Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Sarajevo on My Mind, Take This Job and Shove It, and The Honeymooners

I know it's been ever so long between updates. I guess for once I was living my life instead of writing about it. Here's all the latest news:

Sarajevo On My Mind, and a Thumpa-Whumpa-Thumpa in My Chest

After two months of throwing darts at maps and spinning around in their wheelie chairs, the State Department has finally told us where we're going next. We're off to Sarajevo! Sarajevo has been rebuilding since the war and is supposed to be very nice again. Skiing is dirt cheap (a lift ticket for a day on the Olympic course is about $9), and there's lots of cafes. All you have to do is dodge the landmines and make sure the Roma don't steal your purse. That's a big step up from Bogota, where we have security lockdowns and have to watch our every step. Sarajevo is also much smaller and quieter than Bogota.

The job is great for Matt, it's in line with his career goals and doesn't involve any visa drudgery. My job opportunities are also much better than here, and I would love to go back to work full time.

I'm not looking forward to the cold weather, but I'm trying to see it as an excuse to buy lots of pretty sweaters. Sarajevo is still considered dangerous, so Matt gets a handsome bump in pay. We're also only a 30 minute flight from Vienna and will be able to see a good bit of Europe. Best of all, this gets Matt's name out in the European Bureau so we may be able to live somewhere like Madrid later on.

We're not being provided with language training because English is widely spoken there. However, we will be able to study Bosnian from home.

Although it may change later, we'll most likely leave Bogota at the end of January, spend a month in Alabama on home leave, then about two months in DC while Matt is being trained for his new job. We'll leave for Sarajevo in May.

Take This Job and Shove It, or at Least Nudge it Gently Away

I am once again a productive, working member of society. Or, at least, for 10 hours of the week I'm productive. I got a job writing the embassy's newsletter from home, which means I type up a bunch of events (like "Shopping Trip to Raquira!") and decorate them with ClipArt midgets. I like the smiling midgets who hold up a globe the best. It's a nice bit of extra money, and it lets me socialize with the other wives. By "socializing" I mean women I have never met send long, detailed emails about how I should be doing my job, right down to the ClipArt midgets. I may start distributing Valium tablets with the newsletter.

I get danger pay with my job (all Bogota employees do), which amuses me to no end. Hazardous typing is really living on the edge, man.

The Honeymooners, or Lost at Sea

Matt and I spent part of March touring the Galapagos Islands for our honeymoon. We swam with sea lions, visited more bizarre wildlife than I'd seen since college frat parties, and lived on a boat for a week. The weather was perfect for our entire trip, and the sky was so clear we could see the Milky Way. We'd jump off the back of the boat for a swim when we got hot, hike with giant turtles, and watch rays and sharks swim past.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't have something to complain about, so let's just say it wasn't my idea of a honeymoon. We spent a week in separate twin berths, rising at 5 am because of our guide, Captain DeathMarch. The chef had recently discovered cilantro, and wanted to share that discovery with the world by overseasoning every meal (leading to quite a few gyppy tummies on the boat). I probably would have preferred a 5-day cruise to the 8-day one we took. Matt's making it up to me by taking me to San Andres in the Caribbean for Memorial Day weekend.

As for further travel, we'll be in Los Angeles visiting Skye from July 10-22, and in Alabama for Betsy's wedding at the end of September. Then it's a long quiet stretch without travel until it's time to pack out and return to the land where shops are open on Sunday, pedestrians walk without fear, and cheddar cheese is not considered "picante." Ah, home sweet home.