Sunday, October 24, 2010

A BEX test and a weekend in NYC

It has been a while, I know. My life has been a tad crazy, if I may say so.
Last weekend, the Diplomat and I dragged our poor child to the Shenandoah Valley, where we spent a weekend playing tennis, getting massages and drinking with a couple of good friends.
In our defense, Son had a blast playing among the fallen leaves around the rented house and experienced his first pumpkin carving, courtesy of our good friends. I attended two tennis classes. The name of the first one should have given me a good hint NOT to attend but hindsight is always 20/20, right? It was called "Sweaty Tennis: Drills" and a 23-year-old "tennis pro" made me and another 2 middle-aged women run around the court for our lives in the span of an hour. It could have made a very odd episode of "The Bachelor" where older women run around a tennis court to compete for um, a tennis ball from the young bachelor. The worst part was that he kept giving little yelps of encouragement to the other women, who in turn kept yelling back to him in utter delight. 20 mins into the session, I was ready to keel over and throw up, while the perky cougars kept running around screaming, "Yeah baby, give it to me baby," to the amused youth. I chose a different session the next day. I also went and got a massage. They gave me a masseur. His name was Randy. I think it is a very unfortunately chosen name for a masseur. I am just saying. Oh yeah, and the Diplomat lost his wallet. He does that often.

The week that followed was as crazy as ever. On Wednesday, I was told that my work project was over and I spent an entire evening dreaming with the Diplomat about my impending freedom. On Thursday morning, I was told that the client liked our work and I was asked to stay for another month. In a momentary lapse of reason, I accepted. I had a very serious conversation with myself after that. One part of me argued that the price of shoes has been rising and hence, additional income at the price of my sanity is key. My other side tersely retorted that sanity is, after all, very important and money is not. Shoes won.

On Thursday morning, I took a phone Russian test administered by the Foreign Service Institute, the notorious BEX oral test. Now, let's see if you think the test started auspiciously for me:
1) candidates are expressly asked NOT to call from a cell phone, but from a landline.
2) I call from home, my FSI-sponsored home with FSI-paid for phone line. Connection is terrible.
3) The assistant asks me to call back. I do. The connection is just as awful. She proceeds to connect me to the testers.
4) During the transfer, the connection drops. I call back frantically.
5) She connects me again. The testers are on speaker phone and the connection worsens considerably. I get nervous as I can only hear 35% of what they say.
6) I humbly beg to call from my cell phone, explaining that I can barely hear them. They concede.
7) I call back form my cell phone. The connection is fantastic and we proceed to discuss a variety of fascinating topics.

I am now waiting for the results, which are crucial for my place on the notorious omnipotent Register of diplomatic hopefuls. If I pass, I go on the top of the list and the moment the FBI completes my security clearance, I will get "the call" to join the Foreign Service. If I do not pass, I will not speak to myself for a very long time.

This past weekend, we drove up to NYC so that the Diplomat can get a new driving license. Son received a brand new haircut from a fancy children's salon, where he sat perched in a red racing car instead of a chair, watching Thomas the Train, while the hairdresser cut his locks. I took a very fuzzy picture with my phone camera, something I never do. If I ever figure out how to get it out of the phone, I will post it. It was overall a very good experience, and I highly recommend to any parent who dreads his child's haircut on a salon to go to a specialized place--it is a bit pricier than your local barber who looks like a very old Mafioso, but well worth it.

I am happy to say that in the span of three days, I managed to see a good deal of my good friends in the city. On Friday, we had drinks around 5 with Mr. U, then had over our fabulous neighbors for drinks and pizza, while discussing their marriage plans for this winter. On Saturday, we drove to Brooklyn to see A+F and had brunch at a slightly pretentious eatery (which did not have any regular sugar substitutes but only a suspicious and foul smelling green powder). On the way back from Brooklyn, around 1.30 pm, the Diplomat dropped me off on the Upper East side where I met my fabulous friend from law school who is also a great Fat Cat aficionado. We had one giant margarita each. At 3.30pm, after squeezing a manicure, I met the lovely S for a glass of wine on the Upper West side. Pleasantly tipsy, I went back to Riverdale, where at 6 pm, I met the Diplomat and we went to visit our Bulgarian neighbors for a round of beers. We finally made it home around 8, put Son hastily to bed, waited for the babysitter, and went out for a night on the town. We found a brand new restaurant on the UWS, Tolani, which served "favorite foods from around the world" and so we had the pleasure of drinking Austrian and Tasmanian wines, while eating a Thai salad, Belgian mussels, Greek appetizer and a goat curry to end. Around 11.30 pm, we were joined by the fabulous J for one last glass of wine. Utterly exhausted, we dragged our butts to bed at 1.30 am.
We spent most of Sunday afternoon in traffic on the way back to Washington, DC while Son insisted on watching a particular short video teaching kids to count cars 46 times in the back seat. Son is obsessed with counting. Apparently. He spent the rest of the drive peeing every 30 mins. which, of course, meant that we had to stop on the side of the highway every single time.

Tomorrow, I have a day off work. It almost feels like cutting school in 10th grade! The Diplomat and I might even go see a movie while Son is in daycare!

1 comment:

  1. With all the mess, u could still retain the sense of humor in tact, it is really amazing. the account of the week gave a good picture what the kids did during the week. Congrats on having the job for one more month and wish that it continues till u switch over to foreign service. Ur case of shoe prices raising resembles mine, in my case cost of fulfilling amma's desires is really rising, and I hesitantly shackle myself again in the advisor position. perhaps some are born to work and if there is lot of freedom within the work space like mine, why should one grumble!Eagerly await ur retrieving the phone picture of emil losing his golden locks! Wish u all the best!