Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Very Foreign Service Weekend

What a weekend! When some people think of being a diplomat, they think of swanky parties with high society and foreign policy makers. (Or maybe that's when they think of James Bond.) Either way, I never did. As a specialist, I've never expected to be rubbing elbows with big wigs... instead, I expected to be spending my time... well, much like I did this weekend.

Friday night started with a regular ol' uneventful Classified Pouch run. After grabbing a few hours of sleep, it was time to get ready for the next event. Saturday afternoon was dedicated to something I'd never heard of before: a "Progressive" or "Safari" dinner. This is a multi-course meal (in our case, 6!) with each course hosted by a different family, at a different house. The whole process took around 7 hours and was enormously entertaining. We had about 40 people shuffling between houses, chatting, eating, and generally having a good time. I very much hope we'll be able to organize these in the future, since it's a great way to spend a day and is very inclusive. The final event for the weekend was on Sunday morning, when I hosted a small class on baking bagels (and making cream cheese). Despite the bagel's unobtainable status in Chennai, they have yet to become a form of currency. They do however make coworkers very happy on Monday mornings. The class went well and also involved a lot of chatting while people mixed ingredients and kneaded dough. I'll probably try to host some more similar classes in the future, since I have a lot of random and useless (but interesting!) skills and enjoy hosting things.

Before I joined the Foreign Service, I anticipated events like these. Community building at post is a big deal, because we spend so little time in each place that it can be difficult to make local friends - they already have friends and know we'll be leaving. This probably leads us to making more and looser social bonds with each other. 

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