Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another Foreign Service Badass?

Well, not really… or at least not yet but I did pass the FSOA (Foreign Service Oral Assessment). And that’s a good thing because I was not looking forward to telling my Facebook friends and my FSI classmates that I didn’t make it or to writing another epic fail blog post. So don’t misunderestimate the power of peer pressure, people, it can do wonders.

I was, however, drafting two blog posts in my nerdy head as I was getting ready for the FSOA: the dreaded epic fail one with just a hint of sour grapes thrown in for good measure and the one in which I get the Foreign Service Badassery Award  (What, there isn’t one? Well, there should be.)

… and I thank the Foreign Service Badassery Academy (No Foreign Service Badassery Academy either? What’s up with that?)

… I also thank my family… and Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god of intellect and wisdom and a famous remover of obstacles…

If you think I wasn’t carrying a small statue of Ganesha (a gift from my thoughtful husband)  in my pocket during the FSOA, you clearly don’t know me well enough. It looked like this:


In my head, I accepted my Foreign Service Badassery Award at a lavish ceremony wearing a gorgeous saree and I looked smashing… Ahhhhh, girl can dream, right? But I digress…

So, anywhoo,  I passed the FSOA but my Foreign Service Badassery (don’t you just love this nonword?) while tested, is still conditional at this time, as in after passing the FSOA, I got a conditional offer of  appointment as a Foreign Service Officer. In order to become a full-blown Foreign Service Badass Officer (US Diplomat), I have to pass security, medical and suitability clearances. Those are a series of investigations to determine that I am not an unsavory character in any way and that I am medically fit and can be trusted to represent the US overseas. I am pretty sure I will ace the medical clearance (let’s hope I don’t jinx myself by saying that). That’s because I have one from when Paul went through the process. The other two investigations take a while – anywhere between a few months and a year and a half depending on the person’s background and history. In my case, the fact that I was not a US citizen until a few years ago complicates things but I used to have a Department of Defense secret clearance for a job a couple of years ago, which should speed things up a bit. We’ll see.

But wait, there’s more. After I pass those investigations successfully, I get to hang out on the Register before I get “the call”, which is actually an email. I will write about those events as I get closer to them, so stay tuned.

In other news, our departure to New Delhi has been moved up from sometime in May to early April, which means that we really need to start working on our diplomatic passports, Indian visas, school applications for Her Cuteness, vaccinations, pack out and all that jazz. We were hoping to visit my family in Bulgaria on the way to India but that may not be possible because Paul can’t use his vacation right now. His new boss asked him to go to New Delhi early because they are a little understaffed over there and the busy season is about to begin. Plus, Her Cuteness will not be able to finish the school year here, which is giving me a little heartburn. The last time we moved, it was right around the same time (late March) and things fell through the cracks in her new school. I was hoping to avoid that this time around but with the early departure that may not be possible. Unless we come up with some other creative solution. Again, we’ll see.

Hindi is going well. It’s still hard but we may just learn it. When I say learn it, I really mean get a good foundation to build on once we get to India. I am truly enjoying it though. I have learned so much about India since I started studying Hindi, which of course could mean that I was just very ignorant before we started Hindi. I can’t get enough Indian food, Bollywood movies and music. I think Indian history is fascinating (though sad at times) and the sarees – gorgeous. I can’t wait to visit all those places we talk about in class. I have decided that I am going to love India and I’ve never been there. I know India’s not perfect but I really look forward to getting there, taking it all in and enjoying it despite the crowds, pollution, poverty, etc.

And lastly, a few friends have asked me to provide more detail about my experience at the FSOA and how I prepared for both the FSOT and the FSOA. I will do that as soon as possible and share as much as I can without violating my nondisclosure agreement, so you’ve got that to look forward to.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter Antics


Hi there, can I help you? I am working out of the dryer today… doing important baby work… you know, cutely. It’s nice and toasty in here. You should try it some time.


I’ve been looking for a good place to hide my favorite Jenga blocks… away from, ahem, nosy parents. Heeey, this speaker looks perfect! Even if they find them, they’ll never be able to take them out without my help ‘cause have you seen how huge their hands are, ha!

IMG_1642 IMG_1643

What, you think you’re the only one that likes FUGGs (fake UGGs) around here? I was feeling a little cold today…


Oh, yeah, he’s also eating cat food. His sister did just that when she was around the same age, so we had to put the cat food up on a shelf and out of her reach. We were sort of expecting that Chutney may be interested in the cat food as well, so we put it up high in anticipation before he started crawling. But clever little fellow that he is, he went and got some right from the big box. I am sure it tasted great, baby! 

Along the same lines (only grosser), he has decided that toilets are simply irresistible. We try to keep the bathroom doors closed at all times but on a couple of occasions someone must have forgotten and we caught him throwing toys in and playing in the water. Oh, what fun!!! I managed to wash his hands before he put them in his mouth, I think, but he is quick and it’s just a matter of time before he beats me to it. Now that’s a puke fest I am not looking forward to.

I’m off to Chutney proof the house because simply baby proofing is clearly not cutting it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Look Who’s Walking!

Yeah, he is. It took him a while to perfect the unsupported walk but he figured it out a few days ago and is now walking like a big boy!

Go Chutney!

These cute little monkey feet are made for walking….

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Long Time No Blog

I know I am unfashionably late with this but I’m going to say it anyway: Happy New Year, everyone!

I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks. I do have an excuse, however. It’s lame but lame’s better than none, right? So, here it goes:

I was into the thick of holiday prep madness on 12/23 when my laptop decided to cr@p out on me. I am not going to tell you how ticked off I was by that… Right after I had put together a little slideshow with the highlights of our 2011 and was about to share with you here. But alas, the slideshow had to sit tight in my machine until I got back home from Chicago and could take it to get fixed. So, two weeks and $200 later, I have the laptop in working order and don’t think for a second that I am not going to subject you to my little creation, late or not.

Besides, I happen to be Eastern Orthodox (by default) and most Eastern Orthodox Christians celebrated Christmas yesterday, so I am not that late, right? Of course, Bulgarians are not among those that celebrated yesterday but let’s pretend that’s not the case, just this once, shall we? So, Merry Belated Christmas to all of you guys that celebrated it, and Happy Belated Holidays to everyone else!

Without further ado, here’s the blessed slideshow that may or may not have caused my laptop to go into a coma:

Highlights from our 2011

Also very late is our Christmas/Holiday card picture but I thought I’d post it up here for the record anyway. It’s a sequel to last year’s and I just realized that I didn’t put the one from last year up here, so you get two for one this year. See if you can spot the differences.

IMG_0062-1 IMG_9070

This is all I’ve got today but I will be back soon with more pictures and updates.

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