Monthly Archives: September 2012
I suspect that almost everyone who is reading this has heard about the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and that Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Specialist Sean Smith, and two other Americans were killed in the attacks on the Consulate in Benghazi.
I went to bed yesterday having read that there had been protests in Cairo and that protesters had gotten inside the compound and torn down the U.S. flag, and that there had been attacks on the Consulate in Benghazi. At that time, there were reports that an American might have been killed, but the details still seemed unclear. When I woke up this morning and checked my e-mail, I had several e-mails and saw many Facebook posts about the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans. I turned on the television and watched and listened to the news as I got ready for work.
I went in to work like any other day, though a couple of minutes before I got to the Embassy I realized that I’d forgotten to put on my watch and a ring that I usually wear since I’d been a little distracted by watching the news while getting ready for work. My day was fairly normal and I went to meetings, read information on innovation and intellectual property to continue to get up to speed on my portfolio, spoke with my realtor about my apartment, read and sent e-mails, and so on. I talked with some of my coworkers, some of whom had known Ambassador Stevens or Sean Smith. Others didn’t know them but had other friends working in Libya and Cairo.
I don’t currently know anyone serving in Libya or Egypt, but I know people who have served in both places and people who are scheduled to serve in both places soon. While we are spread all around the world, the Foreign Service is relatively small and it usually only takes two or so degrees of separation to link any two Foreign Service members. So, attacks like these, even when halfway around the world and when you don’t know those directly involved, really feel like attacks on your neighbor down the street.
So, it’s very hard for me to find words to express how I’ve felt today. Suffice to say that I’m deeply saddened by the loss of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, and the other two Americans killed and am keeping their friends and family in my thoughts and prayers. I feel a lot of other things too, but it’s impossible for me to find the words to articulate those feelings now.
Edit: Apologies if you’ve gotten this multiple times or if it posts multiple times. Posterous seems to be acting up and I can’t tell if things are posting.
Here are a few pics I’ve taken while Ottawandering around…
The first time I’ve seen Dr Pepper that speaks French.
The milk comes in bags, though I did find 2L cartons.
The Rideau Canal – during winter, it freezes over and becomes a gigantic ice skating rink.
The Byward Market area
More Byward Market
More Byward Market
The Rideau Canal – this time looking across the Ottawa River to Gatineau, Quebec
For about two months during the summer, there’s a light show called Mosaika on Parliament Hill every night. The show depicts Canadian history and culture. It’s really neat and the rest of the pictures are all from that show.
I actually arrived in Ottawa about two weeks ago, but between getting checked in and starting work, exploring Ottawa, and looking for a place to live here, I haven’t had much time to blog. However, I shall try to catch up in this entry!
Work: So far it’s great! It’s a lot to absorb and get up to speed on since the work is completely different than what I was doing in Juarez. However, my coworkers are pretty awesome and I’ve been lucky that there haven’t been too many urgent issues to deal with in these first two weeks, so I’ve been able to read up on what my predecessor was doing, talk with people, and start to wrap my head around what I’ll be doing.
House hunting: It’s going ok. I’ve looked at a few places and found one that I like, though we’re still waiting to hear if they’ll allow the cat. If not, then I have plans to look at a few more places and see if I can find a different place. It’s stressful though, since I’m not familiar with the city and am also trying to find my bearings in a completely new job here. Still, they give us plenty of time to find a place, so I’m sure something will work out soon.
Exploring Ottawa: Ottawonderful! I’m sure that winter will be challenging for a Texan like me who’s barely spent any time around snow and ice, but so far the city is really, really nice. It’s very walkable and there’s a lot of neat things to see and do. A lot of my exploring so far has been centered around house hunting and exploring different neighborhoods, so I haven’t really had a chance to check out museums or anything, but so far I’ve enjoyed walking around and taking in the sights as I walk.
So, in short, everything’s going pretty well so far. I’m glad to be here and am looking forward to getting settled in to an apartment so I can put that behind me and start exploring the rest of Ottawa!