Sunday, September 14, 2014

Catching Up

We are finally settling in.

We started Albanian language training on Tuesday, a week later than our other classmates thanks to our TDY back to Tallinn.

Being back at FSI (the Foreign Service Institute) is like old home week. You are constantly running into people you haven't seen in years. It is a lot of fun. Less fun is the cafeteria, or as folks there are calling it, the "halfeteria." It is mostly not functional owing to construction to expand it. Of course, I have never been a big fan of the food there, so it isn't much of a loss.

Albanian is a hard language, and not one that is related closely to any other language. But thankfully, having learned Estonian, I feel pretty confident in my ability to get to the required score.

The teachers seem good and I like them. Plus, we have a neighbor from Albania who also used to teach Albanian. She said she would be happy to practice with us.

Our schedule has left a bit to be desired. Overcrowding at FSI has meant them needing to have two time blocks for students. We were originally scheduled to be in Block A, 7:40 am to 2:30 pm. But while we were in Tallinn, that got moved around because basically no one wants Block B, 10:40-5:30, and we weren't there to state our case.

Block B is objectively worse. Even as a confirmed non-morning person, the extra sleep offered by block B is not enough to make me prefer it. It means that our 30 minute commute turns into an hour or more on the way home. If you are in block A, you can make doctor's appointments for the afternoons. This is a big bonus when you have been overseas for a while. The few hours in the morning aren't long enough for that when you have a commute of any sort.

We are trying to get it changed, but I am not optimistic. So I am trying to use the time in the morning to make progress unpacking. Good grief we have too much crap! And too many clothes! We lack the drawer or closet space for most of our clothes, so our bedroom is one place where I have made less progress unpacking than I had hoped. But at least we have functional (of still cluttered) kitchen and living rooms. Both offices are progressing, and the spare bedroom will be visit ready as soon as we figure out what to do with all those books!!

Outside the house, we have installed a new patio and ordered a table to put on it. So soon we can have guests. And I have assembled a porch swing and just need to find someone to hang it. I also took down the crappy house numbers (a piece of white wood with stickers of the house numbers) and replaced it with a nice house sign I ordered.

Of course, my fear is we will get everything situated just in time to pack out again in July...

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