Sunday, February 27, 2011

Small Talk

I had a great time at the FS blogger potluck this evening, and now have many new blogs to add to my reading list!

When foreign service people meet each other for the first time in DC, there's a pattern to the conversation. It's just like in college when you always asked new acquaintances their major, but now the usual opening gambit is "where are you going?" And every time I say that I'm going to Conakry, there's a pause. An awkward, uncertain pause, like the pause after someone announces an unplanned pregnancy, because my new acquaintances are never quite sure whether congratulations or condolences are in order.

This is because Conakry is not exactly a garden spot, but also because the undesirableness of Conakry was brought up several times by several people during A-100, often as part of the official curriculum. They all equivocated a bit when they found out it was on the bid list but let's just say the place has a certain aura.

I could, of course, dispel the uncertainty by answering the inevitable question with "Conakry and I'm happy about it," but the truth is I kind of like to see people's what-do-I-say-now faces. I'm sure there will be times when I rue the day I marched into my CDO's office and lobbied for the privilege of going to a hot, sweaty place with unreliable electricity and lots of nasty tropical diseases, but I hope not too many. And in the meantime I enjoy being thought of as something of an adventurer, though certainly a naïve one, and maybe also a little crazy.

1 comment:

  1. Just last week I told a VIP ambassador that I didn't appreciate the face he pulled when my husband told him we were going to Conakry. I was totally joking (and let me point out that I only said that because he seemed the easy going/joking type). I used to want to cry when people reacted unfavorably, but now I'm immune to the faces people pull when I mention our future home, because it happens every single time.