Balanced Melting Pot

Get out your measuring sticks!

In Cultural Expectations, Education, Immigrant Families, Immigrant Students, Parenting, Questions, Self Image, Traditions on November 29, 2009 at 11:59 pm

image Maybe I’m getting old, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am in my life – if that even makes sense.

So, here I am about to move for  the 4th time since becoming an adult and I’m trying to figure out if I consider myself to be successful. I know that this judgment is relative to a person’s culture and experiences and only I can really know the answer, but I can’t help but to think of what my family (and friends) may have expected from me. I wrote a while ago about cultural expectations for career choices and I think that’s where this all starts.

My mom always pushed us to go far in school. Very early on she made it clear that she expected my sister and I to at least finish college. Check, so +1

Then, I made the choice to get married and start a family soon after graduating college. –1

But, then I went back to school and obtained my masters’. +1

However, I am still trying to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life. –1

Even without my very expensive education 😉 , I would know that this complex equation adds up to 0. Let me also add that I know that my friends and family are extremely proud of me – it’s the successful part that make me wonder…

One thing I know for sure is that I am happy and I wouldn’t have things any other way. I just don’t want my type A personality to look back one day and wonder if I really made use of all my talents… 😥

How do you (or your culture) measure success?

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In this episode of “Kids Say the Darndest Things…”

In Culture, Parenting, Questions, Race Relations on November 23, 2009 at 8:21 pm

On our way to school, my daughter was telling me about a teacher at her school and when she mentioned her name (we’ll call her Mrs. C.), I realized that there was a man at her school with the same last name. This following conversation proceeded:

Me: Are Mrs. C. and Mr. C. were related?

Her: I don’t think so.

Me: Why not? They have the same last name.

Her: Well, Mrs. C. is brown and Mr. C. is pink.

Me: Oh, okay.

Now, I have gone out of my way to keep her from using the societal labels of black or white, so everyone is either pink or some shade of brown. I was glad to see that her impressionable mind still hadn’t been tainted, but I also wanted her to know that people within the same family can be different shades; heck, even different colors.

So, the conversation ended like this:

Me: It doesn’t matter if they are different colors. They can still be family.

Her: WHAT!

Me: Yup. They can be brother and sister, cousins, or husband and wife.

Her: I don’t think they’re married.

Me: thinking *I’m not going to go there right now* Okay, well maybe they’re related in some other way.

Her: Maybe you’re right. I’m going to ask them today.

*sigh* I guess at some point I’m going to have a more in depth conversation with her about race. But until then, brown Mrs. C and pink Mr. C will have to do 😉

At what age do you think it is appropriate to explain American race relations to children?

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Makes sense, right?

In Caracas, Department of State, Expat, Foreign Service Officer Test, Oral Assessment, Personal Narrative Questionnaire, Questions on November 16, 2009 at 10:12 am

I guess it’s no secret that my husband and I enjoy the possibility of moving to new places; especially abroad. Back in June, before my husband’s transfer was finalized, I decided to research the process of joining the Department of State’s Foreign Service. I’m not going to go into too much detail about the process, as other candidates have done a thorough job with this already. My experience with the process has been the following:

June 2009 à Took the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT)

July 2009 à Notified that I passed the FSOT and needed to submit my Personal Narrative Questionnaire (PNQ) within three weeks

July 2009 à Submitted my PNQ’s

September 2009 à Notified that I was invited to the Oral Assessment (OA) and had 30 days to schedule

September 2009 à Picked February to take the OA

I’m sure the next logical question is: how does this all fit in to your plan of moving to Caracas?

Hmmm, it doesn’t. Well, sort of…

The plan is, if I pass the OA in February, my Top Secret Security Clearance can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months (sometimes 1 year) and given the amount of travelling I have done, I am banking on at least 6 months. That takes us to August 2010. Then, if I make it past adjudications, I will then be placed on the register waiting to be called for the next A-100 class (orientation for all Foreign Service Officers). At that point, I have the option of being asked to be placed on the Do Not Call list for up to 12 months; therefore, potentially being called off the register in August 2011. By then, we will have been in Caracas almost two years and will consider our options at that time.

Why the self-induced torture? I think I went through the process 1) for the experience and 2) to keep our options open. Makes sense, right?

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