Friday, February 23, 2007

Car Mechanic 101

Last week, my car battery died since my car was stuck in the ice for so many days. This week, my roommate Anne did some reconaissance for me and found a battery at a store nearby.

Today I went and bought the battery and then with some advice from my dad via cell phone (he lives in Florida), I took out the old battery and installed the new one. So fun and sort of fast. It was also really cold outside, so I had to keep taking breaks inside to thaw out.

First time I've changed a battery. My dad felt bad he couldn't be here to help me. I told him it was good Foreign Service Officer training.

What's the best do-it-yourself car repair story you have?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Greeks Are First Once Again.....

Sent to me by my American godmother living in Greece :)

After digging to a depth of 100 meters last year, Japanese scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1000 years, and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network one thousand years ago.

So, not to be outdone, in the weeks that followed, Chinese scientists dug 200 meters and headlines in the Chinese papers read: "Chinese scientists have found traces of 2000 year old optical fibers, and have concluded that their ancestors already had advanced high-tech digital telephone 1000 years earlier than the Japanese."

One week later, the Greek newspapers reported the following: "After digging as deep as 800 meters, Greek scientists have found absolutely nothing."

They have concluded that 3000 years ago, their ancestors were already using wireless technology.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Where Are You Going?

Where have you been?

I ended up with 33 countries = 14%. I have a loooong way to go on this one. Foreign me out!!

I would post the picture but it was too big and pushed my format around. I'm not sophisticated enough to figure out how to change the HTML.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Hop, Flap, Step, Step, Step, Hop & Repeat

Last night we had a major choreography session for Godspell. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. The title of this post are the basic steps to a time step - a kind of tap/softshoe move that I'm trying to learn. We also learned the buffalo (a kind of step/hop and shuffle) and the choo choo (a kind of stomping move). It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. I was really frustrated trying to get the time step down that I almost cried. It has been a really long time since I've been that frustrated over anything. I finally got it though thanks to Jesus. Well at least thanks to Nathan who is playing Jesus. He kept at it and finally I got it too.

So now we have choreography to two songs. Only 13 more (or something like that) left to go!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

They Arrived

So my flowers finally got here. It's a funny and sad Valentine's. Apparently the DHL plane couldn't land because of the weather yesterday - all the snow and ice. The flower arrived and had obviously been frozen and then thawed so all the buds on the miniature rose bush plant were waterlogged and dead. My father was not happy. Maybe I'll get something free out of it. Regardless they are sitting on my desk and I'm sending happy thoughts that direction looking forward to the day when they will bloom.

I'm Still Waiting For Valentine's Day

I know, it's the day after V-Day, but my dad sent me flowers to work and when I showed up today (since I stayed home yesterday due to the ice and snow), they weren't here. So I'm waiting for them to show up and cheer me up in my drab and almost colorless office space.

The walls are grey and I have put up a very colorful map of the U.S. and a calendar with pictures of animals made from fruit and vegetables (see above picture). I love the artist Saxton Freymann. Here's a link to some of his work. You can also order books online.
Anyway, that's it for color in my office. I also have a very colorful world map I want to put up, but I don't have anywhere for it to go. But I shall smile anyway!!!!!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Foreign Service Update

For the record (and for those in the know), I passed with a 5.3 in the Consular cone.

Music Is Hard Work

So to answer a question...

My suitcase was packed for a Godspell cast retreat this weekend. Since rehearsals began in January for the musical, we have not yet had a complete run through of the show. This weekend was a chance to get away in the foothills of the Shenandoah mountains for two days and spend the entire weekend working on the show.

We learned choreography, we rehearsed our songs, we had to be off script completely with our lines, we had to put it all together.

I can't say enough about the hard work of our director, Kacey, producer Heather, choreographer Tiffani, vocal coaches Sarah and Ellen, and artistic director, Genevieve. They have put so much of themselves and sacrificed so much for us that I am truly grateful.

The show is coming along slowly. For the record, I am part of a tourist couple. My "husband" is married to the producer in real life, so I have a good time teasing them about my role in their marriage! I also have two solos and am nervous but excited about these opportunities.

I'll post updates over the next weeks. The show is Easter weekend and the weekend before. If you're in the area, buy a ticket, invite a friend, come ready to laugh, cry, think, be challenged, be changed.

A Great Big Thank You!

I just want to say a big and hearty thank you to the readers of this blog. I know my postings have been sporadic over the past six months or so and yet you still keep coming back and checking. Some of you I know really well, some of you I have only met briefly in cyberspace, but I thank you for your visits, your comments, and your presence.

Blessings on each of you today! May you step ever closer to your dreams and destinies, may you realize your potential to an even greater degree, and may you come to know the overwhelming greatness of Christ and His love for you.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Frustrations

This morning I was headed out of the house dragging a suitcase behind me with a sleeping bag attached. My roommate was in front of me and was going to drive me to the Metro. I made a comment about how annoying this was (I'm not even sure what I was referring to) and she said that I've been saying things like that a lot lately.

I said thank you for letting me know. And I didn't mean it in a cynical or mean way. I really did appreciate the fact that she was pointing out to me that I apparently have been complaining a lot lately. And I really have nothing to complain about.

It's been almost 96 hours since I found out I passed the Oral Exam and I guess it has changed my entire perspective on things. I'm not enjoying so many things nearly as much, I guess because I have this whole new and exciting potential future ahead of me.

But that's exactly what it is...a POTENTIAL future. It's completely in the Lord's hands now. I have done everything I can do (except qualify for language bonus points which I will attempt to work on this summer). Beyond that, it's up to Him.

So I'm frustrated about a lot of things. But I'm also grateful that God is there looking out for me.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Are You Down With Web 2.0?

Here's a little something interesting for all you techies out there...and all you non-techies. Apparently we are privileged to be witness to the second generation of the Internet. I remember being around for the first generation, but now there is Web 2.0. For a really cool video explanation of this, check out this awesome video:

The Machine is Us/ing Us

So You Think You're A Good Driver

Try driving along some of these roads...

The Most Dangerous Roads in the World

Let me know if you survived.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

One In A Thousand (Or Something Like That)

Yesterday, I passed the Foreign Service Oral Assessment examination. It is step two of many many steps over a really long time (think years potentially) to becoming a Foreign Service Officer.

I still can't believe I passed the test. It was grueling - just the paperwork alone to prepare for the test was insane. But it actually happened. To learn more about the test itself and what a Foreign Service Officer is, go to the State Department website. Basically a Foreign Service Officer is a representative of the State Department overseas in the embassies. It's more complicated than that, but that's the super duper basic definition.

Some of my favorite moments of the day:

1. My suit is about 6 years old and juuuust fits. The pant legs however are a little too short. So I wore knee high black socks so that when I sat down and the pant legs came way up my legs, it wouldn't look too weird. Tee hee. I teased someone later by saying that I was just dressing like the stereotypical government worker.

2. The giant hug I got and gave to C.B. who also passed with me. He is a wonderful guy from New York. We hung out at the Botanical Gardens in DC for a little bit while waiting to find out our scores. We were the only two that passed and neither of us was hopeful. To share that experience with him was and always will be amazing for me.

3. Making the assessors laugh. They are supposed to be stone faced during the entire process, but I was just being myself and made them laugh. I think that's why I passed.

4. Riding the train home afterwards and listening to the song "How Bizarre" on my iPod. One of my favorites and so apropos to how I was feeling about the entire experience.

To put the magnitude of this event into perspective:

Last April I sat for the written portion of the exam. Approximately 35,000 people worldwide also took this test and roughly 20% or so passed it. Of those 20% who passed (let's say six thousand), we have guesstimated that about 20% pass the oral examination. So with lots of guessing and some real numbers from the State Department, I am one of about a thousand or so who have passed both the exams.

But it's not over yet, I still have to have a security clearance/background check which could take months, I have a medical clearance, and then I'm put on a list to sit and wait for a maximum of 18 months to get offered a position. So there's no hurry or worry.

I'm just glad I passed. For now, that's all I wanted!

It's Been 12 Years...

...since I last wore glasses (wore contacts instead). But this year I decided to get some new ones. This picture is exactly what I look like after waking up on a Saturday morning, staying in my pj's and wearing my new glasses. The picture was taken with my new webcam.