Matamoros, Mexico: Washington, D.C.:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Vacation Recap and Wisdom Teeth

So I'm back from my vacation, and I got my wisdom teeth removed this morning. Why is he writing about his wisdom teeth, you're asking. Isn't this a blog about life in the Foreign Service? It is, yes, and strangely enough, they do apply to my new life, albeit it's a bit of a stretch. But first, a quick recap of the vacation to Yellowstone.

I flew in to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, from Birmingham and via Dallas/Ft. Worth. While boarding the plane in Dallas, the gate agent was practically begging for someone to get off the flight because they had overbooked. I ignored it for a long time, and right before they closed to plane door (with me on it), they offered a $500 flight voucher and a rebooking on a different airline to make the arrival just 2 hours later. I couldn't pass that up, so I signaled to my family who was on the plane with me, and I bolted. Within 5 minutes I was boarded on the new plane, this time in first class, toward Denver. From Denver to Jackson Hole, I was also seated in first class. Can't beat two first class tickets and a $500 voucher.

Old Faithful, doing her thing.
After two days in Jackson Hole, including a Snake River raft-floating trip, we moved on to Yellowstone via the Grand Teton National Park. I personally thought the GTNP was significantly prettier/nicer/better than Yellowstone, but that's my personal opinion.  In any case, we spent the next five nights in the park itself. Our first stop was at the Lake area, staying in some cabin/lodge type deals close to the historic Lake Hotel. One morning I went on a hike by myself to a ridge overlooking the lake, which was absolutely fantastic. That day ended with a six hour private bus tour to see wildlife in the park, of which there was an immense amount. We had a really great time, and our tour guide told me he used to do something similar to work in the Foreign Service, though when pressed about it, he dodged every question. I think he must've been some kind of intelligence officer and still can't talk about what he did. After getting my fill of buffalo, deer, ospreys and various other wildlife, we returned to the lodge. The next day we were at the Old Faithful Inn, where I evaluated in person the oldness and faithfulness of the geyser. It is, indeed, both old and faithful. I went on a ranger walk with a trilingual ranger and really enjoyed it, including the numerous marmots we saw. During my stay at the inn, there was an incident with a mouse, my backpack, and some trail mix, which the hotel humorously responded to ("Here.. here's two mouse traps. It's a 100 year old inn, what do you expect?") To wrap up the vacation, it was a great time with family, which I may not see much of in the next few years. US National Parks are absolutely stunning, too, and a great asset to our heritage.

Now, about my wisdom teeth. My dentist has told me for the past few years that my wisdom teeth were coming in just fine, with plenty of room, and didn't seem to be causing any problems. Three of the four were fully in, and only one was partially in, though not cause for much concern. But, then at the beginning of June, during my routine six month cleaning, I mentioned the new job I had and how I might be living in some less than desirable countries in the foreseeable future. She raised the good point that wisdom teeth are sometimes unpredictable, may someday cause me pain, and I certainly wouldn't want to be in a third world country somewhere with no access to good dental care. On top of that, by that point, I would have to take off work for a few days, and perhaps my insurance wouldn't cover it. Of course, now, my insurance covers it, and I'm not working in the days leading up to my new job. Fast forward a bit, and I had my surgery this morning.

I told the doctor that I always try to last as long as possible when I'm given anesthesia, kind of a challenge to myself. In the past, when counting down from 100, I've made it to 97. I told him I wanted to hit at least 96 this time. Then suddenly, I woke up. I really don't remember when he gave me the anesthetic, nor when I fell asleep. But suddenly, I was waking up. I was down for about an hour or so, I guess, and the few hours afterward were pretty fun as the anesthetic wore off. But, contrary to the numerous stories I heard, I've had hardly any pain at all today. In fact, I would only classify it as slight discomfort. In fact, the worst part about it is that I can't eat what I want for the next few days. (Hint: buy stock in Jell-o, apple sauce and Special K protein shakes.)

Isn't it interesting how this new job I'm starting seems to reach into all areas of my life? If I hadn't told my dentist what I'd be doing, I would still have all four of my wisdom teeth right now. In fact, this extended reach seems to be coming into light more and more every day. I'm having to consider things I want to take with me, things I'm OK with leaving behind, and how I'm going to live my day-to-day life. Further, a lot of my friends are probably getting married next summer, and I want to be present at their weddings. Will I be able to be there? Who knows. That's just a random tidbit to think about.

Stay tuned to the blog in the next few days and weeks. I'm preparing for my move to DC and the beginning of training. I'm also planning a two-part blog entry about how I managed to end up with this job, which I hope will answer some of your questions and be interesting for you to read. Thanks for reading.

Hasta luego.


  1. Dear Andrew. As the first commenter. I am honored to be able to do this and do solemnly swear to never do this anywhere else on the interwebs.


  2. Awesome about the first class seats! Good for you! You probably made someone's day, too!

  3. Haha, nice! I have only flown a few times, but usually when they look for overbooked volunteers I just ignore it. Next time I'm def asking for first class and gettin the hell off that thing!

  4. A hurting wisdom teeth is a such a pain literally. It destroys your vacation. I had mine removed by my dentist immediately.

  5. It's not only painful, but could also be a contributing factor in infections.
    dentist kansas city

  6. I have two wisdom teeth, I've had them for a couple of years now, but they aren't fully developed. So I thought that I don't have anything to worry about anymore, then I find out that it can cause discomfort and inflammation years after it's grown. I think I'll have them checked soon.