Ya’ll. I have done a terrible job keeping everyone updated. I knew it had been a while, but then I went and read my last entry, it’s apparently been almost four months since I posted anything. Yikes. Sorry about that.
There are a number of different reasons that posts from Islamabad haven’t been as forth coming as posts from Kathmandu. First, I work a LOT more here, which is great and all, but not necessarily blog worthy or blog appropriate material. Second, we aren’t allowed to go out as much, and clearly my best stories from Nepal were when I actually got to go out and see Nepal. But enough excuses, I’m going to do my best to give you the almost half way update – if you can believe that.
Nepal was my first tour, and I have to admit, I thought I was a pretty bad ass Office Manager, once I got the hang of things. I felt like I was really an asset to my office, helping with projects, anticipating issues (the best customer service is pro-active customer service!) and just in general having a great time while simultaneously helping others do cool diplomacy work. I don’t mean to make myself sound perfect, of course I also made some big mistakes and sometimes got very grumpy (sorry), but in general I felt pretty good about my career choice. I left Kathmandu thinking “I got this. Bring it on, Pakistan. Let me show you how Office Managing should work”
And now I feel like a TERRIBLE office manager. Seriously. In Kathmandu, I had a small office to take care of and lots of time to make things perfect and try out new ways to do stuff and add cool, personalized touches to my work. Oh, and volunteer for extra things like planning entertainment and office parties and baking cookies and talking to school kids. Now I feel like I’m at work 10-12 hours a day trying to do a thousand things, doing none of them well, and working at a hair-on-fire kind of pace. I sent my boss to a meeting that didn’t exist. I SENT MY BOSS TO A MEETING THAT DIDN’T EXIST. Thankfully, he was cool about it. But seriously. Who am I? How do I do the thing? WHAT GOOD AM I IF I CAN NOT KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING THAT IS MY JOB?!?!?!
Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that Islamabad has presented a great challenge and learning opportunity for me. One thing I did do right was jump in feet first – some days I’m doing well, other days not so much, but at least I’m helping everyone else survive. I’m just a tiny, tiny part of a massive operation that somehow, despite everyone’s best efforts, manages to do good work day in and day out. It’s been humbling. It’s occasionally be exhilarating. It’s mostly made me look forward to going back to a smaller place and a slower pace.
Okay enough about work. Kyle and I went on a simply lovely R&R home for Thanksgiving. We saw both of our families (PS, thank you families for living a mere seven hours apart, that really helps us out) and many of our friends, though not nearly all our friends, because we also desperately needed a break from the crazy pace we’ve been living at. We ate Five Guys burgers, Roncho’s, crab legs, ice-cream that had never been melted and re-frozen, and many other delicious American favorites. It was a wonderful vacation. In fact, the only bad part was that we had a lot of turbulence on the long flight home, which made me feel really ill, AND I left my new favorite sweater on the plane, AND someone stole a shoe (just one) out of my suitcase. Enjoy that shoe, creepy shoe stealing person. Darn you.
Our first and only Christmas in Islamabad was also very nice, we had some people over on Christmas Eve and went to a nice brunch on Christmas day, after which I took a fabulous nap and a bubble bath. We missed our families, but it definitely helped that we had just seen everyone for Thanksgiving.
Which brings us to the New Year. I must finally be old because I’m starting to feel the years flying by and blending together. Thinking back over this year, it seems like a pretty odd one, encompassing the end of our time in Kathmandu, our first transition from Post to Post (with some Washington time in between) and the first half of our second tour. On one hand, that sounds like a respectable amount of stuff for one year. On the other hand, I have this feeling that I wasted it, somehow – I spent my last months in Nepal longing for home leave and Washington DC, and spent all my time in DC worrying about Pakistan, and only God knows what I’ve done with my six months here, other than work a lot a take one great vacation.
So what am I going to do with 2016? Go to the gym a lot, hopefully, since I’m fatter than I’ve ever been. (Side Note: I’m currently eating leftover Christmas cookies.) Buy an amazeballs carpet to tote around the rest of my life so I can point to it and say “yeah, I got that when I lived in Pakistan, #nobiggie.” Take another fabulous vacation (I won’t spoil the surprise here but it’s gonna be a big one) and then, in approximately six months, move to Warsaw, which has been my dream posting since the beginning of this whole shindig. I keep thinking of it as a “Return to the Motherland” but I can’t really return there because I’ve never been there. Does that sound like enough? Who knows.