life, show me something cool and unique, or just make me want to go there after I am done here. This week we can tour a neighborhood in Shenyang with Bridget from Shenyanigans, see some Dachas with place2place, get a glimpse of Belgrade with the Richardsons of Our Serbian Story, or take an Euatour with a Hick/Hitchiker/...Diplomat. If that isn't enough you can go watch the sea turtles with Dan and Duffy, or join in the Grand Adventures of C &D Randazzo and buy some Haitian art. I just love that three headed skeleton.

This week the photo blog At Post is now taking submissions for a new category HARDSHIP. Have you served at a hardship post? What does hardship mean to you? Send your photos in now.

World Cup Soccer, Football, Whatever!
Americans don't seem to have the same infectious love of soccer, or would that be futball, as the rest of the world. This week was the beginning of the world cup. It seems the sport is growing on some of us.

Over at Where is the World is Luca Galeno Luca was dressed the part to cheer on Germany in their match against Australia. Germany took that match 4:0. Hopefully they will do as well in today's match against Serbia.

David of EF'M decided to get into the spirt by cheering for Mexico. With his faithful pal Tiffy by his side they watched the game which ended in a draw. He decided soccer wasn't all that bad but, it is never going to catch on in the states.

Schultz Happens continues with the daily blogging. I don't know how they do it. Some days I just can't get up the energy to blog. On day 695 they bring us the latest in World Cup coverage.

The Uncommon Life has discovered that the World Cup is a huge deal in Seoul. And just about every other country except America, I'm guessing.

Diplojournal brings us a history of world cup matches between England and the US. Did you know that the US and England have only met up once before in World Cup history and America won that time? You would if you were a Brit!
Apparently, nobody in the United States knows about it because it happened over 20 years ago and because Disney never made a movie about it. Most everyone in England, however, remembers it like it was yesterday.
Maybe Disney needs to get busy immortalizing that fateful day.

This week in class Worldwide Available focused in on the World Cup results during a discussion of current events when the teacher was actually highlighting a news story about Kyrgyz refugees. Well I have to say the picture of the soccer player was a lot bigger than the refugee picture.

Career Enhancements
I didn't know quite what to call this category. My husband David suggested career enhancements, so career enhancements it is!

Natalie of Diplolife is putting out the word about the FLOS's Professional Development Fellowship. The dead line is July 16th.
The Family Liaison Office's Professional Development Fellowship program is open to spouses and partners of civilian direct hire US Government employees under Chief of Mission Authority [posted overseas]. This program is designed to assist those spouses and partners who are not in a position to pursue their career paths overseas to maintain, enhance, and/or develop their professional skills.
For more information read the rest of the post or head over to FLO's website for complete details.

World-Wide-Matel has been serving on promotions boards. It has been a learning experience. He is blogging some of the things he has learned. We should always take the chance to learn from others when ever it is presented.

The Consul's Files has been playing disaster, except that this exercise has us preparing for the next emergency where ever and when ever it may strike. Sounds like the boy scout motto "Be Prepared." Good advice.

Philippine Independence Day
Sarah our very own Minnesota Gal spent Philipine Independence day by escaping from Manila and spending a relaxing weekend at the Bohol Bee Farm. Don't worry the bees didn't bother her a bit. She stayed at the cutest little cottage ever, and spent most of the time eating, napping, reading, and snorkeling.

See! I told you it was the cutest cottage ever. It looks like an illustration for a book of fairy tales.

Fabling too, used Independence day as a chance to escape from Manila, spending it at a friend's beach front condo where it is reported that the kids had a blast. It apparently could give Disney a run for it's money.

My favorite Philippine Independence Day post comes to us not from the Philippines but from Cameroon. Looks like quite the party!

A Bit More Serious
Judie from NP Worldview brings us a moving encounter with a man who survived the Rwanda genocide. He was her guide when she visited the Mountain Gorilla Reserve. The had plenty of time to get to know each other and he shared with her a story. A story that brought me to tears while reading it. A story which he has not yet shared with his own children.

Diane of the blog Mobile Home reflects on what it means to be an American. Living overseas has certainly changed my view of that, as I suspect it has for most of us.

I Moved to Africa is guest posting this week at everthenomad. While everthenomad is not a FS blog she is a published travel writer and video host for Lonely Planet, Travel & Leisure, Rough Guides, Time Out. Interesting reading.

The Skeptical Bureaucrat contemplates the rewriting of history. What is wrong with this picture?

Now that is taking political correctness too far. It seems that rewriting history has been going around. Scary trend.

On the Register
Even though they haven't gotten the call, yet, those people out there on the register are still part of the FS family.

I'll Take Mine to Go asks that we send prayers a good thoughts to fellow on the register blogger Jamie who has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. I so want to say something profound and eloquent but words fail me. I can't imagine how difficult this must be for the entire family. Prayers coming your way.

Destination Unknown took another shot at the FSOT. A train problem nearly derailed his testing plan but he took it all in stride.
I nearly threw a fit at the station, and instead SPRINTED to my car. "Composure is one of the 13 Dimensions!" I repeated to myself, as I tried to not scream at someone blocking the stairwell. "Composure, now!!!"

To Seek and Pursue also took the test again.

Best of wishes to both of you and I hope you get the scores your are looking for.

Bfiles is craving a little routine since the normal routine has been upset by three different sets of visitors in two weeks. Whew, that's a lot of visiting.

A good piece of advice while waiting on the register is to treat the FS as plan B, and continue on with plan A - your life. I'll Take Mine to Go has taken that advice to heart and has taken up collecting. Hilarious post on exactly what NOT to collect if you join the FS. Lead garden statuary anyone?

FSO Wannabe is waiting and watching and enduring the Unbearable Lightness of Being on the Register.

Dilpomatic Mom is passing the time with playdates, daycare parties and mocking her husband, The Dipolmat, who would perfer to be called Mr. D. Will he be sprotig a mohawk and glold chains to go with the name? Mr. T. ...Mr. D. ... get it?

Steph of Oh...the Possibilities is just Livin on a Prayer while waiting for time to pass.

They're back! It's the shoes! The Shoes with toes!
Me thinks Kolbi doth protest too much. She really wants a pair of these shoes.

Especially after hiking through the woods first in cute heels, then barefoot when the heels proved to be cute but impractical. Life is a Daring Adventure and adventures are always more fun in fun, funky, and comfy shoes!

If you check out the comments you will find that Jill's husband wants some too. We started a trend! We are trend setters! Cool.

The hardest part of doing the round up is decided what to include and what to leave out. I really wanted to include murdered plants, a perfect moment, a bucket list, an expensive passport, a strange kind of normal, things missed, some randomness, life off the grid, and so much more. But alas I am tired, it is late, and this is already a very long post.

If I missed you, misspelled you name, called you him when in fact you are a her (or vice a versa), or basically screwed up somehow, I whole heartedly apologize.

There are dozens more blog posts out there this week that I didn't get to, perhaps dozens of dozens. Perhaps undiscovered FS blogs.

If you want to take a stab at the weekly round up go sign up at A Daring Adventure. It is hard work, but it is a lot of fun. Next week the roundup will be hosted by You Can't Get There From Here. Except you can, just click the link. Have a great week.


hannah said...

I LOVE IT! Well done!

Also, damn you, I want those shoes now... this is horrific.

David L. said...

I'm going to post an update on one the post about Biden, as that was only a joke poking fun at him. It has been an on-and-off-again running gag after he was caught on whispering that to Obama by a microphone he didn't realize was turned on during the healthcare bill saying. Sorry for the confusion.

A Daring Adventure said...

AWESOME job, Girlfriend! AWESOME job!

You're so funny. You crack me up!

You ARE starting a new footwear trend! James will have his, Matt will buy his, hannah will get hers... it's the Cyberbones Shoe Club!

I'll make ya a deal. I'll buy mine when Jill buys hers. How's that? :)


But, seriously, you did a GREAT job this week! Thank you so very much for all of your hard work! I read a lot from a lot of different places that I hadn't even seen before, and even found some new blogs I didn't know about!

I'm hoping more people sign up to do the RoundUp! I just adore reading what different bloggers write!

moscow daily photo said...

Thanks for the call out! I'm exhausted just reading the round up!

Jen said...

Great job!

Shannon said...

David if you want it removed let me know and it is gone.

Daniela Swider said...

Love it!

I am officially addicted to the weekly round up and eagerly await each new one. There are always new FS blogs to discover, interesting stories to read and cool pictures to look at.

Thanks for another terrific round up and for mentioning my blog!!!

Becky said...

I want some of those shoes too! Great job on the roundup and thanks for including Jamie.

Sara said...

Thanks for the mention! Good job!!

Destinaish Unknown said...

Woo, thanks for the shout out and well wishes. I bet all your readers are wondering if that handsome and debonair Destination Unknown fellow is single. And the answer to that is, my friends, why yes. Yes he is VERY single.

Daniela Swider said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that I too like the toe shoes. I am saving up to get a pair.

Anonymous said...

great job!

Bfiles said...

you did an amazing job this week! thanks so much for the mention.

Amy said...

Amazing post, Shannon! I can only imagine the time you spent perusing all of these blogs! Thanks again for all that you do!

Anonymous said...

Wow- you did a sensational job! We SOOOO appreciate it!

Kristen said...

This was a great round up this week! Thanks for taking the time to make it so fabulous!!

Connie said...

Great job on the round up! Where'd you find the brain power to do this while PCS-prepping?? You are my hero :) !

We have had to take fully armed (clawed), hissing, annoyed, and scared cats ... OUT of their carriers, so the carriers could be xrayed. Airport personnel are insane.

Judie said...

This is a LOT of work for you. Be assured it is appreciated.

Shannon said...

Thanks everyone for all the nice feedback.

Connie- We packed out a bit early so that we would get our stuff quicker on the other end, that's the plan anyway. We also didn't want to be packing and dealing with everything that comes up at the last minute. So last week I had very little to do other than clean, which is really easy to do when it is mostly empty.

Shauna said...

Thanks so much for including me!! I appreciate the support. Great job! :)

I'll Take Mine... said...

Awesome job, Shannon!!