6,329 Miles Later…

On the morning of Wednesday, May 20 I awoke early in my New York City hotel room. My taxi was coming at noon, and my flight would take off just before 16:00. So I set purposefully and enthusiastically about my morning: picking up my shoes from a repair shop nearby, strolling 25 minutes through midtown to get a glorious deep tissue massage, enjoying coffee and breakfast, and of course – strategically re-packing my carry-on baggage so I could have a clean outfit to wear when picked up in Tashkent by embassy staff.

I even walked to Times Square and reveled in the big lights, buying a banana from a street vendor and leaving my change to him. Walking down the street, I was all smiles.

Goodbye, Virginia (Part II)

On Saturday, May 16, my husband I had a relaxing morning and afternoon.  We went from our “hotel” (otherwise known as DOS temporary corporate housing at Oakwood Falls Church) to my favorite nail salon in Arlington. I’ve been getting my nails done there by the same person since 2006. She has always done a beautiful job, and whether it’s routine or for a special event they’re always perfect.

Packout!

On Monday, May 11 and Tuesday, May 12 our apartment was packed out in preparation for my transfer to Uzbekistan. Currently, almost all of my belongings (except what can fit into two carry-on bags and two suitcases) are en route to Tashkent either by air or sea.

Drive 

Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear

 And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear take the wheel and steer

It’s driven me before, and it seems to have a vague haunting mass appeal

 Lately I’m beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel


ConGen (PC 530): Week 4 in Review

This week I reached the two-thirds completion mark of my consular training, and I am happy to report that I am feeling well and healthy and have still not missed any sessions.

I have had relatively severe insomnia from time to time over the last several months, and twice this past week I awoke near to my necessary departure time with my alarm in my hand, turned off. Thank God for quick showering, dry shampoo, and a sense of humor.

One Year in Blogging

One year ago today, I wrote my first post on this blog, called Something Blog-Worthy…Maybe. Now, 52 weeks and 40 blog posts later, I am amazed to report that Collecting Postcards has received a staggering 10,957 page visits from readers in 97 different countries! I counted the list of countries twice, just because I could hardly believe it.

ConGen (PC 530): Week 3 in Review

As of today, I’m halfway finished with my six week consular course.

It is kind of a crazy thought. All that’s standing between me and the day I depart for Uzbekistan is the remaining three weeks of consular tradecraft, and an additional two weeks comprised of security training, administrative time, my packout and consultations. No days off, and no lolly-gagging. It seems like the closer I come to getting on the plane, the faster the clock begins to spin and the longer the to-do lists grow.

ConGen (PC 530): Weeks 1 and 2 in Review

On Monday, March 23, one business day after passing my Russian final assessment, I began basic consular training, otherwise known as ConGen.

The first two weeks have been dedicated to non-immigrant visas. This means visas for non-U.S. citizens to come here for the purposes of business, tourism or study. After six and a half months of Russian language class, I’ve really been looking forward to learning all of the ins and outs and regulations of how immigration law really works – in English!

Travel Orders

This past Monday marked the start of ConGen, the six week training that prepares consular officers for overseas work in embassies or consulates with visas, passports, and American Citizen Services.

While I was in my class today completing a module on non-immigrant visas, my first travel orders cable came through! It was in response to the request cable I sent in February, in which I proposed a PCS (permanent change of station) plan routing me, my husband, and all of our stuff from Washington DC to Tashkent, via New York City and Frankfurt.

The Verdict

Yesterday at noon I underwent my final speaking and reading assessment for Russian, otherwise known as the end of training test (EOT). I did manage to pass and receive the 2/2 I need to go to my assignment this May at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This is how it happened.

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