Sunday, November 30, 2014

If You Want Something Done Right, You Have to Do It Yourself

I had an unusual Thanksgiving this year. On Wednesday the embassy had the annual Thanksgiving lunch, catered by a local restaurant. It was good food and good craic, but not quite what I'm used to at home. And then on Thursday I went to a friend's house for dinner, where I was promised both food and entertainment in the form of a deep-fried turkey. When the oil had failed to reach frying temperature by 10:30pm we gave up and feasted on stuffing and green beans and Doritos and muffins and pie. A good time was had by all, but a traditional Thanksgiving meal, not so much.

My Thanksgiving dinner needs unsatisfied, I did the only sensible thing. After six hours at work on a Saturday watching paint dry in the service of our consular section remodel, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and picked up a few things. Four hours later, I had this:

Achievement Unlocked: Food Coma

Yes, I cheated, just a little bit. I cooked a chicken instead of a turkey, because there's only one of me and because I was not about to wait on a frozen bird. And I bought the squash and the bacon pre-cut, because you can do that in Ireland. I did have to roast and peel the chestnuts for the green beans though, which was a pain. For dessert I was forced to make do with leftover apple tart, because my dulce de leche pumpkin pie needed time to cool. So I ate some for breakfast this morning, because I'm an adult and I can do whatever I want.

Breakfast of Champions
Thanksgiving is now officially, successfully, complete. This means it's time to track down a tree, hang the stockings, turn on the carols, and start getting ready for Christmas!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Things For Which I Am Thankful

Handshakes. Radiators. Vacation plans. Sister Christmas! Friends who inspire me to be a better person. Dishwashers. Discretionary income. Tailors. Self-sufficiency. Irish coffee glasses. Green spaces. Gastropubs. Automatic cat feeders. Visitors. Tamales. Sleeping in. Perspective. Modern dentistry. Streaming video. Human ingenuity. Showtunes. Sea spray. Karaoke. Constructive criticism, and the ability to recognize it as such. Fireplaces. Hope. Passport stamps. Comparative linguistics. Good genes. Wellies. The craic. Road trips. VAT refunds. Family who are always there for me, even if they can't be here with me.

Etc., etc., etc.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hand: Shaken!

Today I got the thing I have spent the past 4+ months obsessing about: a handshake, State Department code for a job offer for my next post. I will be going to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to work as an econ officer at the U.S. Mission to the African Union.

I'm really excited about this job. I plan to spend a lot of my career in Africa, so this is a unique opportunity to really get to know the whole continent. I've learned a lot in my time in consular work, but I'm happy to be getting back to my core function as an econ officer. I've also heard nice things about Addis as a place to live, and baby sis in Dubai will only be a few hours away. It's a win all around!

As thrilled as I am about my new assignment, I am almost as thrilled just to have the bidding process over with. It was just as long and stressful and time-consuming as everyone said it was, and the tension and uncertainty cast a bit of a cloud over the past few months of my life. But now it's done, and I can focus on spending the next 8-9 months on the things that really matter: planning for Addis and making the most of Dublin while I still can.