Today is our anniversary.
Nine years ago, we were married in our church, United Church of Chapel Hill. We had, at that point, been together for nearly three years.
Of course, we had another wedding, and another wedding anniversary, marking both our time together and our legal wedding. We were legally married that day.
But this was our real wedding. The other was important, and we honor that date too, but this was the day that we promised, before God and our community, all of our tomorrows to each other.
It really sucks that we have to be apart today. And because someone tried to fraudulently use my credit card on the day I flew to Tallinn, I am still waiting on the replacement. So I couldn't even send flowers. And she mailed me a present, but it hasn't yet arrived.
But I shouldn't complain. I am lucky to have what I do. I will just be a lot happier when my family is back together in one place.
I am happy about being here...I have been super busy, hence the lack of blogging, but I will try to catch you up.
Noostie and I took a tram over to a friend's place. Yes, they allow dogs on the tram! Our friend lives closer to the shore than we do, so we took a nice walk along the shore.
The area was interesting. Not a place many tourists go. In case you were wondering what the picture at the top was, check out this interesting art feature constructed of shipping containers that was down there. If you look to the right of the picture below, you can see part of the piece above.
After our walk, we went to the friend's house to meet her cats. Noostie liked them...it was not mutual. Her girl cats, to their credit, were brave. I never caught sight of one of the boys, and the other I saw only for a moment. Clearly they are not as into dogs as Noostie is into cats.
The rest of my weekend was spent figuring out (successfully!) how to use the washer and dryer and figuring out what was wrong with my computer (I had flipped the wireless off when pulling it in and out of my suitcase). And worrying about my wife and kitties, who were in the hurrican (they're fine...no damage...which those who know about our ceiling drama/trauma last year will understand how thankful I am for that!).
I can't even remember today what I did on Monday, except that I have been super busy. I did discover that the box I mailed myself before I left is now back in Virginia. Apparently they entered the zip in wrong at the UPS store, so my box took a tour of Amsterdam before heading home. I'm really disappointed. It had some decorations for my office, including pictures of my wife, nieces and nephews, plus some king sheets so I don't have to hunt through my HHE for sheets once my bed gets here.
I went to Tartu yesterday...the taxpayers got their money's worth yesterday! I went to work early because we have a staffdel in town (Congressional staffers) who I needed to brief, and I left after lunch for Tartu, about a 2.5 hour drive. We met with the Rector of the University of Tartu and then with our Fulbrighers (good group of folks we've got!). We got home about 9:30. So the taxpayers got 13.5 hours out of my for the 8 hours they paid for. On my "short" days, they only get 9.5 hours for their 8 hours.
Today was filled with meetings and with me trying (unsuccessfully) to register for a conference I have to attend. I did succeed finally in sitting down with my APAO so we could map out our responsibilities. He works really hard, and I would like to see him work a little less hard (don't worry taxpayers, you are getting your money's worht out of him and then some...he is a workhorse and a great officer. He is going to do really well in the service if I can keep him from burning himself out).
So slowly but surely, I am getting a handle on things. And I am really liking it. Even the putting out fires parts!
This is what I joined the service to do. One of the staffers came by my office (ours is the only bathroom near where they are meeting) and I asked how things were going. We ended up chatting for a minute about dogs and how she had been afraid to join the Foreign Service because she has a dog. I told her all about Noostie and how we travel together. And how you shouldn't give up all that makes you who you are, including your pets, because the point is to show the world the diversity of America by the diversity of those of us who serve overseas.
And she looked at me and said, "You're a Public Diplomacy Officer, aren't you?"
Yes I am.