I know there are a lot of people for whom 2011 has been a really bad year.
But I am not one of them, and I feel extremely fortunate.
Yes, 2011 was a year in which my wife and I endured a four month separation, bringing to nearly three years we have spent apart for the needs of the service.
And yes, 2011 saw a freeze in our pay and so much animousity aimed at Federal employees that I sometimes wondered why I bothered to serve.
But the truth is, my life is pretty great, and 2011 was a pretty good year for me.
For while the American people may be in an anti-federal employee mood, I still feel lucky that I get to serve the country and all that it can stand for. and I am lucky to have a job, and one which is relatively secure. That isn't lost on me when I know that members of my own family are suffering. And this year, I got paid to learn a new language, something I love doing. And I passed my test with the necessary score to qualify for language incentive pay. Which helped me not take a substantial pay cut to serve overseas.
I started my new position as the Public Affairs Officer in Tallinn. And it is better than I could have ever imagined. I LOVE my job. And I love all parts of it. I like managing my excellent staff, doing cultural events, and working with the media. I have a great Ambassador who seems to trust me and value my experience and opinion. I look forward to going to work each day.
And I live in a great city. I find this place beautiful and interesting, and I like the people here as well.
And as of Christmas eve, my family has been reunited. They all made it safely to Tallinn, for which I am eternally grateful.
So yeah, 2011 has been pretty good to me. I am looking forward to the new year with hope and anticipation, but I am tremendously thankful to have had the 2011 that I did.
And because I can, here is a picture of Oscar, the newest addition to our family (as of the very end of 2010) celebrating the new year. Or planning to kill me for putting a bow on his head. I am really not sure.