Sunday, February 28, 2010

Red's First Entry
Well I'm finally doing it, adding the "Red" to The Adventures of Dutch and Red... You know it's funny, I have been writing blog posts for my clients for years but when it comes down to writing one for myself, I just really don't know where to start. Introductions sound silly, because chances are if you're reading this, you already know who "Red" is and living like I do with my emotions and opinions right on my sleeve, I am pretty sure you know well... And personally, I feel a little more comfortable saying my opinions, rather than writing them... they change too often to be able to be held that accountable :)

Nonetheless, I'll try to keep some focus to these, maybe cover specific topics, but that's not normally how things go, so bare with me...

As you know, a lot of things have been going on in the world of Dutch and Red... well since it's became a "world of Dutch and Red" a lot of things keep going on, and more seems to keep coming. Which by the way, is wonderful to me... I am sure I will get to a point where I yearn for quiet, stability and routine, but that's not where I am now... now I love all the ideas of new and exciting things to come .. not knowing exactly what or where things are going, but just working hard to try to make the most of the opportunities that come by. That's not to say that everything going on right now is where we want to be, but we are working to get to where we want to be, while understanding that the certain aspects of our life we would like to change, are helping us learn and grow in other ways we never thought we needed.
Actually, I believe that'll be "Red's" focus for these things (I need a point, otherwise I will just end up rambling nonsensically until not even I know what I was talking about anymore). Trying to gain experience or knowledge from the happenings of our life. That way, if Dutch and I are the only ones reading this, at least some knowledge or good with come from this blog :)

If It's Sunday, Then It Must Be Meet The Dutch

There is something truly amazing about Sundays. I'm not sure if its the brunch mentality, the morning political talk shows or the anticipation for the week to come. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoy a good Sunday.

I've spent the last week working and trying to bolster a few lagging areas I have for the FSOT. Mainly its been writing out "talking points" for different essay topics, coming up with examples for the Bio section and reviewing some grammar. I plan on taking a practice test, start to finish, at some point before the test, more to gauge the time then anything else.

My studying is starting to pay dividends. My history and trade policy knowledge is much broader now, which were my weakest points a month ago. Also, my knowledge of the constitution is pretty solid but I fret over the fact that I may have spent too much time memorizing the articles and amendments and should have spent more time on congressional history e.g. bills, major decision etc... I guess its back to the books for now.

Wish me luck!
Dutch Man

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Saturday Afternoon Post

As the days go by, the test date (March 4th) is edging ever closer. With only ten days to go, I am in study overdrive mode. I've felt my confidence increase over the last few weeks and I feel as though I am doing all that I can to prepare. I have to say it will be a welcome relief when it's over.

The FSOT has been looming on the horizon for the past few months and has devoured vast swaths of my time. The more knowledge I consume the more gaps I feel I have. It's a bit of a whack-a-mole mentality, every time I cover a new subject, more and more issues and information seems to arise. Thats quite the juxtaposition isn't it?

Red has been doing a fantastic job supporting me and pushing me to keep at it. We rely on each other so much for support, especially at this intense time in our lives. I have to say that I do enjoy the pressure. Perhaps it's the fact that I will be competing against other candidates in a truly meritocratic way. No nepotism, no bias, no partisanship, only skill and knowledge determine who moves on.

My routine, while grueling at times, has been a nice change of pace from the free wheeling Peace Corps days. Waking up early to watch the news, work for most of the day, return and study for a few hours and find time to keep Red happy. I have a deep sense of satisfaction as my head hits the pillow every night; the feeling that this is the right path for me; the feeling that through the challenge and adversity, I have the ability to rise and meet it.

Currently I am working on these subjects:

  • Memorizing the Constitution
  • Reading Diplomacy Lessons
  • Reading Global Economics and Trade
  • Reading The Economist
  • Reading Bloomberg News
  • Writing an essay every couple of days
  • Writing my Bio highlights
  • Reviewing Grammar rules
  • Playing Trivial Pursuit with Red
  • Taking practice FSOT tests
Enough with the FS compendium.

Life in the City has been a mix of emotions. I struggle to make friends and meet people that share common interests with me. Although, I have joined some of the RPCV (Returned Peace Corp Volunteer) groups in the area and met up with a RPCV from Ukraine. Being able to talk about our experiences was really a great time. Having someone who truly understands what living in eastern Europe is like made me feel a real sense of camaraderie with him.

Also, I've been working with a woman from Romania, which provides me a great opportunity to dust off my language skills. I worry about losing the language, so its a welcome treat to be able to talk with a native speaker once in a while.

That's all for now.