A Month?? How has it been a month?

Sorry for the radio silence, everyone. I’ve been very busy recently, both with work and personal things. We’ll start with work:

The week after Flag Day (when we found out that we are headed to Togo!), I (and the rest of my Africa-bound cohort) met with people from the Africa bureau. I’ve found out that the Africa bureau works hard to take care of its entry level officers, which is good news for us. It’s made me even more excited to be going to Togo!

As for what I’m doing now, j’étudie le français. I believe deeply that training should always be paid, and I’ve refused jobs before that didn’t have training. But to be paid to do nothing but learn French for 6 months? I feel like I’m in heaven.

Though, it’s not a picnic. We are moving really, really fast. I’m in my third week, and we’re reading news reports and explaining them (en français) to our classmates. Every day, we each bring in two new words to teach our classmates (aussi en français), and we get tested every week on the total of 50 new words, along with all the other words, grammar, etc. we have to learn.

Fortunately, I feel like my background in Chinese and Russian is helping some, especially Russian. Russian conjugations are very similar to French ones, at least in terms of structure. Moreover, just having experience with a number of languages is making it easier too.

So, this is what I’m doing until May. I have to reach “full professional proficiency” by then, and right now I’m feeling pretty confident. We’ll see if that works out.

On the more personal side, I finally saw a local rheumatologist. For those who don’t know, I’ve dealt with chronic pain and fatigue for about 5 years now, since (at least) my first time in graduate school. (I wrote about it once before, a little.) I went to a doctor when I first noticed it, especially as it was making it difficult for me to focus on classwork, but the doctors at the student clinic were completely unable to help. Seeing anyone else had to wait until I had health insurance…meaning, it had to wait until this year.

I saw a rheumatologist once before moving to DC. That rheumatologist suggested something called “Sjogren’s“. This one disagreed with the one in Lexington on a few things, but she agreed on the treatment. (She thinks it is “lupus-y,” even if the final test for lupus came back negative.) I’ll be starting on treatment soon (the local pharmacy needs to get everything together first), and hopefully in a few weeks we’ll see if it helps. (It takes six weeks to start working.)

I’m optimistic. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m tired of being tired, and I’m tired of aching all the time. Even if it can’t be cured or fixed, anything that lessens the problem will make me very happy.


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