Friday, August 10, 2012

I miss Belize

Believe it or not, Monday will be two months since I left Belize.  I am getting settled into DC life.  I finished Pol/Econ training this week.  I enjoyed the practical training parts of the class (writing a cable, elevator briefings, presentation skills, working with economic data).  The numerous lectures were awful, though.  Some of these presenters literally put half the class to sleep.  I expect training modules about aviation to be boring, but subjects like counter terrorism should be interesting.  Practically half the State Department seems to work on counter terrorism, there has to be something interesting to say about it.  All I know is that none of the four presenters who talked for a combined three hours could say a single interesting thing.

A word of advice to anyone ever asked to give a presentation about their job.  Tell stories. Give us examples.  Demonstrate why your job is important.  And for God's sake, if you get the urge to include a slide of the org chart for your office, just STOP.  No one cares about how the office is organized. End Sermon.

In my quest to remain awake this week, I started to think about what I missed about Belize so far.  This list is in no particular order.

  • Working in the Consular Section - Going to FSI everyday and going to the Embassy everyday are completely different.  At FSI, I don't feel grounded in any routine (this is likely to change when I start language).  I miss talking to the ladies in the morning.  I miss having half of my day fly by while doing interviews.  I miss having easy regular access to the internet at all times.  The hours, however, are better (class starts at 9 and is generally over by 4, but we do have homework).
  • My car - How do you buy a car when you don't own a car?  Car dealerships are not exactly metro-friendly.  I am going to resort to renting a car to buy a car.  Grocery shopping is also a pain in the ass.  There is a nice Harris-Teeter store about a 25 minute walk from my apartment.  I can walk there, but can't carry my groceries home, so I have to take a cab.
  • Regular things to do - Complain all we want about Belmopan (and we do), there was usually something going on almost every night of the week.  Pig and Parrot on Wednesday, the Tuesday Tumble, the Hash on the weekends, Catan at Beth and Kevin's, lunch at Pasquale's on Fridays.  Sure, I can go to a movie, bar, restaurant, etc., anytime I want, but there isn't really anything pre-scheduled here for me.  Plus, none of my friends live in the same neighborhood as me, which then requires extensive planning on where and when to meet, etc.  Who would think that I would be more bored in DC than I was in Belize?
  • My house - The living space in my apartment is fine.  My bedroom and living room are big enough.  The kitchen is half the size of what I had in Belize, but it is sufficient.  (Only have four bowls, four spoons, and four knives is not sufficient).  What I hate about this place is how small the passageways are.  The closet door gets in the way of going to the bathroom.  The two (2!) bathroom doors get in the way of each other and exiting the bathroom.  The washer/dryer is located in a closet in the bathroom and it is practically impossible get from the closet to the washer without running into at least two doors.  
  • My yard - My dog will not pee or poop on pavement.  There must be grass or some sort of vegetation.  But, of course, there is no grass near the apartment entrance.  At a minimum, I have to walk around the building to the ten square feet of grass along the side of the building.  Otherwise, I have to cross a busy street to get to some grass for Bailey.  Then, since all the dogs in the neighborhood use all the same patches of grass, there are so many smells available for Bailey to sniff.  Add in a seven story elevator ride and what took less than five minutes in Belmopan takes at least fifteen minutes here.
  • My housekeeper - Remember how I mentioned that the washer/dryer was located in a closet?  That is only possible because it is the smallest washer/dryer in the world.  It takes a minimum of five loads of laundry to wash my clothes for the week.  For one person.  I don't know what families who live in Oakwood do about laundry.  I don't honestly think I used the washer more than five times in two years in Belize.  (I should mention that I still get weekly maid service in Oakwood.  They vacuum, clean the kitchen and bathroom, change the bedding, etc.  But, they don't do my laundry).  I miss Roberta.
  • My friends - Miss you guys.

(Yes, I am fully aware that these are first world problems).

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