This weekend has been a bit of a blur, with a few “going away” party-like events.
On Friday, we (the Teacher and I) went to my hometown. We had a couple of small errands (getting new birth certificate, updating voter registration), and then we went to my old high school to see one of the really important teachers in my life. While there, she had me talk to her class. I had nothing prepared, but I talked about college, life, graduate school, and jobs. Most of them had never heard of a diplomat or graduate school. I stressed the importance of planning, of thinking through what you want to do and how to get it. My teacher said that it was helpful for them to see a successful graduate, and that I inspired them. (My school is a poor, inner-city school in a poor, rural state. You can only imagine the neglect it suffers under.)
After that, we had one last dinner with my family at our favorite hometown restaurant as well. We probably overordered, but who could resist these?
Yes, my favorite restaurant is a fantastic Ethiopian place. It is actually my whole family’s favorite. You can, in fact, get good ethnic food in so-called “flyover” country.
We talked for a long while, about the upcoming move, about what my family is going to do, etc. My mom is having some health issues, but they seem to be on the mend. My little brother is having job issues, but that’s par for the course. They’re going to try and visit while I’m in DC, and my mom has the application for a passport to come visit me once I’m abroad. She’s never left North America, and hasn’t even left the US since I was born (a trip to Canada as a teenager was her only time out of the US). It’s exciting for her, and I think a little scary.
Before the 1 1/2 hour drive home, we also went to see my hometown best friend. She’s one of three friends who has known me for 10 years, as we met in the summer of 2001 at the local Bar Trivia competition. She had taken some photos during our recent wedding, and was touching them up when we arrived. It was nice sitting around, chatting, and playing with her and her husband’s one year old baby. (The baby adores the Teacher.) We didn’t leave until nearly midnight, which made the drive home (again, 1 1/2 hours!) a little scary.
Saturday was dedicated to preparing our stuff for the upcoming move. We weighed things; we categorized things; and we made some shopping trips. My new suits finally came in, and I finally bought the ties to match. Buying clothes is always stressful for me, and buying these was doubly so, because they are just SO EXPENSIVE. However, my wardrobe prior to this came almost exclusively from Goodwill. That really wasn’t going to cut it.
I also sold off some old books, mostly gaming books. It made me sad, but I know that I’m not going to play some RPG’s again. I didn’t get much, but I was able to get the last season of a favorite show and a goofy superhero cartoon. (Yes, I have some childish hobbies and loves. I’m a geek.)
Then came the going away party with my graduate school friends. This was probably more bittersweet than the rest, because not only was I going away and not going to seem them again soon, but I was going to the job that most of them had applied for as well. At least 5 other people had there had applied to be FSO’s, and been turned down at the QEP. Most of them were happy for me, but more than one also mentioned some jealousy.
The party itself was great. After talking and catching up at the organizer’s house, we all went out for karaoke. (Karaoke was huge with our graduate class.) I sang a song that struck me as particularly appropriate, both because I sang it the first time our group went out to karaoke, and because of the lyrics.
The Teacher sang as well:
My friends sang “California Lovin’,” “Me and Bobby McGee”, “Louisiana Saturday Night,” and “La Bamba”. It was a fantastic night, and I was sad to see it end. I do hope some of them make it to DC, both for their own careers and to visit.
Yesterday was more organizing, with some relaxing thrown in. Today will be much the same. So much still to do, but we’re almost there.
Countdown to the move: T-4 days.