Four Weeks In

Today officially marks four weeks in country in Mexico. Clearly, my blogging is a little bit behind. Nonetheless, I have just one thing to say about Mexico so far: I love it. From the perfect weather to the beautiful jacaranda trees that line Paseo de la Reforma, the amazing food to the friendly people, I can’t believed I ever overlooked Mexico City as a travel destination. This weekend I hope to update more about my life and what I’m doing here, hopefully to entice others to look past preconceived notions of Mexico City. The American media often paints Mexico as a violent, dirty place. But in just four weeks here, I’ve come to see it for so much more. 

Pictures and more updates to come!

Phantom teachers

36 Hours in Mexico City

Wherever you are, the U.S. Embassy is your friend indeed

A Map of the Ambassador Posts Given to Obama

Protests Over Government and Economy Roil Bosnia

Things are heating up in Bosnia.

Ciudad Juarez, a Border City Known for Killing, Gets Back to Living

Review: 'Narco Cultura' looks at Juarez murders, narcocorridos

Off to see this tomorrow as part of my preparation for DF.

Bosnia, in Peril Once More - NYTimes.com

theatlanticcities:

Three decades and a war later, the remains of Sarajevo’s Olympic facilities.

Photos: When an Olympic City Becomes a War Zone

(via theatlantic)

Flag Day Results

After the most stressful morning of my life (uncertainty is highly stressful for me), Flag Day began at 3:30pm in a large room at the Foreign Service Institute. There were 88 jobs on our bid list and there were only 73 of us so we knew some jobs would go unassigned. Right away, the ceremony started off with nervous laughter as a Swiss flag was shown on the screen and Havana, Cuba was called from the lectern. (There was one Geneva post also on our bid list.) However, the U.S. Interest Section in Havana is located at the Swiss Embassy so the Swiss flag was deliberate and my friend Bernardo was the first to be called. The abruptness of it all helped dispel some of my nerves and I knew that Bernardo had ranked Havana high so I was happy to be excited for him! I continued to cheer as other classmates got their high posts and waited for my name to be called, hopefully after one of my highs. The ceremony went on quickly and very few of my highs had been assigned to my peers so I continued to wait, holding my breath when some of my lows were called, hoping not to hear my name. Ariel sounds awfully familiar to Eric, Erica, and Aaron in these types of situations. Then, one of my highs, which I had anticipated I might get, Mexico City - and my name! 

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I am very excited to be heading to Embassy Mexico City in March 2014! There is a lot to do before then but I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes me!

Flag Day and My Foreign Service Journey

As some of you might know, tomorrow is a long time coming. Tomorrow is Flag Day. Flag Day is a time honored tradition in the Foreign Service that leaves me with butterflies in my stomach. Sometimes those butterflies are for excitement. Other times they are for anxiety and fear. You see, signing up for the US Foreign Service means signing up for worldwide availability. This means that I or my classmates could be headed to some pretty challenging and dangerous places. Lagos, Nigeria. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Monterrey, Mexico. The list goes on. So in honor of the day before my life is changed dramatically, I want to remember my Foreign Service journey and the whole reason I am serving my country as a diplomat abroad.   

June 4, 2011 - I take the FSOT at a test center in Annandale, Virginia.

June 29, 2011 - I find out I’ve passed the test!

March 20, 2012 - I take and pass the FSOA in Washington, DC.

Summer 2012 - I spend the summer interning at Main State in Washington, DC.

Summer 2013 - I head abroad to intern at Embassy Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

September 9, 2013 - My first day of A-100.

October 11, 2013 - 3:30pm. Flag Day.

Tomorrow I’ll discover where I’ll be headed for my very first tour. It might be a place I’m excited about. It might be a place I’m terrified to go. But either way, I am still honored to be where I am, to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad. Please send positive thoughts my way for tomorrow and thank you for your support over the past two years!