Hi there! It's been a while since I've had a chance to host the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup, but it's great to have the microphone/keyboard/podium back!
This week we made a few changes to the RoundUp format. We made is so that only blog posts that were submitted would be used for the RoundUp, and we included an optional theme. I am pleased - oh, so very pleased! - to announce that these new changes were extremely successful! (Although, some of you TOTALLY messed up the "optional theme" thing BIG TIME, but we'll get to that in a minute!)
You know what? Let's start out with:
Optional Theme Done Right
This week's optional theme was "When I __________, I Wish I'd..." Two Saras got this one right!
Sara over at Our Yuppie Life says that before she became a mother, there are lots of things she wishes she'd known in advance! For example, like that she'd never again be able to use the restroom on her own (true dat!)! In addition to this, she says that being a mother makes her think more often about her own mother and her own mother's journey through motherhood. Sweet post.
Another sweet post (and also from a lady named Sara- coincidence?) is from Wife-Mommy-Woman this week... she says that, when she was younger, she wishes she'd known that she was going to marry a wonderful guy when she grew up. She says that if she'd known in advance that she was going to marry such a wonderful guy, that she would have tried harder to grow up and become an awesome person, too. But - HELLO? - Sara, you ARE an awesome person. Thus, you both win!
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Okay, folks, you see those two blogs up there? The ones that we just talked about? Those are examples of RoundUp Themes DONE RIGHT. Some of the rest of you people fall into the category of:
RoundUp Theme FAIL: Train Wrecks on Parade!
You people know who you are. And in a second, so will everyone else.
It all started with Connie over at Whale Ears and Other Wonderings. Poor Connie meant well when she blogged (some otherwise excellent advice) about how, when you first get to a new overseas post, you really should tour the local hospital/emergency room. You know, for emergencies.
But then Donna (Email from the Embassy), who, you know, just got to the same post as Connie, up and took that advice just a little too literally. Or something. The second Donna's shipped vehicle hit her driveway, she was at that hospital! And took a child with her. Because the child's nose was attacked by an unidentified foreign object.
A chain reaction had been set off. Because on that same day (though in another part of the world), Shannon (Cyberbones) decided to also take a child to the hospital. On said child's birthday, no less! This child's eye had been attacked by killer flowers. I swear to you, I can't make this stuff up! There they are, pictured above. So stay away from them, okay?
(I would also be remiss if I didn't include a potential "theme-based funny" that I was emailed. One potential State Department applicant family member suggested that a wonderful blog post for this theme would be, "When my (spouse) applied to the State Department, I wish that application came with Valium for me!" Oh, how true that is!)
Other Medical Topics & Wisdom Sought
I received an emotional appeal from a family currently going through the application process with State (The Kern Family)- they're hoping for some words of wisdom. The entire family secured a worldwide medical clearance... except for the momma (Camille). Camille is a medical Class 2, and she's worried that she's going to mess up her husband's FSO State career before it even begins! Anyone able to reassure Camille that her Class 2 does NOT = ruined husband's career?
Another applicant family - The B Files - is hoping for some advice, as well, regarding issues faced during hiring. Mrs. B Files is trying to figure out how to attack the State hiring process from all angles, and is considering trying to learn Turkish (a Critical Needs Language) on her own, in hopes to help her with the process. Any advice for her?
And in sad news, Devon at Devonnaire is struggling with her mother's failing health... and wondering how on earth she's going to travel overseas to her next post and leave her mother behind. Any words of wisdom or comfort for Devon? Anyone been in that same situation?
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Happy Birthday, Emily!!
Emily (Our Life) had a birthday this week (though she is still super duper young, as are basically all of you total young'uns), and invited everyone to party hardy with her! She wasn't gonna let some little thing like a distance of thousands of miles stop her from sharing her special day with her State friends!
The Just Us family, the Kerns-R-Us family and ShamWow the Daring Panda all joined in the festivities, as did many other State folks! Nothing like a birthday party held on multiple continents!
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Let's catch up with some other folks this week, shall we? For example...
SOME OF US (I'll Take Mine... To Go, Please!!) had a much better week last week than others of us did. Some of us even went somewhere totally gorgeous (Hint: picture, above! Another hint: it's Jamaica!). But the visit to Jamaica was actually, well, something like a visit to an overseas post...
Another visit from this week, this time to Afghanistan (pictured, above)- a gorgeous picture with a haunting story (no joke), all featured at the blog A Postcard From... I also love the the blog post featuring Afghan children. Enchanting!
And speaking of enchanting... Mr. The Wandering Davidsons (normally of Skopje, Macedonia) visited Amman, Jordan this week and posted some gorgeous pictures on their blog. Donna! Connie! You guys live in a gorgeous place!
More visiting this week! Except- a visit to who knows where? TSB (The Skeptical Bureaucrat) is currently visiting beautiful, scenic [REDACTED], and, sure, it may have lots of armored vehicles, but goshdarnit... it also has great restaurants! And some incredibly interesting scenery.
While ThisSecretiveBureaucrat was off gallivanting at remote sites unknown, a less well-known (and certainly less buff) Dude was also traveling overseas this week...
Okay, this picture cracks me up! Turns out, The Governator was touring Asia last week, and this photo was taken with the Marines at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul. Governor Schwarzenegger had just instructed all of the Marines to "flex" their biceps for the picture! ROTFL! Thanks, Diplopundit, for this funny gem! And furthermore, my husband checked the book that you talked about recently out from the library and just started reading it!
This week was Promotions Week! And today was even Promotions Day! Digger (Life After Jerusalem) told me so, and also talked about how different assignments (such as language training) affect your chances of being promoted. Congrats to all of you out there who got good news today!
Promotions? Those are for people who have been with State for a while... but some folks that are out there are just learning about the job in initial training, and are about to submit their first bid lists soon! Lots of luck to you, Andrew at The Life Diplomatic! Bidding is always so exciting!
And speaking of bidding, anyone want to have a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to (some post)? Seriously - this isn't a joke - The Sherwood Family knows what their next post is, but are letting people GUESS where it is, and the first person to figure it out gets an all-expenses-paid trip to it! The game goes until midnight tonight, so pop on over and enter to win! And let's hope their next post has less weevils.
Another new assignment just announced- Tuk & Tam are going to India next, after they finish up in Washington DC and then go through language training! Fingers crossed for Mrs. Tuk & Tam- that she lands a spot in Hindi class with the Mr., and picks up a Super Critical Needs language that would surely help her in her bid to go tandem with State. Congrats on the new assignment, and best of luck with the language!
And speaking of India...
A couple of State bloggers were having cell phone difficulties this week - Jill's (The Perlman Update) cell phone unilaterally decided to lock itself when she stepped foot back into the United States from India, and Naoma's cell phone (Lees on the Go) has... well... let's just say that Naoma is a super nice person, and that sometimes being a super nice person doesn't really pay off well for one in the end!
Speaking of difficulties last week... Shannon (Cyberbones), whose family recently arrived at post in Malawi, has run into some difficulties with the school there at post, and wishes that she's known more about the school before their arrival. Tough situation!
Speaking of tough situations... it's hard to be an applicant with State right now. The Saunders Family knows that all too well, since they are currently in between job opportunities and are anxiously awaiting The Call. Best of luck to all you applicants out there right now! It's a hard wait...we've all been there and know how it feels. :(
[UPDATE: I am THE biggest moron on the face of the planet. The Saunders family, above? That I used as the poster children for waiting and waiting to get a class invite? Yeah, um, they're starting A-100 in October. Which just goes to show... I suck! Sorry, Saunders family! But, if you guys are poster children for waiting, then it's nice that your story had a happy ending!]
And - last but not least...
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Did You Know?
~ That there are some simple ways to tell whether or not you're in the Foreign Service (Beyond the Cornfields)?
~ How to make homemade ricotta cheese... WHILE IN AFRICA (Cyberbones)??
~ How to make homemade tortillas - for a fraction of the price of buying them ready-made in the stores (Email from the Embassy)?
~ That there are places on this earth where one can purchase Krispy Kreme donuts... but not MILK? Talk about TOTAL FAIL (For Lack of Tacos)!
~ That sometimes, food is not your friend (The Dinoia Family)?
~ And speaking of The Dinoia Family, did you know that she has started a nifty new blog trend called "This Moment?" It happens on Fridays. Every Friday. And it's a great idea- so feel free to participate!
~ That Murphy's Law (when doing your best to protect a fragile object, you're insuring that it will, in fact, break) SUCKS (Adventures In...)?
~ That this State Department wife (Kelly Valen) has written a book? And that her book was featured in Oprah's magazine (too cool!)?
~ That EVERYONE wants a family Christmas card from the Something Edited This Way Comes family? Including me?
~ That sometimes submitted requests for financial reimbursement can take... a while? And can even be messed up by just ONE wrong word (GREAT comments, too!)?
~ That I did my absolute best to make completely sure that every nominated blog made it up onto the RoundUp (if they had posted recently), and that I apologize profusely if I inadvertently missed anyone?
~ That Connie is hosting next week's State Department RoundUp (Whale Ears and Other Wonderings)? It's true! She has chosen a Halloween theme:
"Halloween! What are your party plans, costume ideas, best resources, and favorite recipes?"
and she can be reached either at her blog (watch there for more updates!) or by email at qitty1(at sign)gmail.com!
Also, if any State bloggers are interested in hosting the RoundUp on your own blog, just let me know!
Thanks for reading! A HUGE thanks to EVERYONE who submitted this week! Thanks to all you State bloggers out there... for providing me with such fabulous material...and
Have a great weekend!