Archive for the 'Mexico' Category

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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.

Looking forward to 2010

Since I got my assignment a little over two months ago, moving to Juarez has seemed quite far off.  Now that 2010 is almost here it is slowly sinking in that in a few short months I will be in Mexico! The question I seem to get most from people when they hear I am going to Juarez is “aren’t you scared?” I do actually read the news, despite being advised that ignorance is bliss, and I am still excited to go. I didn’t sign up for this job thinking that it would be safe 100% of the time. I always like a challenge and I have a feeling that working in Juarez will be sure to provide that. As for the safety issues, well I tend have just enough common sense not to get myself in trouble. I’m also not exactly the demographic being targeted in the violence so it’s not keeping me up at nights. So I am looking forward to 2010 and moving to Juarez. As more and more of my A-100 colleagues depart for post I’m getting envious. I’m itching to get out there and start doing my job. Unfortunately ConGen and many more weeks of Spanish stand between me and departure.

Looking back, 2009 was quite a year. It’s hard to believe that a year ago this time I had just learned my QEP results and was stressing about my upcoming OA. Thanks to friends and family for their support through this incredibly crazy year and Happy New year to everyone! Hopefully 2010 will bring much more interesting blogging material as I finish my training and head off to post!

From the ridiculous to the sublime

elvez

El Vez

Recently I’ve ventured out with my fellow members of Team Mexico to a few “Mexican” cultural events to get in the spirit. I have to put “Mexican” in quotes because the first of these events was a concert featuring El Vez y Los Straightjackets. El Vez is the self-styled Elvis of Mexico. I think in reality he is the Mexican Elvis of L.A. It was a hysterically funny concert of holiday themed music.  Tragically I didn’t think to bring my camera, but I think this picture I found with the assistance of google helps capture the mood of the event.

Tonight I went to a cooking demonstration hosted by the Mexican Cultural Institute. The theme of the event was the cuisine of the Yucatan Peninsula

Avocado Soup with Tortilla Chips and Queso Fresco

Avocado Soup with Tortilla Chips and Queso Fresco

and the food was absolutely amazing.  As an unapologetic foodie, this was right up my alley.  We sampled 8 dishes and 2 different drinks which were representative of Yucatan cuisine.  The presenter kept emphasizing how different the food on the Yucatan was from the rest of the country; I’d have to agree. While it had a lot of the spice that we typically associate with Mexican food, there was a lot more sweetness in the food as a whole as well. I don’t think there was a dish I didn’t like but perhaps my favorites were the Sopa de Aguacate and the Arroz Amarillo which was a rice dish with saffron, onion, and tomatoes.

Pollo Pibil, Cebollas Encurtidas, Tzaabi Buul, y Arroz Amarillo

Pollo Pibil, Cebollas Encurtidas, Tzaabi Buul, y Arroz Amarillo

The Sopa de Aguacate tasted a lot like very creamy guacamole which is perfect for me because me encanta guacamole! Since I like spicy food I also accepted the demonstrator’s challenge to try the habanero salsa. It was phenomenal. It certainly was hot but it had a lot of flavor to it and the heat faded quickly. They finished the meal with a flan style desert. If I have one complaint about the experience, it would be that it increased my fears that I’m going to gain a hundred pounds being constantly exposed to tasty Mexican food. At the end of the evening we had all pretty much committed to returning for the next cooking demonstration at the Cultural Institute.  And now back to studying Spanish.

Flag Day

The verdict is in, I’m off to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico!

Viva Mexico!

Viva Mexico!

It wasn’t a high or a medium bid for me, but it also wasn’t a surprise and I am excited about Juarez. It will certainly be an interesting experience and I’m going with a great group of people. There was a sizeable “Team Mexico” contingent in the 148th, one of whom is another of my good friends. She snagged a post on the Yucatan which is one of the spots I am defintely hoping to visit. I’m planning to use my 2 years in CJ to get out and see a lot of Mexico.

I start Spanish training in November. After 5 years of Spanish in college and high school, apparently my grammar makes testing evaluators cringe and small children cry. Having the opportunity to work full time on improving my Spanish is just incredible. I still have to pinch myself periodically, I can’t believe I am being paid to do this job sometimes!

Another benefit of my Juarez assignment is that I’ve never lived out west; I imagine  living on the Texas border will be a “cultural experience” as well. Since it was one of my low bids I have an added bonus of being one of the winners of the “Tail Gun Charlie Award”. A group of my classmates including myself, contributed to a fund before flag day. It was low bid insurance and the people who got low bids are splitting the pot. I got a nice share, which means the margarita fund is off to a healthy start. 😉

I arrive at Juarez in May, so in a little over 7 months I’m off to the state of Chihuahua. I’m really excited about the big Mexican move but I think going to Chihuahua may just be karmic retribution for all the times I called my two chihuahua owning friends’ puppies “rat dogs.” I’m going to starting having nightmares about herds of chihuahuas exacting revenge on me in my sleep…