Thursday, December 24, 2009

Another XMAS in Benin....*sigh*

Greetings to all friends, family, and anyone who has found interest in my blogs. Happy Holidays to everyone in the states and in other parts of the world. I hope you are enjoying the cold weather in the states because I really miss it. I would kill to eat some snow....I've been doing it every year since I was a kid. It's a habit that I just can't break. But since I've been here, I don't have a choice other than deal without it. I miss home. A lot. Last Christmas, I gave candy to all the children in my village. NOTHING was happening there for the holidays. People were just working and chilling like a normal day. I didn't even get a bonne fete (good holiday/party)? I don't think I have ever been that depressed. I went to my house and just cried pretty much all day. Not to mention I didn't get any phone calls. Not one. Sooooooo, you know I was feeling pretty down. Maybe I will get lucky tomorrow and someone will think about me. Okay. Enough with the guilt trip and sob stories. Things are going awesome nonetheless for me. I have started studying for the Graduate Record Exam and for the Foreign Service Exam that I will be taking in March. I have decided that I want to get into the Foreign Service as an actual career doing public diplomacy, be a consular at an embassy, or do international public health. Right now I am thinking about schools to apply to when I get back. I'm looking at Johns Hopkins or the University of Maryland at the moment. However things can change before I get back. The Foreign Service Exam is INSANE. A majority of people who take the exam fail it multiple times before they pass we'll see what happens. I will be willing to take it more than once if I have to so I'm not fully discouraged. The questions in the study book are absolutely obsurd!!! Do YOU know what model plane hit the twin towers during 9/11??? That was a random question. I know it was a plane. And I know it happened in New York City. Soooo, I got the question wrong. I have been encouraged by my work partners to take the exam. So I'll give it a go. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!!!

World AIDS Day in my village on December 1st was a smashing success. Lots of volunteers came up to participate in the program. Male and female condoms were given out as well as HIV/AIDS awarness magazines and World AIDS Day t-shirts. They learned a lot and enjoyed the event. Also 200 people got free HIV testing in village that day. Also the US Ambassador was really impressed with my village and how organized things were. So things are looking good on this end. Apparently, the embassy here was so happy about it, they invited a girl from the states who works at the US state department to my post also. She came with the US embassy consulate. They were really impressed with my work in village and the consulate gave me the rundown on working for the foreign service. He was soooo helpful. I really want to do it. I really think the foreign service is my destiny. We'll see.

Yesterday, I treated myself to a holiday dinner and a silver ring. I made garlic pepper steak cooked in red wine with melted goat cheese on top. Served with a side of spinach and baked pototes. I had a split bottle of bordeaux wine from France and a big juicy mango for dessert. It was absolutely amazing. To top it off, the mother of a volunteer who I was very close to sent me a Christmas package!!! I got italian pasta sauces, scented candles (which I was always secretly envious of Steffi for getting often in her packages), cosmopolitan and trash mags (which i LOVE), tons of crystal lights and other cool stuff. That was soooooo nice of her. I needed the love. That's pretty much my update for now. Happy holidays everyone!!!!