Wow, it’s been an incredibly long time since I last posted. Life has been busy and after I reached my one year mark, things have gone very quickly. I am now wrapping up the last couple of months of my first tour and preparing to return to the U.S. in April to start langauge training. I’ll spend a month of home leave travelling around and soaking up ‘Murica before heading back to the Foreign Service Institute to begin learning French for Senegal. I am pretty excited to return to the U.S. for a bit – ride my bicycle on the Mt. Vernon trail, walk the National Mall, see friends and A-100 colleagues, eat delicious American food, and more. I’m also excited about moving to Senegal next December. Let me try to do a re-cap of the past 6 months or so.
I finished up my portfolio as the American Citizen Services Officer in October – it was quite a wild ride, especially being on call 24/7. Fortunately, I did not have too many huge crises to deal with. I am now working at a Fraud Prevention Manager – which means I deal with anybody who we suspect is trying to circumvent or break U.S. immigration law by attempting to hide something about themselves (marital status, age, identity, criminal offense). It’s a challenging job but I really enjoy it.
Since my last post, I have been on 2 R&Rs – one to Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal, and the other to New Zealand. Both were fantastic trips – there are breathtaking places in the world, and I’m happy to have gotten to experience some of them. All three countries of my firsr R&R took my breath away. I hiked, snorkelled and ate delicious food.
On my second R&R, I hiked nearly 90 miles in 2 weeks. The highlight was the 30ish miles I did on the Kepler Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks. I hiked with a friend for 4 days, 3 nights, staying at huts along the way. It was incredibly challenging since I’m terribly out of shape (not being able to walk in Dhaka doesn’t help that), but I managed to complete most of the hike – I cut off some on the front and the back end. The best part of the journey was meeting the other hikers and hanging out with them in the evenings.
In between these R&Rs, I was also able to hit up China, Singapore, and also met my parents in Thailand.
Summer turnover last year was rough – 80% of our Embassy left, and I was one of the few remaining who was here during the Holey Attack. However, over the past few months, I’ve been able to build new friendships and create a new community. It’s definitely a downside of this career – you start growing attached to people and then they leave you, or you leave them. It can be emotionally draining, especially in a place like Dhaka where it is difficult to create friendships outside of the Embassy. It’s a price I pay to live the kind of life I want to live.
Well, I will try to wrap up here for now. Hopefully I will update this more as things start moving along in preparation for my departure from Dhaka. Eek. Until then, dekha hobe!