Monthly Archive for January, 2010


In the event that anyone hasn’t seen this yet, the Red Cross has set up a text number for donations. To donate $10 to the Haitian relief effort just text “Haiti” to 90999.

El día mágico

There comes a time in the life of every Spanish learner when after weeks, months, or in some cases years of blithely sailing along on relatively tranquil seas of indicative verbs that they first hear the word that will soon crush all their delusions of speaking Spanish with some semblance of fluency. This word, the word that strikes such fear into the hearts of Spanish students, is of course “subjuntivo.” In every Spanish course I have ever taken after many moons of struggling to properly use the preterite and imperfect tenses and to tame the legions of wild irregular verbs in the preterite and present tense, someone comes along and informs me that I have speaking the language entirely wrong for months. That nearly every time I tried to express an opinion or say something was possible, speculate about the future, ect I had been massacring the language because I had never learned the subjunctive. Inevitably in my previous Spanish classes the subjunctive was covered just days before the final exam and I never truly understood it beyond the fact that there was this whole other world out there that I wasn’t able to express. Continue reading ‘El día mágico’

Call of Juarez

It’s true that other posts might have awesome beaches, beautiful scenery or amazing museums but I bet those cities don’t have their very own cheesy game inspired by old Spaghetti Westerns!  This gem managed to work its way into my Christmas stocking… I’m not quite sure how my sister managed to find this bit of hysteria but I am highly amused.

I hear there is even a sequel…

Back to the Grind

After a week of self-study it is back to full-time 9-5 language study. Days like today remind me though what the best part of the foreign service is: the people. I went to a brunch thrown by one of the members of my oral assessment study group. It was great to catch up with the people I spent all those months studying and fretting about the oral assessment with. About a year ago we started a study group which met weekly at the MLK library in DC. Apparently this group has taken on a life of its own and continued even after the original group finished their OAs. It was nice to see the members of the original MLK group almost all of whom are either on the register, in the service, or finishing their security clearances. I have great confidence that the few that just barely didn’t make it the first time are about to put us all to shame with their amazing OA scores on the next attempt.

After brunch I headed over to a party which my class was hosting for the incoming 150th A-100 class, to help out and meet the newest FSOs. It was great to see my classmates again after being away from FSI for the last week and a half and to meet the incoming officers. It’s hard to believe that a little under four months ago, I was there wondering where I would be going and what I would be doing. I was given a few new FSOs to “mentor” which is almost humorous since most days I feel like I could still use a mentor to help me navigate the wilds of the department. I am constantly amazed by my colleagues and the 150th is no exception.  And now, back to Spanish studying….