Personal Note: 2009 March 25th.

I thought I’d prepared myself for this trip mentally and physically. I’d thought thoroughly of how long I’d go without seeing my family, and I’d been sure to say goodbye and spend time with each part of my life I valued most before I left. I said my goodbye preparing for a seven month journey away from friends, and more importantly away from family. However, I thoroughly underestimated my reaction to today.

I sit with tears streaming down my face, not out of sadness and not out of joy. I’m not sure what exactly triggered it. I know that its to do with my brother being thousands of miles away, the poetry my father and mother have written in his honor for today… and the fact that I cannot be a part of his birthday.

I suppose it’s a culmination, the first point since January where I am genuinely home sick. I love my family, and respect my brother very much. With my parents aging, I am growing more concerned with the importance of time spent with them and involvement in their lives. I know that spiritually and mentally I am connected…they are in my thoughts every day and I am doing my best to keep abreast of what they are working on.

I think I’ve passed the gut check as it were to see if I could do this as a living. I am sure now that I could without hesitation. I know that moments like this will come again in my future but, as I write this, I let the feelings overwhelm me…I am dealing with them, understanding them, and filing them away to explore how I can make my blood connections even stronger. There must be some connection at a genetic level that allows a person to constantly feel their family. I feel my brother, his excitement and deep gratitude for the well wishes and support of his friends. Especially of our family. It is always so difficult to put down in words how beautiful that connection is. Especially to respond to notes like our family has a tradition of writing on birthdays. The emotions – raw, crude love, gratitude, guidance, joy and a mixture of understanding is so complex it drives us all to distraction.

I want to work overseas, and more specifically, I want to work in a job that allows travel and exploration of the country I’m assigned. Political and Economic section for the state department is the section that will allow me that freedom. As such, it’s an avenue I will strongly pursue when I return to the United States. On the other side, I’ll also pursue commercial avenues while I await the government’s decision. I can only hope that the experiences I’ve had at the consulate further enhance my understanding to a level where I can succeed in both areas and reap the personal benefits while enhancing a rewarding career. I am enjoying my work at the consulate to be sure and each day I get to see a new facet of life in government service. The investment of time around FS officers alone is worth the internship to view internal politics and to see the structure and interaction within a single small institution. Putting the elephant together, as my supervisor mentioned, is difficult but from what I’ve seen I think it’s a good elephant to be a part of. In my view its a puzzle that offers a lot of opportunity if you’re willing to take initiative and get what you desire.

Gut check complete I’m now pondering the next step. I’ll start finding information from those I can in the consulate to help me advance. Perhaps I’ll find ideas on grad schools and funding to assist my application? Or opportunities to get extra schooling once in the service. I’m not sure, a ton of questions and only a month to find answers. Sounds like fun. I think I’ve got at least a year if not more before I’d be able to start a Foreign Service career if all went perfectly….if I take and pass the test in the fall when I return and am tapped by the state dept. I’m excited.

More on my economic paper later.

Alex, My brother – Happy birthday.