Matamoros, Mexico: Washington, D.C.:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Working Late

My deepest apologies, dear readers. It seems I've been slacking a bit on my blog posting. There's a good reason for that - I promise.

I've been working late. Quite a bit, actually.

Last week, I think I worked late almost every night, including one workday that lasted from 7:30am until 8pm. This week has been the same thus far, though I'm averaging 6pm this time. Why, you ask? I suppose there are a few different factors.

First up, of course, is that my boss wants a project done by a deadline. Fair enough. I'll get it done, and right now I'm on track to get it done a few days early. The project itself isn't really the issue, though. It's the fact that I've got so many other responsibilities at Post that it's hard to make time for other projects. I assume this is true at most small constituent posts. Too much to do and too few officers. I'm not complaining, though - don't get me wrong. I love the fact that I'm getting tons of experience that most entry level officers at big embassies only dream about getting. In fact, I hear at some posts that just volunteering for any project is enough to put on your EER (evaluation), because there just aren't enough projects to go around for everyone. Suffice it to say that I've got plenty of projects, which means plenty of great EER opportunities.

My second reason for working late is more personal. As you know, I'm single, no kids, and living in a heightened security area. Which means I don't get out much. I'm doing my best, but honestly there just aren't too many options. As a result, I don't mind staying late at work, because it's amazing what you can accomplish when no one else is there, emails aren't flooding in, and phones aren't ringing. (Example: last week, in one 30-minute span when I stepped away from my desk mid-morning, I received 29 different emails. I kid you not. That has to be some kind of record. Granted, it's unusual, but still...). Sometimes I just enjoy staying behind to wrap up the projects I have going on and send a few emails that have gone unanswered recently. There's not much difference from working alone at work than sitting at home on Facebook. Except that one of those makes you feel more productive.

I wonder if other FSOs feel that way. I'm certain it depends on the post, really. I suppose that at most posts, there is a wealth of activity and opportunities to get out and have fun. For now, though, I'm content where I am, and I'm sure getting a lot done.

Until next time...peace.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Props to Diplomatic Security

Hey folks,

Just a quick blog post tonight to highlight this video from CBSNews about Diplomatic Security. I've done some of the driving and weapons training shown in the video, and I can personally attest to the fact that these DS guys are truly fantastic. The agents we have here in Matamoros are top notch, and I'm sure the rest of them around the world are as well. If you don't know much about DS, here's a good primer.

Until next time...peace.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

You Said What?

I'm writing this post from a newly-opened café in Matamoros, which has surprisingly good food, free WiFi, and great atmosphere. I haven't found anything like it since I arrived a little more than three months ago. Can you believe that - it's been three months since I got here. Time flies.

I figured I'd take this slow morning to document some of my favorite (and slightly embarrassing) Spanish flubs thus far. Now, I've been studying Spanish for more than eight years now. I have a bachelor's degree in the language. Yet I'm still not great at it, as evidenced by the following little stories - that I actually find hilarious - about some of my better screw ups. If you speak Spanish, this will be extra funny to you. If you don't, I think you'll still get a kick out of it.