Thursday, December 19, 2013
Hello again and good-bye
The worst thing about being a Foreign Service Officer is the good-byes which happen every single year because someone is always rotating in and out. This means that every summer there are a bunch of "hail and farewell" parties which I loathe and not only because I can't eat any of the food. You see, I stink at good-byes. I'm just really terrible at them because my method of coping with them is to pretend they are not happening and that I will see all these people again soon.
The remedy for this problem, however, is not to actually participate in the good-byes, but to hang out at FSI. Because if you hang out at FSI for even a few minutes, you are bound to run into someone you know who is in training there. Today, I got to teach part of a course again, and I was lucky enough to have a friend as one of my students. I knew she was coming and I e-mailed her before she arrived so she could look for me on the schedule. And she not only came, but she brought presents from some of my other friends at that post. And it made me miss them all over again. But since they are local staff, they don't get to come back for training all that often and I might not get to see them any time soon. But at least I know they miss me! Because oh, do I miss them and I am loading up my friend who is here with peanut brittle because I think they will like it.
And then this evening was the worst part of the day, because I had a wonderful dinner/shopping trip with Artemis and it was so much fun to relax and catch up and chat and it was awful because she is leaving me! She is moving on Sunday far away to her enchanted castle and I had to say good-bye before she left. And I am not happy about it because this is not one of those FSO pretend good-byes and I'll see you at FSI in a couple of years. No, she is leaving for good and will no longer ever be at FSI to run into or have consultations with. This one is permanent. But because I love her like a sister, it won't be good-bye and there will definitely be some getting together in our future, even if I have to take vacation days to do it. So there, Artemis. You can't get rid of me just by moving across the country. Hmph.
Crazy ant infestations are not better than a brownie. See, there are some invasive ants in the Pacific Islands and the US Fish and Wildlife Service has put together a Crazy Ant Strike Team to go eradicate them so they don't do this.
Poor baby bird! Apparently ground nesting birds are really at risk and there are some rare ones on Johnston Atoll, so the Crazy Ant Strike Team goes and lives on the atoll for months at a time and kills ants. And the strangest part about it is that all the positions but one are volunteer, although they pay for food and "housing" which apparently is tents, and transportation to the atoll which is good because it is in the middle of nowhere. Really. Nowhere. This is a picture of the atoll.
The volunteer notice says "bathing is done in the ocean." I so want to do this! Sign me up, let me bring a crate of books I haven't read, and I'm there. It would be so awesome. Except for the sunburn and danger of plutonium contamination because we used to explode nuclear weapons on this atoll. But still. I think that might be my dream job. Of course, after the children are all grown. Sigh. But a girl can dream.