Monthly Archive for March, 2010

Busy Week

I’m afraid I haven’t had much time for blogging since I started Congen. There is certainly a lot to learn. Next week I’m back in Spanish training part-time. I can already feel my ability atrophying so I signed up for the Spanish for Consular Officers class and the Spanish maintenance class. That will give me a couple of hours of “class” time and I’ll need to do some Spanish self-study too which will be tough to balance with my other class but I think it is going to be necessary. I’ve probably spoken 3 words of Spanish since the test. Right after the test I tried to talk to one of my former teachers and found it nearly impossible. I swear they took all my Spanish words during the test.

I’ve also spent a good part of the week running around prepping for the move. I received my Mexico visa which was kind of exciting and scheduled my pre-pack out survey.  Of course then I got some news which could derail my early May departure. Someone stole my air bags about 2 years ago (yes, really, that’s apparently what the kids are after these days) and now I’ve been subpoenaed to testify in the case. Ug! I’m not sure how much I can really add since I didn’t see anything. I’m hoping I am not really necessary because if I am it means missing a day of class which means I have to make it up at a later date which should push back my departure at a minimum, one week. I’m still crossing my fingers that I can finally be done with this whole air bag debacle.


After 19ish weeks of Spanish I managed to pull together something which vaguely resembled the Spanish language enough to pass the exam! The testing room included an assortment of recording devices which is amazingly disconcerting. I hate to think that my stumbling attempts at Spanish are immortalized forever in the archives of FSI. The test was pretty much what I expected in terms of format and there were moments when I felt like I was definitely being pushed to the edges of what I was able to express in the language. The toughest part of the day was waiting for them to figure out my score. I probably sat there for about 15 minutes which was sufficient time to review in depth all of the various and sundry mistakes I made. Finally, they came out and gave me the good news.

I’m still not happy with my level of Spanish. I’m hoping to continue working once I get to post to improve it, but it is a relief to be done with the test. Next I’m off to ConGen. It is a little weird having to switch gears. On some level I don’t think I ever thought I would get out of Spanish training. So now it is only about 6 more weeks until I leave for post. I haven’t freaked out yet about the security situation in part I think because I am going with a group of friends from my A-100 class and also I seem to be very good at operating in a state of low-level denial when it comes to situations like this. I fully intend to take all the security precautions necessary and recommended, but giving up this job that I love so much is not even an option to me, and so to Juarez I go.

Thanks to everyone for the warm wishes. I definitely am lucky since I am not in CJ yet, so as horrified and saddened as I am, I am  not there and I am sure I can’t fully imagine how rough it is there right now for the families and the Juarez consulate community. As far as I know I am still going to Juarez the first week of May. The post is on authorized departure at the moment, but I don’t have any dependants or anyone going with me so that aspect of the situation is I think a little easier for me. I received my travel orders yesterday and I am still eager to get to post. The people I have met that are still at FSI and going Juarez and those that have already gone are amazing. I have no doubt that despite the danger and the security situation that it is going to be a good two years because of the people.

I’ve spent the last few days mostly concentrating on the task at hand. My Spanish test is on Friday and then it will be on to ConGen. Other than that I’ve been keeping an eye on the news like everyone else waiting to see what they determine from the investigation.

I don’t think there are words to properly express how disgusted and saddened I am by shootings in Juarez. My thoughts are with the families of those died and and the rest of the Juarez consulate community.

Un Viaje a Guatemala

So after having our first flight canceled due to snow in Atlanta of all places, I thought we were going to be good to go on Sunday. I was over at one of my fellow immersees apartment waiting for our 6am flight when another of our group called at 1am to let us know our flight had been delayed yet again and that we were going to miss our connecting flight. Apparently they hadn’t heard of road salt or something in Atlanta so the runways refroze overnight. Fueled by brilliant 1am logic we decided to cancel our flights and switch to a flight that went from DC to Chicago to Houston and then finally on to Guatemala. I never thought I would buy an international ticket 4 hours before the flight left and yet it is amazing how a week of snowapocalypse makes one desperate to escape the cold. Miraculously it worked and managed to be cheaper for me than our original flight. So after all the flight craziness we finally made it to Antigua. Continue reading ‘Un Viaje a Guatemala’

Getting kicked out of the nest

I fully intended to come back from Antigua and blog all about the fantastic immersion experience. I also intended to come back and ask for more time in Spanish since I felt like I was behind having lost a week to snow and since I hadn’t had an evaluation since December. In theory my last day in Spanish is March 19th and while nothing is certain until you pass the test it is starting to look like I am actually going to finish on that date. Continue reading ‘Getting kicked out of the nest’