Finally it is 2017. The holidays are always a little bit rough, but this one seemed especially so with many of my friends gone out of Dhaka. The Consular section was extra quiet, with only a few of us staying behind to man the post. Thankfully, though, it was generally a quiet holiday season, though a few raids on militants happened and Bangladesh experienced its first female suicide bomber.
On January 5th, our Authorized Departure status was terminated and we are now considered “partially unaccompanied” or something to that effect. We issued a newly updated Travel Warning. Only spouses that are working at the Embassy can accompany their spouses, and no children allowed at all. It has been a little over 6 months since the Holey Bakery Attack, and I think we are mostly relieved that the wait for AD to end is finished.
Another disturbing event recently was the shooting of a consular officer in Guadalajara, Mexico. My A-100 colleagues working there are safe, but I’m sure in shock. No motive has been discovered yet, but it reminds us all that we do not live in a safe world, and I do not have a safe profession. That being said, even when my life here seems difficult, I’m proud of my position as a Foreign Service Officer, and I am still so happy to have the opportunity to serve the United States and its people.
In a few days, I’m headed on my first R&R. I’ll post photos when I am back, but I can say that I am really ready to get out of town for a bit. The air pollution here is just brutal, and my lungs are never happy. Also the lack of sun and freedom definitely gets one down. I’ll desperately miss my friends here but happy to have a break. It has been nearly 2 months since I last walked outside in public, so bring on the clean air, open skies and freedom!