I am not great at blogging. I mean once I sit down to write the thing I think I do ok, but getting myself to sit down at a computer and write a post after sitting at a computer all day at work is quite a feat. I tend to start out very strong with the blog posts and slllloooooowly they get less frequent until I forget about the thing entirely. Luckily I have friends and family members who keep me on track, letting me know exactly how long it’s been since I posted. OK FINE I guess it’s time.
How about this post covers the entire month of November, eh?
I Feel Pretty
The different branches of the Armed Services tend to throw balls (ha) every year, and since Marines provide Embassy security, we get to celebrate with them every year on/around their birthday. This was my very first Marine Ball and I am quite certain it will not be my last. Since I live in a part of the world where women are tall and thin (and I am not quite those things,) I needed to look elsewhere for dresses, and happily found a gorgeous beaded one online from Macys. I re-used shoes from my years of bridesmaid-ing, and opted to do my own hair and makeup. (Ladies, learn how to do your own updos. It will save you tremendous amounts of time and money in the long run, I can promise you that.) This was my result.
I didn’t have a date (I mean when do I ever?) so I attended with a group of my military friends who were all looking mighty fine in their formal attire. It was honestly an incredibly fun night, full of laughing and dancing, and I’m so glad I went! In looking ahead for next year, I’m already starting to mentally prepare myself to work up to the double cheek kiss greeting (I’m so damn awkward) and planning to perhaps invest in a less beaded dress next year. I kept snagging a strand and leaving a trail of slippery beads wherever I went. Not quite the effect I was going for.
This job has many hardships, though if I’m being honest the perks outweigh them by a landslide. One such perk is being sent to Germany for 4 days for training classes and meetings. I got to go to the US Consulate in Frankfurt for a few days, and enjoyed an insane amount of pork (often hard to come by in these parts,) the always outstanding selection of Apfelwein (cider) and many beer options, seeking out good Asian food, and practicing my extremely rusty German language skills. Oh, and the Starbucks. Mustn’t forget the Starbucks.
**Side note: When I lived in the US I maybe MAAAAAYBE got Starbucks once a month, if that. Suddenly I am an expat and the first thing I do when I leave Bosnia is find a Starbucks. What’s that about? I was never obsessed with it before. Where is this coming from?**
I met a friend from the 132nd who was also there for training, and we walked all around Frankfurt, seeing the sights and eating all of the things. Sad to say I missed the Christmas Market by ONE WEEK! They were setting those little wood houses up everywhere, and I made a mental note to make SURE I got to a Christmas market next year.
Now don’t get it twisted, the main reason I took this trip was to work, and I got to spend plenty of time in the Consulate building, a former German hospital that may or may not be haunted. The original marble staircases remain and have deep grooves from the many years of use. I’m told that ghosts are not uncommon, and that the security guards have even reported seeing them. I’d believe it. I’m used to the Embassy in Sarajevo, where I could walk from one end of the building to the other in less than a minute…the Consulate was a different story. I was glad I wore comfortable shoes because the compound is MASSIVE and I got lost multiple times trying to find my way here and there. Some pics of Frankfurt for you to enjoy:
Not a ton of pics, worked most of the time and when I was out and about it tended to be raining. Ohhhh well.
My first Foreign Service Holiday
I feel like there are certain milestones in my life that I can point to and say “That, that right there made me feel like a grownup.” Buying my first home. Getting a headboard and not just using a metal bed frame. Realizing I can’t wear flip flops all day because it will make my feet hurt. Oh, I don’t know, moving across the world. And most recently, hosting my very first Thanksgiving. I have a great group of friends here that are all without their families as well and we decided to join together for turkey and fixins’, parades, football, and booze. The Embassy did a bulk order of fresh turkeys from a nearby farm, I dry brined the thing overnight in the fridge and the next day gently separated the skin from the bird and massaged herb butter allllllll over it. Then I covered the turkey in a lattice of Bosnian Bacon, lined the bottom of the pan with veggies, and hoped for the best. And oh, was it the best:
I spent a tremendous amount of time researching recipes, shopping, prepping, and cooking mashed potatoes and INCREDIBLE gravy, green bean casserole, scalloped pineapple, cornbread stuffing, and homemade pecan pie and pumpkin pie tarts (only because I don’t own two pie pans so I had to improvise.) Bosnia doesn’t have nearly the amount of pre-made ingredients that I’m used to, so this was great practice in making things from scratch. If I say so myself, things turned out pretty well, and I stuffed myself silly in the company of my friends.
And there you have it: my month of November. December is already halfway over so yeah…you’ll probably get that post at the end of January. Don’t judge me!!