Saturday, December 31, 2011

This was the year....

...that I turned the corner.

I started 2011 in a bit of a down spot. I'd just come off of a fabulous 9-months working at the State Department and was faced with settling back into the job that brought me to D.C. in the first place. A job that I love and is absolutely perfect for me, but one that didn't quite feel the same after my short stint as a world-traveling enviro-diplomat. I knew that I still had lots to learn back at my old desk, and was grateful to have such a rewarding place to work, but I also felt in my gut that I eventually was headed back to State.

Thankfully, 2011 also brought some issues to my work that kept me busy and challenged while I decided how and when I would make my way back to the diplomatic world. I also moved into my very own grown-up one-bedroom apartment and had a full itinerary of travel for fun and work planned. In March, I bounced around Spain for 10 days with one of my best friends, drinking wine, sampling tapas, and admiring Picasso and Gaudi. After a short 20 hours back in D.C., I turned around for a work trip to Copenhagen that allowed me to get a quick fix of the international side of my job and also gave me a chance to see how Scandinavia celebrates St. Patrick's Day. At the end of April I headed to Costa Rica for a good friend's wedding festivities. It was the first time, probably ever, that I had gone on a vacation with the goal of sitting in one place and letting someone else figure out my activities. It was bliss.

The summer kicked off with a week in June in Denver for leadership training topped off by a weekend with my sister. Then 4th of July weekend in Seattle/San Juan Islands for a friend's bachelorette party. Another week in August for family camping in the North Idaho mountains, where there wasn't any huckleberries or cell phone reception but there were plenty of bugs. In September I headed way north and way west to experience Nome, Alaska for a work event with a quick stop in Anchorage on my way back to D.C. A few weeks later it was back to Seattle in for a wonderful wedding of two amazing friends. In October I turned 30, a low-key cabin affair with breweries, wineries, and waterfalls. I then managed to stay out of an airplane until December for my recent Christmas trip home.

Between all of the traveling and working, I also started to settle into my current job while paving a course for my future. This is where the corner turning really happened. After two plus years of working, I started gaining more responsibility and confidence in my career. All of sudden I was the go to person for certain things, and I loved it. Going to meetings and not only having something to say, but being expected to lead.

And finally, as I've documented here on this blog, my quest towards the foreign service has gone forward surprisingly smoothly. I took the written test in June, passed, was invited to the oral exam, and then passed that in November. I'm now on the register to be a foreign service officer, which was pretty unimaginable one year ago. Quite unexpectedly, 2011 turned out to be an amazing year filled with a comfortable combination of settling down in my current life while seeking out my next life. And so 2012 begins...


  1. Congrats on passing all of the exams! I have added your blog to my blogroll of future FS blogs at Good luck on getting the call!

  2. Thanks for following and adding me to your blogroll! I've been reading your blog for a bit and find it very inspiring (and helpful). Gives me incentive to write knowing that there are potential (non-family) readers out there.