Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Seen in DC #10 - Cien Montaditos

Cien Montaditos is a Spanish chain whose business model of tiny little sandwiches and cheap beer has apparently made it across the Atlantic. Never thought I'd eat these guys again!

And who better to eat these cheap little sandwiches than my cheap (but lovable) roommate from Madrid, Mat?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

And the winner is...

A couple of weeks ago, I turned in my bid list, which is a list of the Foreign Service posts open to first tour officers in my class. My criteria for ranking posts high on my list included the opportunity to learn French, a cool econ job, and maybe bit of adventure (which is obviously a bit more subjective of a measure). Given these criteria, my top choices were economic jobs in Tunisia, Burundi and Canada.

Yesterday was Flag Day, which is the ceremony in which our first tour assignments are revealed. About halfway through the 100 names they called, this flag flashed onto the screen.

Hmm. I wonder what country that weird flag is, I mused.

"Bujumbura, Burundi - Economic, consular and numerous other duties as assigned - Bryan Schell!" exclaimed the announcer. Surprised, unsurprised, giddy and calm all at once, I walked up to the front of the room to the cheers of my colleagues.

They handed me a little flag, took my photo and gave me a folder with my onward assignment information. It didn't really start to sink in until the ceremony ended and I was walking through the green lawns of the Foreign Service Institute campus with my friend Jane and her daughter Claire. I am about to learn to speak French at an even more advanced level than I can speak Spanish. From scratch. I am going to live and train in DC for a year. I am going to move to one of the most out-of-the-way places in sub-Saharan Africa and live there for two years. I'm going to have an extremely interesting job at an exceptionally tiny embassy, with lots of amazing opportunities to take on a lot of responsibilities.

I paused to take a photo with Claire and Benjamin Franklin.

The the crush of thoughts came back. This time next year, I'm going to be living on the equator on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. I'm going to meet pygmies and make faces at hippos. I'm going to live in a country that has outlawed jogging. I'm going to be in a fascinating corner of the world. I'm going to be blogging up a storm! Holy moley. I'm super excited and it's all just beginning!