We Are Now a Family of Four: Meet Seneca

Roughly two weeks ago D and I were eating at San Marco (a local pizza place near our home) with one of D’s co-workers after attending a farewell party for one of our awesome marines (who we already miss so much!) and another wonderful embassy co-worker. I was starving and really excited to get my usual mushroom pizza and Sport Actif (a local grapefruit and lemon soda, kind of like Squirt). I had been sick earlier that day, so I was tired and looking to eat my first real meal of the day.

Suddenly this tiny little ball of orange and white fur caught my eye. It was an itty-bitty, skinny kitten and he was wandering from table to table looking for food scraps. He was so tiny, grimy and obviously hungry and I was in love. At first sight, he was mine. I knew this kitty was going home with us. He had to, he needed us! I already knew his name and everything! He was Seneca and he belonged with us.

Seneca
Seneca: Look at that Togolese Sass!

My husband was not so convinced, he reminded me that we planned to get a puppy when we returned to the states after finishing our post in Togo. Having a ratio of more animals than adults can be really difficult in the Foreign Service. As much as I would love a puppy, this kitten needed us now and Togo doesn’t have any sort of shelter system. The hypothetical puppy that we would have adopted from the ASPCA still has a better chance at a good life than this vulnerable little tabby.

There was still one problem to consider, however. Winston.

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We already have one adult cat who is very skittish and we were worried that the kitten might expose him to some disease or another. D and I decided to take the kitten home (after bribing him with some ham), quarantine, and take him to a vet as soon as possible. This was a Thursday. We got him to a vet by Saturday morning. Thankfully the vet pronounced him healthy. He gave him worm medicine, de-flea’d and vaccinated him.

That Saturday he was officially pronounced a permanent part of our family 😀

We expected Seneca to be a bit feral but he has adjusted to being a loved on house cat quite quickly. He is lovable and constantly purring. He loves to cuddle and sleep on our chests.

Winston is starting to come around, at first there was much hissing but now Winston will just walk away when Seneca tries to play or love on him.

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We love our Togolese kitty and I knew my New Yorker cat would come around eventually. Probably.

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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

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

From Zero to Sixty

Welcome to my blog ^__^ Mrow

Hello there!

I intend this blog as a way to keep friends and family updated on the adventures of Sir Winston S. Churchill (best cat ever), D and I.

Life has become a mess of insane goodness. June 27th, 2011 will forever stand out as a catalyst for our little family. My husband (D) got news that his dream of nearly a decade had finally come true: the foreign service offered him a place in the September A-100 class!!! Woot!

This changes everything. In the best possible way.

Over the past year I completed a Master’s of Arts in teaching (secondary ELA) in NYC and after graduation in early June I had begun the depressing search for work. Between hiring freezes and a bevy of competition the search was rather grim. This new adventure allows me a little more flexibility and a whole lot less stress about finding a teaching job RIGHT NOW AHHHHH!!! Which is great because it means that I can be a bit pickier about sending my resume out rather than doing the typical apply to fifty job openings and hope that two email me back. It also helps that my partner is so ecstatic about the new job that allows such a privilege. The short term job search, however, is still very much in progress and perhaps gaining a few more miscellaneous certifications.

I hope to find work teaching ESL courses in whatever country we happen to be posted but there is a good chance we will go to China since D has Mandarin as a critical language. Teaching English in China should be very do-able, we shall see (fingers crossed!).

So, other than obsessively scouring all the other FSO and EFM*  blogs out there, all we have to do now is enjoy our time left in Kentucky with family and friends and continue to prepare for the move to DC.

*EFM stands for Eligible Family Member (Me!), which means I am eligible to travel with D

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Sir Winston (or Winnie as he is affectionately known by many 🙂 ), my very fat cat, is the namesake of this blog and we all hope you enjoy following his travels as he becomes an international kitty.

Sir Winston’s Story

I adopted Winnie from the NYC ASPCA on September 9th, 2010. I had just begun my masters degree roughly two weeks after receiving my undergraduate degree in literature studies. The move to upstate NY for the summer  quarter and NYC for the fall quarter  was far far away from my sweetheart, friends and family (who all primarily live in KY and VA). I decided that if I was going to survive this year I needed a feline companion and I wanted to adopt a rescue cat. As is in my nature, I scoured the ASPCA website and looked at the cats available and decided on at least three that I would love to meet and perhaps adopt. However when I actually went to the ASPCA and toured the adoptable cats it was Winston, this shy and scared four year old cat who won my heart.

He had been in the shelter for five months, a very long stay for most cats. The lady at the shelter told me that he had a very hard life before he came to them and was missing a few of his teeth but otherwise he was in good health. Even on the first day I could see the potential sweetness despite the obvious distrust and fear he exhibited. He allowed me to pet him and the woman at the shelter said this was quite amazing as he normally would have nothing to do with strangers, his fear overwhelming any desire for affection. She assured me that once he trusted a person he was very loving. I knew I had found my companion and that Winnie would have a forever home with me. We would be misfits in this crazy city together and we were. He definitely helped me get through a very tough academic program and now he will travel the world with my husband and I. I decided to name him after Sir Winston Churchill because I felt he deserved a name that spoke of dignity and strength, qualities which he had shown in his ability to trust and love despite most likely experiencing some of the worst aspects of the world.

Well I think I have rambled on enough for the first post. I will try to post often although I am new to the blogging world. Beware, this blog will contain many many pictures of my adorable cat and whatever culinary creation I have whipped up at the moment as well as Foreign Service related happenings. If that isn’t your cup of tea, well, you have been warned 🙂

Cheerio,

B