State Department Weekly Blog RoundUp!

So, I know the reasons why I decided to volunteer to host the Friday RoundUp (1. I’m crazy, 2. I’ve got a couple of days off, 3. I’m crazy), but I didn’t realize how daunting it can be. I definitely don’t read every FS blog out there, but when I sat down last night to start working on this post, there were over 95 articles in my reader (and it isn’t even FRIDAY yet!), waiting for me to sort them for this post. Here goes nothing!

Photos
One of the MANY cool things about life in the Foreign Service is that we get so many opportunities to go to amazing places and take some really cool pictures. Click on any of the photos to go to their source post.

First up, TwoCrabs has some great pictures from their first month in Bahrain.

Just a few countries away in Wadi Musa, Jordan, Whale Ears visited my favorite ruins in Petra, and got the classic Indian Jones shot!

Next, Our Serbian Story took another visit to Sarajevo and took some beautiful pictures

Diplomat and Cat visited the Gila Forest National Park, which is 4 hours away from Juarez (GPS lies!)

Kolbi from A Daring Adventure took some fantastic pictures right here in DC of the Boy Scout Parade

BH Neely’s garden photography just says summer, like only squash and tomatoes on the vine can

Finally, For Lack of Tacos continues to make me hungry with pictures like these

Back at the Office… (*sigh*)
The big news this week is the closing of the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez for today.

The U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez is closed on July 30, 2010 to review its security posture. American citizens are advised avoid the area around the Consulate General until it reopens. Authorities are investigating the situation.
The Consulate General has cancelled all scheduled appointments and services for Friday, July 30. As soon as we can reopen we will inform the public by a warden notice and posting on our web page.

Stay safe everyone!

Diplopundit delves into the FAM about OpSec and Social Media. Ladies and gentleman, please make sure to unfriend any Russian Spies you may know, because we all have too many online contacts for one RSO to comb through on his or her own. Squishy gray territory folks!

I learned a new word from SassAndSweet: Craplicants. As in, those visa applicants who make it very difficult to find one’s Zen.

In DC, Michele, who thinks that Facts are Strictly Optional, describes the stresses of Washington meetings and the perils European chocolate.

Back at FSI, Interloper is hard at work on Portuguese, EPH-OH the cat herder had her first non-FSI Spanish conversation, and hoyzhou and the rest of the 153rd A-100 were added to the Congressional Record, which is very very cool.

Consul at Arms reminds us (especially Consular Officers), that summertime=more tourists=more Americans who may need us. However, as much as we wish for one, there is no standard issue magic wand that can fix all of our constituents troubles.

In the same vein, Digger from Life After Jerusalem would like to echo Charles Silver, and remind everyone that PD does NOT stand for pixie dust. Hopefully the new Deputy Assistant Secretaries (DAS) will help those at the policy table keep that thought in mind.

Digger also gives us an excellent example of how not to behave if you want to a.) enhance your corridor reputation, b.)act like a diplomat, c.)demonstrate some tact and class. I have to admit, I’m a bit appalled.

Finally, The Skeptical Bureaucrat reminds us that Tuesday was the 221st birthday of the State Department. Happy birthday DoS, and congratulations on your 200th anniversary of being able to drink legally (as long as we forget about prohibitionDOH!).

Life at Home and Abroad

Despite the closing, Diplomat and Cat are settling into life in Ciudad Juárez, which includes getting some help around the house and various trips to Home Depot, while  Bryn from Simmons Says had a great time at a local baseball game, and You Can Call Me Al experienced the joys of shopping in Chetumal, where the dairy selection is much more varied than he can find in Belmopan.  On the other side of the world, the 2 Crabs are experiencing a month of firsts in Bahrain. In his first month, Mr. Crab wrote and sent his first diplomatic cable, and paid $25 per person to see “Inception” in a movie in a “VIP” cinema. The list goes on and on, and the pictures are great – go take a look!

Meanwhile, Masha from Where to Next discovered chocolate made just for men. I would like her to know that there is also Pocky: Men’s Chocolate.

Back here in DC, The Diplodocus is dealing with the stress of adjusting back to a DC post, but being able to stand up for your best friend at his wedding is a great big bonus.

Chela of The Más Allá, like many of us, is pondering the challenges of raising third culture kids, and pointed to a great article in the recent Foreign Service Journal: “I Am a Girl“. I also recommend reading it.

Over in The Consuls’ Files, Madam muses on the urge to write about our experiences, and the various hurdles to actually putting pen to paper, tape in the typewriter, or just sitting down at the computer and writing. While none of us may ever make it as novelist, at least we can express ourselves by writing in our blogs.

Changes

Summer isn’t over yet, which means people are still packing out and getting on their way to the next stop in their journey’s.

I’ll get the toughest change of the week out of the way. The Dinoia Family is going through the rough transition of an unaccompanied tour. Luckily, the Foreign Service Family has a great support system (especially online), and Jen appreciates everyone’s kindness.

Jill of The Perlman Update is about a week ahead of Jen for her family’s unaccompanied tour, and is doing fine. I’m looking forward to reading of her adventures at BlogHer and seeing more of her benefits of blogging.

David, who is NOT just a government acronym, shares his air-frieght-nightmares, Dave P won some victories in his last week in the US, and Cyberbones is heading to Kentucky for some real sweet tea before heading to Malawi. Meanwhile, Sunny at Fabling is all packed up, which means that her three year old daughter couldn’t have a proper tea party, but hey – only 2 more days to go!  The Richardsons are saying farewell to Serbia, and the ball is rolling for the folks at Mobile Home, their next blog post will be from Manila! Katie, the Rock Star in Dhaka is about to embark on a massive road trip, as is Kolbi from A Daring Adventure, who enlisted the help of her husband, Fits Crap in Minivan (yes, it must be bolded), to pack everything up to go back to Texas for their official move. The logistics of which are mind boggling.  Donna’s Email From the Embassy is a must read as always, and details a crazy tally of the cost of home leave.

I’m not the only person who had a last day of work this week, Short Term Memory contemplates then end of 5 years of Mondays. She got a goodbye piñata (which is very very cool), hopefully it was a piñata of a fax machine and she went Office Space on it (probably not, but I can dream!).

Finally, Chris from Foreign Service Specialist has some wonderful words of encouragement those making the transition into the Foreign Service. Thanks!

Waiting

Another constant theme of the Foreign Service is the wait.  And the other wait, and the next wait and the last wait and the hurry up and wait.  I’m sure I’m missing a few species in there.  Ah well.

SassAndSweet is getting restless while playing the waiting game with bid lists right now, but it doesn’t look like Pakistan is in her future, so she’s choosing between the Middle East and Latin America. Both regions have sunny climes and great food, so it’s win-win either way!

Nick and Liz also got their bid list, and their deliberations about posts and their careers are beginning.

The German language has over taken the home of I’ll Take Mine. Her husband’s phone test is next week. Good luck!

Incoming A-100
Hey – that’s us! The [insert clever adverb] 155th A-100 class starts on Monday, and I can hardly wait to meet more of my classmates.

Leslie at Destination Diplomacy has been road-tripping across the country, and provided a handy A-100 FAQ for friends and family who are still asking these sorts of questions.

The Diplomatic Mama is prepping for their move from NYC to Ballston, and is quite naturally concerned about the effect of all moves on her son. I’m sure she’d appreciate some words of wisdom from those of you who’ve been through this with their kids. As and aside, this military brat thinks that he’ll be fine – kids amazingly resilient.

Brooke and Max from The World That We Live In have finished their first pack-out and are heading to DC!

Wow, that was a bit intense, I think I read through over 100 blog posts to figure out what to include today – it’s a good thing I had the day off .  I’ll see you all next week when I’m finally an official Foreign Service Officer!

10 thoughts on “State Department Weekly Blog RoundUp!

  1. Jill

    Congrats on putting together such a great recap! I love being able to catch up on what everyone is doing. And good luck to you in your new adventure!

    Reply
  2. stmemory

    Wow. I can’t believe that you were able to put this together during your last week of work. Great roundup. Enjoy A-100. I’ll be following along to see where you guys end up.

    Reply
  3. Connie

    Thanks for taking the time to compile this wonderful roundup, and congrats on starting A-100 :) . We had a great (but very HOT) time at Petra. Thank you for hosting the roundup!

    Reply

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