So, I have started working through the departure checklist to leave Juarez. I’ve scheduled my packout so I now have the day that the movers will come and pack up all of my stuff, which is both exciting and terrifying because I feel like I have so much to do before they come and not nearly enough time to get it all done.
I’ve also started pulling together the things I need for my EER (employee evaluation report?) which needs to be done by the time I leave. Mid-level officer EERs are always due in April, but entry-level EERs are due on their one year anniversary at post and then again as they leave post. So, I have to get bullet points about what I’ve done this last year to my supervisor, who will draft an evaluation and then it goes to the reviewer, which is someone who outranks the supervisor, and then I write the last part. Then, it goes to a review panel of a few other FS personnel who review it and make sure that nobody said anything that’s not allowed and also do some general proof-reading of it. Then it goes back to the person whose EER it is. That person can then request any changes from comments from the review panel or other changes that they want. It takes awhile to get it done, since it has to go through so many people and can go through a couple of people twice. So, I have to get working on the bullet points for my supervisor so that she can start on her part in a week or two.
Other than that, not much news here. Still adjudicating the visas, at least for a couple more months, and working on getting everything ready to leave here and to move to Ottawa.
One of the things that I’m working on this week is making/updating a home inventory for insurance and shipping info. First, I need to know what I have so I can take out the right amount of insurance for the move and second, I need to know what I’ve got in case something happens during the move. While I was fortunate that I just had very minor damage to a couple of things in my moves from Austin to DC and DC to Juarez and no major breakages or disappearances, I know that I might not be so lucky next time.
So, on the advice of a few other FS friends, I downloaded a home inventory program that also has an iPhone/iPad/iTouch app that you can use to scan barcodes, take pictures of the item, take pictures of the receipt, etc. If it can find the info from the barcode, it will autopopulate the current price, name of the item, etc. So, it makes it a lot less painful than having to look all of that stuff up yourself and enter it in and then take a bunch of pictures and then go match them to your items, etc.
I don’t think I did much of anything toward cataloguing my things before my move to DC and just took a bunch of pictures of the stuff I had in my apartment in the DC area before it all got packed to go to Mexico. So, even if I don’t get everything catalogued, I’m at least way ahead of where I was before I got here. The program also makes it easy enough to do that it doesn’t feel like a complete chore. We’ll see if I feel the same way when I start in on the upstairs! I don’t have to get it all done this week though, which means that I can work on it in bits and pieces so it doesn’t get too overwhelming.
Anyhoo, hope all’s well in the blogosphere. Hasta luego!
I’ve taken this week off of work, but am staying in town to work on stuff that I don’t usually get around to like sorting/shredding/scanning/tossing/saving paperwork, cleaning, running some errands I keep putting off, and of course the occasional nap.
I have a lot of paperwork that I need to scan, shred, save, and/or toss. Some of it is Dept of State stuff, some of it is other personal paperwork, and some of it is just odds and ends. In this case, I’m not going to be separated from it for too long, but it’s good to have electronic copies of stuff just in case and I also want to get rid of what I can so that it’s not moved unnecessarily and so I don’t have to deal with it again when I get to Canada.
It’s also time to do some cleaning I’ve been putting off, like those rolls of Christmas wrapping paper that are still in the dining room, and some yardwork like raking the yard and getting rid of some of the weeds that are popping up.
There are also administrative things that I need to do to get ready to leave post. I still have time to do most of those things, but there are a few that I can get started on soon so I’m trying to form a plan of attack for that stuff.
Of course, there will probably be things left undone when I finally leave post and some of the paperwork will have to wait until Canada (or later) to be dealt with, but at least I can get some of it done before I leave.
So, we had another lovely dust storm today. I managed to get a couple of pics of the dust in the air today, so without further ado, here they are. This is all dust, no clouds or other obstructions.
That’s the sun, obstructed by all of the dust.
Normally, you can see the mountains in El Paso while driving down this street. Today, not so much.
This new “Postmark” layout reminds me of this Barenaked Ladies song. Enjoy!
With my triumphant return to consular work, I seem to have picked up a cold, too. I’m sneezing a lot, my nose is runny, and I feel generally stuffy and achy. Now, I’m actually going to blame this bug on a coworker that I spent 2.5 hours with in a small conference room yesterday, whether or not it’s actually the same bug he had. He may seem perfectly nice, but he was clearly out to get me with his coughing.
However, I have found that I have gotten more cold/respiratory bugs here than I’ve ever had before. I don’t know the cause of each one, but I generally blame them on consular work, because when you’re seeing 35 IV applicants and handling a ton of their documents or seeing 120 NIV applicants in a day and handling their passports and such, you’re exposed to a LOT of germs. It’s kind of inevitable that, no matter how much hand sanitizer you use, you’re going to pick up some bug from someone sooner or later. I find that making bad jokes about how I’m “sick of consular work” or “allergic to visas” helps me feel better while sneezing. Then again, I usually find it helpful to make bad jokes. It’s one of my specialties.
It’s that lovely time of year in the CDJ/ELP area when the winds mix with the sand and we have crazy dust storms. The severity can vary, but they generally cause the sky to turn brownish and they affect visibility significantly. Dust also seeps in all of the windows and doors no matter how well they’re secured. Tuesday, the dust storm completely hid the mountains that are usually clearly visible from the consulate. These storms can last until mid-May, depending on the year. So, that’s the fun news from CDJ.
A friend of mine posted a link to a video called “Welcome to Earth Universal Timelapse” which is a collection of 179 timelapse videos set to music. It’s really incredible and worth sharing in my opinion and you can check it out at http://www.wimp.com/earthtimelapse/
Set it to full screen on your computer for maximum enjoyment. 🙂
So, I picked out a new layout for my blog. I was getting a little bored with the other one and this one is called “Postmark” and seemed appropriate since in another era, I might be sending postcards or letters home with the same info that I post here. Though, I doubt I would send a whole postcard just to let you know that I’d found Fraggle Rock on streaming Netflix. Then again, maybe I might have. It was quite exciting to find them.
This weekend is a long weekend for us due to the Anniversary of the Mexican Constitution. It’s always nice to have a long weekend. The weather here is getting warmer and the days are getting a little longer. It won’t be too long before the dust storms are here and making the skies brown. 😉
I’ve been working in the front office for a little over a month now and it’s been a really nice change. I’m getting to work on some new projects and learn more about what goes on in the consulate outside of the consular section. I’ve gotten to sit in on some meetings and learn about what the public affairs section does each week, what the political section is watching, and so on. It’s been really nice and will hopefully be helpful when I get to Ottawa since I’ll be working in the Econ section there. I’ll be working in the front office for the rest of February and then I’ll go back to visas for my last couple of months here.
Last week, I got my TMFour, also known as orders, which means that everyone who needs to has signed off on my proposed itinerary and there is now money set aside to fund my travel and moving my things. So, one step closer to being able to move to Ottawa! There’s still a ton of administrative and logistical stuff I have to do here before I can leave, but things are lining up.
I realize that I haven’t written anything new about the diplocat in awhile. She’s doing fine. She enjoys her strings and catnip miceys and looking out of the window. While there’s a lot of things I’ll have to consider when I look for housing in Canada, one of the things I want is a nice view for the diplocat. Hopefully, I can find something that will have a view of some trees with birds and squirrels in them for her to watch.
So, that’s the big news here. Hope all’s well in the blogosphere!