My Adventures as a U.S. Diplomat and Family Man

First Stop: Tel Aviv, Israel (July 2012)!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Winter Wanderlust

Well, it didn't take long for me to fall off the wagon from my New Year's "mission statement." So much for bold resolutions about being a more faithful blogger. I won't try to make any lame excuses about how I am so busy that I can't find the time. The honest truth is that I lack the motivation these days. How could this be? After all, I've fulfilled my lifelong dream of becoming a diplomat, scored a sweet first assignment as a political officer in Tel Aviv and am getting paid to learn Hebrew for a total of 36 weeks. Why then does waking up every morning feel like this scene from the movie Groundhog Day?

I think my malaise stems from the drip-drip training for what lies ahead. I knew after Flag Day that I wouldn't be heading to the front line anytime soon but the slog of long-term training is now wearing on me. It hasn't helped that some of my A-100 colleagues are already at their posts and the initial reports, as far I know so far, have been glowing. While a few have gloated about exploring exotic locales and meeting foreign dignitaries, I'm spending my weekends in the suburbs and trying to conjugate verbs in the future tense. On top of it, I've had to listen to chatter about bid lists by newly inducted diplomats and even hear where some CNL classmates are headed for their second tour. If that wasn't enough, scores of language learners recently left the frigid confines of the classroom for short "immersion" trips to warmer climates.

I clearly need an intervention. The good news is there some light at the end of tunnel. I still have another couple months of Hebrew to go but I am making some progress. I'm now able to get the gist reading some short newspaper articles and the highlight of my speaking ability was conversing for seven straight hours during a field trip several weeks ago. My class is visiting the Holocaust Museum this week and I hope to get some good (albeit sobering) practice in preparation for my second language assessment on Friday. In next month's blog, I'll give an update on Mrs. DiploDad's strides in Arabic.

The second sign that things are moving along is that I will soon have a new passport for official travel! If you're not familiar with diplomatic passports, they bestow a few special privileges to holders. For one, I should pass through airport arrivals and customs much easier than your typical traveler (without collecting $200 though). I'll surely feel a bit heady when I whip out that black passport. Hopefully I'll never have to invoke the diplomatic immunity clause even though it sounds so freakin' cool to say. I'll have to continually remind myself of what happened in this scene from Lethal Weapon 2.

On a final note, being confined to long-term training hasn't at all stopped me from daydreaming about future posts. I'm ready to confess here in front of all you (chirp, chirp) that I have an addiction. I haven't even served one day in my first post but I'm already thinking about future tours based on reports in Tales from a Small Planet. I know there are others out there like me who do this. C'mon, come clean. What's so bad about a little planning in order to be in Qatar for World Cup 2022? For the time being, I'll be content with taking some short trips on the East Coast to get my fix. In fact, the whole family is looking forward to spending a day and night at an indoor water park in Williamburg, Virginia over the upcoming weekend.

After that, I'm hoping things will pick up and time flies by until we ship out in mid-July. By that point, my case of wanderlust will be hopeless and the only cure will be frequent travel. I'm thinking two years by the Mediterranean will be good detox for that!      

1 comment:

  1. I feel your pain! I love language training, but after almost a year at FSI I am so ready to get to post!!