Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Brazil Trip

I'm headed to the Amazon! On April 4, I will board a plane with one of my roommates, Susan and we will fly to Miami to meet up with 30 other singles from around the U.S. Then we will board a plane and fly to Manaus, Brazil for a week in the Amazon.

I've never been to Brazil before and I'm really excited about the trip. We're going to stay in a hotel on stilts in the jungle and cruise the Amazon. We'll be going piranha fishing, jungle hiking, swimming with the pink dolphins and who knows what else. It should be a blast!

Then on our way home, Susan and I will hang out in Miami for three days soaking in the rays on the beach and living it up on the strip in South Beach dancing the night away. I'm excited about this trip and really excited that a friend is going with me. We'll be back in DC on April 13.

I know I haven't posted many pictures on here lately. Blame the lack of a camera on my person at all times for that one. But I will be sure to post pics of the Amazon and the jungle and all the fun in the sun we'll be having!

Weight Watchers Update

Yes, I am still doing Weight Watchers. It has been a slow time however, but I achieved another success yesterday. Another .6 down. I was gone a lot in January with travel to Florida and Colorado for work and if the company is paying, I'm eating! Next week I'm headed to Michigan for a conference for three days. I'm hoping I'll be able to stick to my routine and diet. It's so hard when I travel to do that though.

My short term goal is to hit an even number by the time I leave for Brazil on April 4. That gives me exactly five weeks from today to lose 7 pounds. I know that I can do that. I just have to work hard at it :)

Here's the stats:

Starting Weight 8/15/07: 153.8 lbs
Current Weight 2/27/08: 147.8 lbs
Total Loss To Date: 6.0 lbs
Current Goal: 140 lbs by 4/4/08
Most Weight Lost in a week: 3.4 lbs (I do blame water weight for that dramatic loss however!)
Lowest Weight since starting Weight Watchers: 146.4 lbs on 10/10/07

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

October 12, 2008 is D-Day

That's the day that I expire off the Foreign Service list. I have begun studying to take the test again in July, but wow I would LOVE to get hired before I expire off. However, persistence is what is needed for the Foreign Service. Today I received my most recent ranking - 50 out of 70. Seems like a low number, but they usually only hire about 12-15 people each time. I have two more chances. However, this past hiring cycle they did get into the low 20's. Here's hoping that somehow I will squeeze in just barely.

Your prayers are much appreciated both for the next testing cycle and for the hiring.

I'm freaking out for some reason today with excitement over this. I guess two years into the process and I'm still excited means that there is something in this that I want and desire to do.

Today I was in the Brazilian Embassy getting my visas for my upcoming trip in April. I was looking at the people behind the counter and thinking that they are doing what I hope to be doing someday. I think I would really like it. Talking with people, helping them, doing admin stuff as well. All good stuff - not for everyone, but I would like it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


So I'm still waiting on the Foreign Service stuff. So far, I am somewhere in the 60's with not a very good chance of getting hired. And today offers went out for the May class which means I only have two more shots at getting a call this year - one in July and one in September. In case you don't remember, I expire off the register in October.

So with all of that, I have been meaning to take the test again, but just haven't been very inspired to start studying again. However, this weekend, I got the urge to start studying and will do so with a vengeance for the test in July. Yes, I have to wait until July to take the test again. If I fail, I will have to wait until July of 2009 to take it again which is a bummer, but hey, another year to study. If I pass however, I will need to be invited to take the Oral examination again and if I pass that, I will need a better score than my 5.3 I received last time. So pretty much the entire process starts all over again. Which is okay I guess.

For those of you keeping track - I first took the written exam in April of 2006. I passed the Oral exam in February of 2007. So if everything goes well this second go round of testing, I may have a job in 2009 or beyond. The key is persisence and I'm gonna keep trying. Or get married to a Foreign Service Officer. Whichever one comes first :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weird Things

So my friend Amy wrote about some of her weird habits and tagged me to do the same. I've been thinking about weird things lately and trying to think of some to write about. I know I have a lot of weird things, but I can't think of too many at the moment.

One that I remembered this morning is how much I like to sleep under my pillow. Most mornings I forget to sleep under my pillow, but when I do it is like heaven. I sleep flat on my stomach and put my pillow on top of my head. I have to have the edge of it kind of close to my face so I don't suffocate, but I love it and it is so yummy to sleep like this.

I don't like ice in my drinks usually. This isn't so weird for people who have lived overseas, but for American's its a little bit strange I guess.

I like to talk in accents occasionally and when I get into one it can be hard to get out of it. Easiest ones are British, Southern, French. Sometimes, I'll try out an Australian or Minnesota/Wisconsin. I have to be in just the right mood though.

I like to sing lots of things. I sing exclamations - like if I am suddenly surprised or scared or if I'm excited or for whatever reason. I like to make up words to common tunes to describe a situation or add to a conversation.

I used to have to arrange books on my bookshelf according to height and width. Of course there were always a couple books at the end that don't quite fit anywhere, so I just have to stick them in somewhere and not think about it.

I believe that stuffed animals have some kind of personality. I can't say that they come alive, but I do think there's a little spark of life in there somewhere.

I get really sad if I think too hard about a business going out of business or if very few people are frequenting an establishment. I think about the disappointment and the death of a dream for someone when its failing. I try not to think about it too hard though.

I also really like the Old Testament. Maybe better than the New Testament in some ways. Not that the stuff that happened in the New Testament is less important - quite the opposite, but there's something about the historical importance of the Old Testament that I really love. Probably has something to do with the fact that I enjoy Catholic Mass on occasion as well. Gives me a sense of history and belonging.

I'm sure those of you who know me will have other weird things. That's what I've come up with for now.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Brasil - aqui eu venho!

So I'm headed to Brazil in April with my roommate Susan. It's an organized tour to the Amazon and it should be so much fun. I'll post more later, but I'm excited and wanted to let you know.

Friday, February 01, 2008

January Updates

So it has been over a month since I last wrote. At the moment I'm sitting in a hotel room in Frisco, CO about nine miles from Breckenridge. I just spent the last week in Denver on business and since I was in the area, thought I would take a couple days and head into the mountains for some skiing. I'm in a bit of a conundrum however because I can't decide if I should just go hard core skiing over the next 2.5 days or if I should throw some snowboarding in there as well. I may hold off on the snowboarding for the wild mountains of Western Maryland. By the way, I learned how to snowboard for the first time last weekend on those mountains. And I have the bruises and sore muscles to prove it. I'm also consider some spa time and maybe a snowmobile tour over the Continental Divide, but I can't quite decide.

It should be fun and although I'm by myself, I know I'll make some snow bum friends.

This month I also spent a week in Florida - Orlando to be exact - also for work. I tell you I sure get around with this company. I'm not complaining because although it was a tough transition for me last year, I am getting used to the company and the job. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for the Foreign Service however.

Last weekend was also our yearly leadership retreat at church and it was a great time of getting together with other leaders and learning more about what it means to be a leader in leading others and helping others to be leaders and grow in their own personal leadership :)

I'll write more later about my excellent adventure here in the mountains of Colorado. For now, I'm going to go put on my moon boots and long underwear and look around town. And for the record, I'm going to hang out at Copper Mountain this weekend. My fellow van mates all said that it was the best mountain in this area. I'll let you know what I think. Cheers!