I've spent the past three weeks at FSI and have regularly run into old colleagues, friends, and A-100 classmates who I haven't seen in 2-5 years. It's the Foreign Service rite of passage - catching up with old colleagues who you haven't seen.
What's been interesting about this latest go around of catching up is how many people simply don't recognize me. I know I've lost a ton of weight and added a beard, but it's been a gradual(ish) change over the past three years, so I forget how dramatic the change is for people who haven't seen me since I left Belize. I was in a class two weeks ago with my boss of two years. She knew from the class roster that I was in the class, but until I spoke and introduced myself to the class, she didn't recognize me. Several other colleagues required me to say, "It's Al Caniglia - from Belize" before they made the connection.