Category Archives: Christmas

Oh, Tannenbaum!

I put up my Christmas tree tonight.  I didn’t get around to it last year, but this year, I had time this weekend, and with the snowy weather today and not much else on my to-do list, I felt motivated to get the tree and decorations out of the storage unit downstairs and put them all up.  🙂

I normally enjoy decorating my Christmas tree, but partway through decorating it this evening, a wave of sadness passed over me.  Many happy memories of decorating the tree with Mom and Dad, and of many Christmas road trips to visit family in other states flooded back.  Normally, that would be happy, right?  But, at that moment, all I could think about was how Dad wouldn’t be part of any future memories and that I was halfway around the world from Mom.  Most days, I’m fine.  Even though he often crosses my mind, most of the time, I don’t get too sad anymore when I think of Dad.  And, modern technology is such that I can stay in close contact with Mom, and we’ve seen each other twice in the last six months.  So, most days, that’s not that hard either.  But, sometimes, it hits you like a ton of bricks.  Or a Christmas tree.

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Filed under Cancer, Christmas, Family, Frankfurt, FS Life, Funeral, Germany, Holidays, Home, Homesick, Observation of the Day, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Snow, Technology, Texas, Texpat, Winter

Here and there

Well, true to form, I’ve been bad about updating my blog.  The last three months have been pretty busy and I’ve had a chance to do some traveling, too.  And, I had my first visitors!

October continued to be quite busy with official U.S. government visitors, primarily from DC, but also from Berlin.  In November, the consulate’s Marine Security Guards held their annual ball and I went to Brussels, Belgium for training.   December was a bit slower, as both U.S. and German contacts were on vacation for much of the time.

Christmas was really, really nice.  My mom came to visit for about 10 days and we made it to three different Christmas markets, did some sightseeing in and around Frankfurt, and also visited Munich for a couple of days.  My aunt also came for a couple of days.

And, on New Years’ weekend, a friend of mine from Ciudad Juarez, who is now posted in Berlin, came to visit and we did some sightseeing in and around Frankfurt.

So, it’s been a busy few months and I’m still very much enjoying my tour here in Frankfurt.

Without further ado, here are some pictures from the last couple of months.

Munich's Christmas Market

Munich’s Christmas Market


Frankfurt's Christmas Market

Frankfurt’s Christmas Market


Brussels City Hall

Brussels City Hall


USMC Birthday Ball

USMC Birthday Ball


Downtown Frankfurt at Night

Downtown Frankfurt at Night

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Filed under Belgium, Berlin, Brussels, Christmas, Ciudad Juarez, Family, Frankfurt, Friends, Germany, Holidays, Mexico, Moving, Munich, Pictures, Thanksgiving, Winter

A glorious week at home

The Christmas to New Years week is one of the few times that students at FSI are actually allowed to take annual leave, so I decided to avail myself of this option and went home to Texas for a little over a week.  It was really nice to be home and spend time with my mom, friends, and other relatives.

It was definitely weird not to have Dad there.  I think the best way to describe it is that he was conspicuous in his absence.  Dad really liked to cook and saw holidays as a chance to really go all out in his cooking.  If he had been there, there would have been lists, lots of different snacks, a fire in the fireplace, etc.  Mom and I are both a little more low-key on those things, so it was just quieter overall.  Going to church on Christmas eve was also hard, since that’s something that we’d always done as a family and it was the first time for me to be back in our church there since Dad’s funeral.

It was, however, just good to be home and spend some quality time there.  Mom and I test drove a few cars, since she’s eventually in the market for a new (to her, at least) car sometime in the next few months or so.  I had some good Tex-Mex and barbecue, and just generally enjoyed the break from the econ course, spending time with family, and being home.

In non-vacation news, I’ve worked out a tentative arrival date in Frankfurt, have reached out to a couple of the offices at post that are involved in the transfer office, and so on.  So, things are moving along towards my departure in a little over five months.  So, that’s exciting!

The econ course continues to march on.  We’re working on money and banking now, and it’s interesting stuff.  Next week, we’ll start on development economics, which should also be interesting.  It continues to be a lot of work, and I was very grateful for the break around Christmas, but it’s interesting and I can see how a lot of it will be useful in future posts.

All in all, things here are going well.  Hope all’s well out in the blogosphere.

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Filed under Austin, Cancer, Christmas, Family, Frankfurt, FSI, Funeral, Germany, Holidays, Home, Shiner, Texas, Vacation, Washington DC, Winter

Mewy Christmas from Catnada!

Mewy Christmas from Catnada!


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Filed under Canada, Christmas, Diplocat, Holidays, Ottawa, Pictures, Winter

Happy New Year!

I know it’s a couple of days early, but Happy Happy New Year, everybody!

I had a great trip home for Christmas weekend.  It actually started snowing on Friday the 23rd and I was a little concerned about getting across to El Paso in time for my flight since this area isn’t exactly used to getting a lot of snow, but it all worked out in the end.  It was really nice to be able to spend Christmas with my family.  I never did really get in to the Christmas spirit as much as I have in other years, but I did perk up a bit and get a little more excited about it.

The weeks leading up to Christmas were pretty busy with lots of applicants, but this past week was really slow and it was good to catch up on a lot of things that I had pending.  I also wrapped up some things that needed to get finished before I move to a new section for a couple of months starting next week. It will be really nice to have a bit of a break from the grind of adjudicating visas.  Lately, work has seemed a little bit like the movie Groundhog Day as all of the interviews kind of run together and most of the interviews are very similar to other interviews I’ve done.  So, the change will be nice.

Things are also moving on along with my transfer to Canada.  My transfer schedule has been approved by people in DC, post, and is now sitting with my travel technician who will then create my orders.  I’ve put in a request for a place to stay while I’m in training next year and have done more research on housing, winter gear, and Ottawa in general.  I’ve scheduled some time off in March and April, and while I’ll travel for some of it, I’ll probably spend some of it here, organizing things to be packed into the various shipments, donated, or thrown out.

That’s most of what’s been going on here.  Hope all’s well with you!  Happy Happy 2012!

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Filed under Canada, Christmas, Ciudad Juarez, Holidays, Home, Mexico, Ottawa, Snow, Texas, Transfer

Have you seen my Christmas spirit?

This past month has been pretty busy.  In the first part of the month, I went to Arizona for training with several officers from various posts on the U.S.-Mexico border.  It was a nice few days.  I learned a lot and it was interesting to hear how things worked at other posts.

Then, I went home for a week around Thanksgiving.  A cousin was also visiting for the first part of the week and it was really nice to see her and catch up with her.  Then, my aunt visited for Thanksgiving.  So, it was nice to catch up with family.  I did a little shopping while I was home, which is always fun.  I visited stores that we don’t have here in CDJ/ELP or that are too much of a pain to get to very often.

I’m not entirely sure how this happened, but I was really in the Christmas spirit before Thanksgiving and had to talk myself out of putting up my Christmas tree in mid-November, but since coming back, I’ve been less excited about it and still haven’t put up my tree.  I’ve tried watching several Christmas movies, but just haven’t been able to get that excited about Christmas.  Not sure what happened, but I just haven’t been in the mood since Thanksgiving.  I hope I snap back in to the spirit soon, since I generally really enjoy Christmas-time.  The weather reports here say that there’s a chance of snow flurries Tuesday morning, so maybe that will help! 🙂

Anyhoo, that’s what’s new here.  Hope all’s well in the blogosphere.

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Filed under Christmas, Ciudad Juarez, Holidays, Home, Mexico, Texas