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Hi there. In the event that you don’t remember me, I’m the girl who got her first bluebonnet tattoo at Fatty’s on Connecticut back in 2000. Yes, you are indelibly imprinted on my person.
Perhaps it is this connection that compels me to write today. I would like to offer my services as a confidante, a counselor if you will. Something has happened to you, hasn’t it? A trauma that you are not yet ready to talk about, perhaps? I know, I know…I can feel it in the evil juju you’ve been belching into the world lately:
- The panicked, sweaty disorientation with which you wallop people immediately upon exiting the metro. The buildings get bored, don’t they? Why else would they up and exchange places with one another when nobody is paying attention?
- The food. Listen to mama on this one – the food. Front Page, a Falafel is not a Hush Puppy! And Bistrot du Coin, for the love of God, ratatouille atop Mrs. Baird’s? Merde!
- The music. * * * Okay, I’ll leave you alone on this one. I’m from Austin and it just wouldn’t be fair.
- The “events” you lob at us. Hilton Washington, I’m talking to you! Passport to the World took more than my money and several hours of my life; I would like my grace and cleanliness of heart returned asap. (Reagan may have fared worse than we did at this joint, but only slightly.)
Let me help you.
Concerned Yet Optimistic,
PS – I still like you more than Georgetown. But Georgetown mugged and beat the tar out of me, so that isn’t saying much.
Dushanbe, Tajikistan, baby!
I am in the process of learning as many fun facts as I can about this fascinating little country tucked among Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It will be my home for 2 years beginning in February 2011. So far I have gleaned the following:
** Fabulous fresh fruits and vegetables are available at the market in Dushanbe most months of the year. Praise Jesus! This vegan is over-the-moon.
** The unibrow leads a rich and vibrant life.
** Tajikistan is one of the most mountainous countries on earth. Right. Post-Christmas I am armed with REI gift certificates and hell-bent on learning to hike…and like it!
** Um … it is really bloody difficult to reach Dushanbe. I will soon find out who *really* loves me 😉
** It appears that Dushanbe is not a regular stop on Phoenix’s touring schedule. Drat.
Among Con Gen training and consumables- and vehicle- and clothes-shopping and packout and departmental consultations and vaccines and hopefully squeezing in one last visit to Austin and and and … I look forward to learning more. Anybody have any insight?
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And I have found another one of my craptastic self-snapped photos to indicate what I suppose is my big news: I’m leaving Austin to be a diplomat. I start training as a Junior Foreign Service Officer in DC at the end of October, and then after an as-yet-undetermined number of months will be sent of to one end of the earth or another. Really & truly, kids.
Quite exciting. Quite terrifying. It means that I am maniacally trying to do all of the Austin-type things that everyone says I’m supposed to do before I leave. Considering the fact that I am a vegan who finds the outdoors patently disagreeable, suggestions such as the Salt Lick, Mount Bonnell, Lady Bird Lake and Enchanted Rock trundle right past me. They are all beautiful as viewed through the windows of Pearl, my old Ford F-150 that will accompany me to DC but be sold before I am shipped off to my first post.
So yes, I’ll check back in with a must-see, must-do, must-hear, must-eat Austin list of my own.
(No doubt accompanied by keening over packing-out and all other manner of government-sponsored rituals guaranteed to rend one’s soul from whatever comfort one may have created for oneself. But the adventure is worth it,right?)
I’m still here! My life has been overtaken by the studying of the Russian and I’m lost somewhere in here:
I promise to emerge soon! My test is July 22.
My only indulgences while studying are wine (of course!), the occasional concert (Mumford & Sons are amazing!!) and the World Cup. Die Mannschaft and Wayne’s German twin Mesut Oezil are gonna take it all!
After another round with the Rosetta Stone, in which each and every one of my virtual Russian teachers is inexplicably traveling to or coming from or living in Paris, I figure I need to work out the answer to the question “Why *not* French, after all?”
(And by the way, *ROSETTA* – what the heck?? Presumably one who is seeking to learn Russian is going to have some dealings with the country, and would need to learn to decline the feminine noun “Moskva” rather than masculine “Parizh.” Or are you saying that as soon as the aforementioned one sets foot in Moskva she will need to know how to say “Please, get me to Parizh as quickly as possible. Thank you.” – ?)
So far all I have come up with is this:
- French people intimidate me. Case in point:
Here I am getting an autograph from Laurent Brancowitz of Phoenix at ACL Fest 2009. I have absolutely nothing to say to him, but the inside of my head sounds something like this: “I love his shirt! Why am I dressed like Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory? Why? If we get a gust of wind up in here I will look EXACTLY like a blueberry. And why does my hair look like I had a wicked Jheri curl that decided to crawl away and die a slow death? Wow. Laurent has the slimmest hips I’ve ever seen on a human. God really didn’t craft men for child-bearing, did He? Oh crap, of everything I’ve been thinking, I said that last thing out loud, didn’t I? How do you say ‘Excuse me, I have Tourette’s’ in French?”
- Non-French people who fancy themselves French-speakers annoy me. You know who you people are.
- I will never be in the first category and I don’t want to end up in the second, so Moskva it is…
In preparation for my Foreign Service Institute Russian test (July 22nd and the reason why I’ve been too distracted to write regularly – sorry!!!), my Russian tutor and I were discussing current events in Russia. After 20 minutes of dissecting the disagreeable state of Russia’s relationship with, well, just about every other country in the world, my tutor expressed her hope that I end up in Paris instead.
So then. Why, of all of the languages offered at Rice University (granted, not many because it is primarily an Engineering school), did I toddle in as a freshman 15 years ago and choose Russian?
(Yep, that’s the Russian flag. One of these days I’ll take an artful photo of my stack of Russian study aides, but this post is already sorely overdue, and who knows how much longer I’d procrastinate if finding my camera and arranging a tableau were required.)
Right. So why Russian?
- Russia is cold. Texas is not. How endearing.
- I thought Alexei Urmanov was totally cute. Then I thought Detroit’s Russian 5 was way cuter.
- Vodka! Who doesn’t LOVE vodka?!?!
15 years later, I understand more about Russia’s dynamic and fascinating role in the international arena, but at the basest level, I question my decision…
- Russia is cold. Texas is not. I’ve lived in Berlin now. I’ve lived in DC. I HATE the frigging cold.
- Um. My taste in men and entertainment has changed. (Although, maybe not. I’m sure any one of these guys could rock the puffy sleeves or a hockey jersey if he really wanted to. This is Phoenix, by the way. Christian is my favorite today. He’s on the far right. I think I’d look like him if I were a dude…only with a bigger butt.)
- Please drown my vodka in olive juice. Preferably, give me red wine.
So I guess my next question is – why the hell not French?
I’m sure I’m not the first person to have figured this out, but *man* is it devilishly simple to make one’s own kettle corn-type stuff. Vegan too!
1 bag no-butter, low-salt, low-fat, no-fun microwave popcorn
Put the popped stuff in a giant bowl, add a few generous squirts of agave nectar and as much salt as you please, and mix it all up with your fingers (or cover the bowl with something and shake everything up, if you are more civilized than I am). Next time I’m going to add some red pepper flakes or cayenne.
I didn’t really need to discover another snack I can’t-live-without, but hey…it could be worse, eh?
PS – Thank you, Summer Huggins, for teaching me how to link!
PPS – I promise more photos to liven up this blog in the future. I’m still trying to get into the groove of this thing, so it is just going to be have to be aesthetically displeasing for a little while.