Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Pouch Trolls Strike Again

There are many things about living overseas that can be annoying. But a good FSO is prepared to handle life without a daily dose of Starbucks or first-run American sitcoms. Living in a developing country poses even more challenges, like bird flu and pollution. But this is the profession I chose and I have learned to live with the obstacles of living overseas.

What angers me the most is when the State Department, the United States government, lets us down. You would think after all these years of sending diplomats overseas, that the DOS would have it figured out by now. Think again.

Yes, the pouch trolls in Dulles have screwed me over again. I ordered some things for my bathroom to try to deflect attention from the tacky tile that covers the entire bathroom.* The towels and bath mat arrived just fine. But the soap dispenser and cup, shipped separately, were refused by Dulles. What part of the FAM did I violate by shipping small bathroom accessories? Which diplomatic security regulation did I jeopardize?

I've heard that Missions that still use the pouch in Dulles for personal mail (and don't have APO) will be converted to FPO. This change can't come soon enough. Down with Dulles!!! (The mail facility, not the town itself.)

*What is it about homes in foreign countries and their bathrooms with bold color schemes? Even if a home is tastefully done in soft tones and wood floors, but there is always one bathroom with garish mauve tile.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What Time is it in Your Office?

You're planning a major event. With two weeks to go until the big day, you meet with the local nationals who are helping organize the event to discuss a few critical details that need to be worked out. You walk away from the meeting with an understanding of what needs to be accomplished.

What you're thinking: We need to get moving on this, there are only 2 weeks left!

What they're thinking: We're in good shape, we still have 2 weeks left.

Americans seem to have a different perception of time than the rest of the world. I have an app on my iPad that shows me what time it is in six different locations. What I need is an app that converts American time perceptions into Nepali time perceptions and vice versa. I'd pay good money for that.