A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Monday, February 07, 2005

Here's the Deal

Catherine asks some questions about recent events. I figure some others might also be curious, so I'm gonna break it down for all y'all.

• Right now I'm in the process of providing the DOS, the FBI, and the CIA a more complete list of close associates for the last 10 years. This includes the phone number of the liquor store I worked at between Junior and Senior year, my friend Thomas' information even though I haven't seen him in years, and a vain attempt to track down the phone number of Jermaine, my roommate from back in the Silver Spring days who I have no idea how to contact. I'm making some headway, but there will be some intense Google-time tonight.

• I have to take a language test to prove my "Level 3 proficiency" (able to converse on a variety of topics, some technical, with basic to intermediate understanding) in Bengali within the next six weeks. This test will be done over the phone, and I'm nervous because I don't know if I'll be dealing with a Bangal or a Ghoti (Bangladeshi or Indian Bengali). The accent differences are significant enough for me to worry. Also, so many technical terms in Bengali come from English. I wonder if speaking "benglish" will be acceptable.

• I've got to go to the DOS for a physical some time soon. And you know how much I love being poked and prodded.

• This entire process will take a few months. In fact, I've been told not to contact the registrar at the School of Foreign Service for at least one month, because if I contact them beforehand they'll have no idea who I am. That's a lot of waiting. I told the big boss at work that I'm giving my 18 month notice. He thought that was a good laugh.

• There is still some question as to whether everything will go as planned. I had my share of wild times in college, but they are behind me. And I was honest with the security officer. So we'll see what happens. There are certain thoughts that keep running through my mind: on one hand, I'm a wanted commodity because of my race and language skills. On the other hand, I am a bit of a wild card. But the job I'm going for is to be, basically, a PR guy for the US. That sounds awesome.

• One big question many have asked: where do I want to go? Keep in mind when asking this question that my idea of a cool vacation or a cool location isn't like everyone else's. If I got a call shipping me off to Almaty, Ascuncion, or Gabarone, I'd be much more excited than if I got sent to, say, Paris. The allure of the remote is much greater to me. All this speculation, though, is a bit prematire, contingent on whether or not everything goes okay with my background check. I'm praying right now that it does.

• Finally, a few sentences on the test itself. To say it was challenging is an understatement. Of course, I had the advantage of really not caring so much. That's mainly due to some advice I received prior to the exam: at a party I recently attended, someone told me that "no one passes the first time." So, I went in with no expectations. There were many nervous people about, and I don't think everyone understood the full scope of the assignments. Basically, its a day of role playing, all much more complex than the standard variety. We're talking situations where you're given lots and lots of background information and you're expected to assimilate it all. The day was long and pretty drawn out; I was completely spent by 3:30. Even if nothing else works out, the test itself was an experience I'll value for a long time. If you want to know more about what the exam is like, I suggest checking out this blog. That person never actually made it to the hire list... so there's no telling what will happen to me.

So, I might soon begin a new part of my life. Can you imagine how interesting the food blogging will get if I start traveling? Wow. Words do not describe my excitement.