Sunday, June 26, 2011

Where did June go?

First things first: passed my Spanish test with a 3+/3+. It was the best I could have realistically hoped for, so I felt elated (and a bit lucky). The question is, will I continue to improve, maintain, or begin to slide? I need to find a new book to read.

Now I'm a couple of weeks into ConGen, the training class for consular work, which is what I'll be doing in the GDL. The mission: "to protect the lives and interests of American citizens abroad and to strengthen the security of United States borders through the vigilant adjudication of visas and passports." So if you come visit us, rest assured that I will be able to protect your life and interests, and, if necessary, vigilantly replace your passport.

What else? I am home alone at the moment while the other four FiveGs are at the big family wedding in Hawaii. They've been gone for a week. Saturday morning without the family is WEIRD. The lack of chaos is disconcerting.

Suddenly, I have many more hours in the day. I've been fairly productive but I need to check tons of tasks off the list while they're gone, including (but in no way limited to) The Great Toy Purge of 2011, "Operation: Reclaim the Backyard," "Operation: Hey, What's All This Stuff in the Attic?" and finishing a pesky paper for the Mexico area studies class.

When the family gets back we will have exactly one month until packout. Here comes the crazy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy days, and a little pressure

I'm in a really good mood (made even better because I just scrolled through a few of these young me, now me pics. Wonderful.) The original good mood was because the children were delightful this evening, and...I dunno. Just looking the bright side of life, I suppose.

Language learning at the Foreign Service Institute has been a great experience. It's a little like college. Given that this is intense-ultra-mega-rapid language learning, class time is actually kind of light--4 hours per day--and it's up to you to do your language lab/outside work and learn the language. For me this involves reading news, watching news, reading Milagro en los Andes (aka "Alive!"), listening to Spanish radio (here's a news podcast that's been helpful), lunchtime Spanish conversation with compadres, and frequent talking to self, in the car or around the house.

It's fun, it's been a privilege, and now there's just the tiny matter of passing my test this coming Wednesday. I will need a 3/3 (speaking/reading) to be off language probation. Feeling a bit of pressure.

I'm also feeling some pressure in my ear, strangely enough. If I had to guess the cause, I'd say it's an ear infection, hearing damage, or some nocturnal bug that has crawled into my ear Star Trek-style and nested. I'm pulling for an infection. Ojala que las gotas funcionen.