We Have Our Second Post (and we haven’t even left for the first one)!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while but time got away with me (heavily influenced by sheer lazy). About a month or so ago we found out our second post after Togo will be: (drum roll…)

Guangzhou, China! Flag courtesy of Wikipedia.

You might be wondering why we know our second post before we have even gone to our first. Well, when D came into the Foreign Service in September 2011, he came in with a critical needs language. Since D took CNL points upon joining the FS, we have to do our second post in China. We are beyond excited. Guangzhou is the third largest city in China and the weather is tropical so it won’t be a huge change from Togo weather.

At the end of February I finished my two month French class and I am still so amazed at what I was able to learn in two months. After two months I can read the French gossip rags with some proficiency (with the help of a dictionary), understand the gist of harder news stories and hold a conversation explaining my likes and dislikes, who I am and what I do etc.

Shortly after I finished French class, two of my closest friends visited. My friend B (who was one of my roommates in undergrad) and I went to the DC Zoo. So much fun, we saw the Giant pandas and red pandas! Life dream accomplished 😛 My friend R (one of my graduate school friends) visited for a day too. His visit was a surprise due to him taking a detour from his road trip plans. A very welcome change of plans! We had Vietnamese food and caught up. I had just seen him when D and I visited NYC over President’s Day weekend but there is never enough time to really spend with good friends.

We have a busy few weeks coming up, three more friends are coming to visit and we really need to start getting our consumables shipments together and planning for Togo (vaccinations, getting Winston’s vet stuff ready etc). 4 months to go! Our time in DC has gone by so quickly. It is really hard to believe that it has been nearly a year since I finished grad school and we started this crazy Foreign Service ride!

I’ve also been doing a lot of baking and sewing projects, so I might do a post on some of those soon as well! Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Hope everything is well with you and yours. Enjoy this crazy Spring time weather!

B

Settling In

It has been a long road but we are finally  here! And boy, are we exhausted!

D and I arrived on Saturday night, a little before 8 pm after a very tiring drive. We were happy to get settled in and were very pleased with the apartment. It is awesome to have a great kitchen again and a huge king size bed!

After getting Winston settled in with his dinner and cat box, we pretty much crashed for the rest of the night.

On Sunday we had a meet and greet at one of the local bars to network with D’s fellow 163 rd class and the veteran 161st class. It was really nice to get to meet classmates and spouses. Everyone is super nice and excited, we definitely have a great group 😀

D started his first day of A-100 on Monday and from day one life has sped up quite a bit. The A-10o days are long and there is a lot of information to take in but I think the challenges of that forces the classmates to work together and help one another which is great because once we are dispersed to different countries the bonds formed during these training weeks really need to be strong enough to stand the test of distance.

This became very apparent on Thursday when the spouses  and EFMs (that’s me!) had our own taste of what the FSOs were going through day by day. We had a full day of training and got a chance to network with the fellow EFMs, partners and spouses as well as learning about all the programs that work on our behalf. It was nice to have recognition that although this life will be amazing, it will also be tough. Knowing that there are programs and people out there who are ready to help in whatever capacity is such a relief. It was also just so awesome to really get to chat with the other spouses. Exhausting but good day!

The weekend is finally here and what a relief it is. I started our weekend by making some banana pancakes. Tonight we are having spicy chicken sandwiches and home made french fries for dinner. Thank goodness for weekends! It has been a busy week and all I want is some good quality time with D (and Winston, of course) 😀

Wedding Weekend, Great Friends and Giant Quesadillas!

I have been slow about blogging lately, the days have been moving quickly but I have been working on a post! Here is one I started a few days after the wedding. Beware, there be gushy mushy stuff ahead:

As most of you already know, D and I got married this past Saturday (8-6-2011)! The ceremony was simply amazing and we are both very very happy 😀 We both feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by the group of amazing friends and family who have shown us such support over the past three years (our three year anniversary is only a month away! 9-6-2011) and appreciate each and every one of you!

We toasted with Ale 8 (Kentucky Ginger Ale) rather than champagne. Yum 😀
Lilies, Hydrangea, Daisies and baby Marigolds 😀

Our friend S officiated the ceremony and our friend B did all the photography with the help of her lovely partner K. Everyone did such an amazing job and we could not possibly thank everyone enough!

Bouquet that B and K assembled! They did such an amazing job!
D's boutonnière! One of the many things I crafted! Our friend B added the flower from my bouquet 😀

D and I stood in the creek as we said our vows, it was very moving and romantic ( I got a bit teary). The weather was perfect and the water was so warm!

We said our vows in the creek! Really!

After the ceremony we took some more pictures and then, as a group, decided where we wanted to go for dinner. D suggested this wonderful Mexican restaurant nearby and so we packed into our cars and headed over there where we enjoyed margaritas (for the non-drivers) and the biggest quesadillas I have ever seen! It was delicious and the company was even better 😀

Just Married!

By the end of the day we were all happy and exhausted, we said our goodbyes and headed on home. B and K, who had come from NYC to attend the wedding stayed with D and I until today when they left to see other friends before heading back to the East Coast. It was so wonderful spending time with them. We played lots and lots of board games, visited two bourbon distilleries (Four Roses and Wild Turkey) and ate yummy Vietnamese food. D and I were sad to see them off this morning but we were so happy that they were able to visit. We also had a close friend from Detroit who flew down for the wedding as well and it was wonderful spending time with everyone together, introducing old friends who had never met one another. It is always interesting to introduce different friend groups to one another, both mine and D’s.

After all the festivities of the wedding and visiting friends D and I have settled into a comfortable down time together, we made a trip to Louisville for D’s younger brother’s birthday, trip to Berea to have dinner with two wonderful people and drinks with another friend (Fantastic day!) but otherwise the past few weeks have been pretty uneventful. Winston is on a diet and had a bit of a chemical irritation in his right eye so we had to take him to the vet and get medicine for him (he is fine now!). The vet told us he really needed to go on a diet so we bought him special food and a measuring cup to ensure we are giving him the proper amounts. He is, naturally, very unhappy with this new change but he has already lost half a pound and probably more at this point! We spent Sunday at the farmers market with a good friend and had a wonderful time! There be apple cider donuts in our hotel room 😀 and watermelon. Yum!

Today we got our Foreign Service travel orders settled (for the move to DC) and the FS is officially recognizing us as a couple since we emailed them our marriage certificate! Shew! Nice to have that settled. Now we know when to expect the movers and when we need to get our packing sorted. There are inventories to be done!

This week will include lunch with my family, D and I both have a lot of work to do and we have the first of a few going away parties this saturday. Busy busy.

Sorry for the muddled post, this one has been worked on over the past few weeks so it definitely zigs and zags from one topic to another. Hopefully I can bring you a more cohesive post next time 😀

B

Move One, Two and Three

Move One

On Sunday D and I will be moving from our current apartment into an extended stay hotel here in Lexington. The lease is up on the 31st at the current apartment so we will be packing up the car and Winston for the relative comfort of the hotel. Hey, at least it has a pool (or so I’ve been told) and a kitchen. That’ll do.

D and I will be getting hitched! in Louisville on the 6th of August. We are planning a tiny impromptu ceremony in one of the parks in the city with around 15 of our closest friends and family. It will be a relatively low key affair. I will have a veil, bouquet, and pretty white sundress but otherwise very little fanfare. After the ceremony we will have dinner with our guests at a yet to be decided restaurant in Louisville. I am getting super duper excited. D and I got the marriage license on Tuesday and I was really happy to see that they still ask for your parent’s full name. It made me happy because I have been doing a lot of genealogy research for my family tree and marriage licenses have been very helpful. I like knowing my future family members might one day find my marriage license and it will help them build a picture of their ancestors 😀

Foreign Service Stuff

Everyone keeps asking when we are going to China so I thought I might explain a little further the process on here. Which involves explaining…

Move Two

The second move D and I will do together is the move to DC. We will be heading to DC around the second week of September. That is when D starts his A-100 class! During A-100, which is a six week intensive introduction to the Foreign Service and general diplomatic life, we will get a list called a bid list (probably around the second week). This bid list contains all the countries that have job openings and we will have to look at the list and bid on every country, deciding whether the country is a high, medium or low priority. We then will turn that list into D’s career counselor and they will discuss stuff with us and then we wait. Until the last week of A-100. One of the last days of A-100 there is a day called Flag Day. On Flag Day we find out where we are going to be sent abroad. D has worldwide availability so it could be anywhere.

Once we figure out where we are going we may leave very soon or if more language training is necessary we could be in DC another four to six months, possibly longer. Which leads to

Move Three!

The move abroad! It will involve lots of packing and sorting! I don’t have much to say about that yet but will definitely keep you posted 😀

Things are going pretty great here, I have a fat cat sleeping next to me and I can’t seem to shake the urge to constantly make rice pudding. There are definitely worse fates to be had.

B

Wedding Plans, Bridesmaids and Home-cooked Meals.

This has so far been a very busy and wonderful weekend for D and I. On Friday we got to spend time with one of my oldest friends and ex-roommate B and had yummy Malaysian style Indian food at one of the many fantastic restaurants here in Lexington. The Banana Leaf is definitely a restaurant to keep in mind when passing through the Lexington area. I had a half and half dosa, one half potatoes and the other half paneer. So so good. It was also great spending time with B. Most of my close friends I have not seen in a year or more due to grad school consuming my life and living far away in NYC so it is amazing that I get a chance now to catch up with everybody before we head off to DC.

This is an example of a dosa, yum yum.

On Saturday D and I went to see the movie Bridesmaids. This was my second time seeing the movie and D’s first. I loved it the first time and the second time was still just as funny. Definitely one of the funniest movies I have seen in a very long time. D enjoyed it over all but had some trouble with certain scenes. He has a really hard time watching embarrassing or gross-out humor sometimes but still loved the movie overall. Melissa McCarthy definitely stole the show.

After the movie we drove up to Louisville to have dinner with our good friends T and S. They have a beautiful one year old who I just adore showering with attention. S is going to perform our wedding ceremony on the 6th of August so we had some ceremony planning to do. We discussed with S what we hoped to get from the ceremony and how we want it to look and sound. It is very important to both of us to keep the ceremony as religion free as possible and to keep sexist or gendered language out of it. S has written up a beautiful ceremony based on what we have shared with him and I am just so pleased and excited for how it will all turn out. We are just having a tiny ceremony for now, we will be getting married in a park in Louisville surrounded by a few good friends and family. Neither of us will have particularly fancy wedding clothes although I am making myself a small birdcage veil (T provided me with some beautiful netting) to go along with my sundress 🙂

T and  S also grilled us an amazing dinner: Fresh Bluegill and Crappie (that they caught themselves!) and pineapple and veggie kebabs. YUMMMMMMM!!! They also made various delicious salads and grilled asparagus. D and I are very very lucky to have such wonderful friends 😀 and I get to be Aunty B!!! Yay!!!

And today has been pretty darn great so far too! D roasted a nice hunk of beef in the oven and I made roasted green beans (We collaborated on the mashed potatoes). Mmmmmm, very lovely Sunday dinner. Oh! and I made rice pudding for breakfast. Tonight we are having a date night at the drive-in: Captain America (D and I both are very excited for this one) and Friends with Benefits (This one looks like it should be fun). Woot! for double features! 😀

Have a lovely rest of the weekend!

B