Sunday, January 01, 2012

January 1, 2012


Another year. I wanted to write something here but haven't decided if I want to reflect on the past year or think about what's in store for me this new year.  Since I seem to be very preoccupied with planning for what's happening now, I think I'll share what my thoughts are about 2012.

This is the year I will move to my next post.  Life in the Foreign Service is a have to be careful not to accumulate too much "stuff" because you have to pack out every 2-3 years and move to a new 'home.'  During my short 6 year career, I think I'm safe and will never exceed the weight limitations we have for government moving.  But that doesn't mean I won't buy lots of stuff!  During my first tour in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, I bought things like beautiful baskets and some traditional Lenca pottery, made the same way as the Mayans did centuries ago.  There was also some paintings I fell in love with (thank you Julio Mata Sanabria!) and ended up with 3 of his best.  So far, so good.  Fast forward to Muscat, Oman.  It's a good thing I didn't spend too much in Honduras because I discovered the gorgeous carpets of the Middle East here!  Oh boy...did I ever!  The one below is one of my favorites of the silk-on-silk.  It is gorgeous! I have 5 silk (3 4'x6' and 2 3'x5').

This is the first one I bought...a Persian wool and the largest at 10'x13'.  I hope that when I leave this job and return to a normal life that I have a house big enough for it! 
All totaled, between what I have bought here and in Istanbul, I am the proud owner of 11 carpets.  And I still have 3 1/2 months left here.  That number could go higher!

So...back to what all is on my mind for 2012.  I am up to my neck in the paperwork it takes to get me from Oman to Pakistan.  There is so much to do and if you don't think of all the questions and get answers before you get there, for some things, you are out of luck!  For example, my job is for 1 year but I want to extend for the second year.  This would be perfect as it would take me right up to June 2014, which is the month I have to retire.  If my request is granted, I am entitled to a bit more weight in my shipment to Pakistan.  However, if I don't find out until I get there, I have lost out on bringing a few more precious belongings.  Hopefully, I'll get word soon on my request.  This past week a couple things were finalized and I now no longer need to worry about where I will stay in DC during my 2 weeks there.  I also found out I will be able to put my car in storage for the duration of my tour.  These were big ticket items that were causing me to lose sleep...not any more!  I know that with the holidays, emails were slow to be answered and some people in DC were on vacation.  Now that the holidays are over, I feel certain that things will move along faster.  My biggest fear is that I won't think to ask something that I shoul have and will live to regret it. 

I've started gathering up things I will want to sell in a yard sale before I leave here.  I found out last week that a friend has already gotten that ball rolling.  She and her family are departing post about the same time I am and she is going to have a multi-family yard sale.  Yee now there is one room in my house where I am putting things I don't need to keep any longer.  This is a good thing because I have lots of beaded jewelry that I make and it will be a great opportunity to sell it. I've been making jewelry for a few months now and figure by the time I get out of the Foreign Service, I may have a few pieces to sell to add to the measly income I will have until I find a real job!  I use gemstones, pearls and mostly silver in my designs and make necklaces, earrings, bracelets and  
badge lanyards for those of us who have to wear badges at work.  It's much nicer to have a piece of jewelry to hang your badge on than an old standard issue chain.

Anyway, I'm gradually adding to the pile and hope to rid myself of some added weight and 'stuff' that I really don't need.  Of course, all my 'stuff' is excellent 'stuff' so I'm sure it will fly off the sale table!

I will leave Oman on April 12th, fly to Kauai and spend 2 weeks spoiling my 3 grandsons and then fly on to Fort Worth, Texas.  It will be great to see my father again and spend time with friends for another 2 weeks. Then on to Washington DC where I will take a week's worth of training for a high risk assignment, do a little shopping and then, on June 2, board a flight for Pakistan.  I have no qualms about going to Pakistan.  I will be fine and as they say here, Insha' Allah, or God Willing, nothing will happen to me.  I know He is watching over me.  Every decision I have made has worked out and there is nothing to make me think that will change now. When you make decisions with your heart, they are bound to work out!


Amy Wimberger said...

Hi! I love reading your blog. I like your style.

I'm getting ready to join the FS as an OMS in the March '12 class. And your post already has me thinking about retirement. I know it's mandatory at 65, correct? Will I be able to work *while* I'm 65, or do I have to be retired at 65. I ask because I'm 45 now and would love to get in the 20 years before retiring!

Debi said...

Amy, Congratulations!! You've made a terrific decision to join the FS!

You must 'leave the building' on the last day of the month you turn 65. If you are the OMS to an Ambassador, you can work longer to accomodate his/her tour length. Any other section, you need to walk out the door. The very best advice I can give you is to very carefully watch your tour dates as you approach your retirement year. If you need to move from a summer cycle to a winter cycle, depending on your birthday, do it! I have a June birthday and finding a post that I could get to and serve 2 years was nearly impossible...until the position in Pakistan came into my radar. Feel free to email me with any questions you come up with. You'll find that your greatest source of information are those of us with experience and let me tell you, we are all willing to share! My email is And again...congratulations on a wonderful career move!!