Webster's Definition of DISGUSTING ...

He hopped on the potty.

Grabbed both sides for dear life and pushed out the poopies.

Before I could even wipe his butt, he sat up and popped that thumb right in his mouth.

In the PUBLIC restroom.  The grocery store restroom.

And yes, I took a picture.  He's finally sitting the "right" way

But, who has a vat of sanitizer to lend me for the future?


FS BRU ... Where You Show Us Your John Hancock

In every Foreign Service chat group I belong, there's a specific way we sign our names to our messages ...  first and last name, along with our current and previous posts.  I love it!  Because you can see where everyone is and has been ... and decide, based upon where someone lives, whether their question, answer, or opinion really pertains to you.  

As many of us are in the midst of bidding season, preparing for holiday vacations, and attempting to reach out to our friends who are in high threat posts, I thought that now would be a good time to publish our FS Bloggers' signatures.  Most of us know where each other currently reside.  But some of us have been in the Foreign Service FAR longer than we've been blogging ... and our previous locations may not ever have been discussed. 

With this handy guide you can now reach out and ask someone about a vacation spot, future assignment, or check that a favorite restaurant from 10 years ago is still open!  You also know whether or not to take what someone says with a grain of salt ...

My request in the previous FS BRU, was to send me names / links of your blogs, how you wanted to be addressed (or if you wanted to stay anonymous), and your previous postings along with the years you served. 

And here's what we all said ... along with a mini acronym guide:

* UT = unaccompanied (without your family) tour
* ISMA = Involuntary Separate Maintenance Allowance (one gets this when their family is at an unaccompanied tour)
* SH = Safe Haven (when one stays at their overseas location while their spouse is on a UT)
* Bidding = the painful, stressful, ridiculously long wait to find out if you've kissed enough tushies and where you will arbitrarily hopefully be sent ...

The Perlman Update
Jill Perlman
NYFO (2000 - 2003), Muscat, Oman (2003 - 2005), Tel Aviv, Israel (2005 - 2008), Chennai, India (2008 - 2010), Baghdad, Iraq / ISMA in CA (2010 - 2011), DC Headquarters (2011 - 2012), Herat, Afghanistan  / ISMA in DC (2012 - 2013) and bidding ...

Sadie Abroad
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2010 - 2012), Kampala, Uganda (2012 - 2014)

Rambles and Ruminations
Linsey Crisler
Lima, Peru (2006 - 2008), Caracas, Venezuela (2008 - 2010), DC (2010 - 2013), Beijing, China (2013 - 2015)

Manila, Philippines (2008 - 2010), Brussels (2011 - current)

Email From The Embassy
Moscow, Russia (1999 - 2001), Yerevan, Armenia (2001 - 2002), Almaty, Kazakhstan, (2002 - 2004), DC (2004 - 2007), Beijing, China (2007 - 2010), Amman, Jordan (2010 - 2013), bidding ...

Well, That Was Different
Africa, Latin America, one UT, Prague, DC, currently in Vienna

Our American Family
Manila, Philippines (2004 - 2006), Santo Domingo, DR (2007 - 2009), Taipei, Taiwan (2010 - 2014)

San Jose, Costa Rica (2010 - 2012), Manila, Philippines (2012 - 2014)

Just Us
NHSO (2007 - 2009), Baghdad, Iraq (UT) (2008 - 2009), Jerusalem Israel (2010 - 2013), Kabul, Afghanistan / SH in Jerusalem (2012 - 2013), bidding ...

Tuk & Tam
DC (2010 - 2011), New Delhi, India (2012 - 2014)

The Globehoppers
Manila, Philippines (2003 - 2005), Lome, Togo (2005 - 2006), Chennai, India (2006 - 2009), DC (2009 - 2012), Amman, Jordan (2012 - 2015/6)

The Briden Bunch
Kuwait City, Kuwait (2009 - 2011), Bamako, Mali (2011 - 2012 authorized departure), Santiago, Chile (2012 - 2014/5)

Like Nomads (but with more stuff)
Valletta, Malta (2007 - 2009), St. Petersburg, Russia (2009 - 2013)

Sherwood Family Nonsense
Ashley Sherwood
Cairo, Egypt (2009 - 2011), Baku, Azerbaijan (2011 - 2014)

kitchen cables
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (2011 - current)

Heather Harper-Troje
Guinea (2005 - 2007), Malta ISMA (2007), Dublin, Ireland (2007 - 2010), Baghdad, Iraq / UT (2009 - 2010), DC (2010 - 2011), San Jose, Costa Rica (2011 - 2014), bidding ...

The Wandering Drays
LAFO (2009 - 2010), Baghdad, Iraq / ISMA in Ohio (2010 - 2011), Cairo, Egypt (2011 - 2013), bidding ...

The New Diplomat's Wife
Ania Krasniewska Shahidi
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia / ISMA in DC (2006 - 2007), Vienna, Austria (2008 - 2011), DC (2011 - 2013), Copenhagen, Denmark (2013)

Where in the World are Luca & Juliana
Sao Paulo, Brazil (2010 - 2012), Vienna, Austria (2012 -)

The Dinoia Family
Jen Dinoia
WFO (1998 - 2000), Caracas, Venezuela (2000 - 2002), DC (2002 - 2005), Reykjavik, Iceland (2005 - 2008), SFFO (2008 - 2010), Bagdad, Iraq / ISMA in DC (2010), DC (2011 - 2012), Kabul, Afghanistan / ISMA in DC (2012 - 2013), Managua, Nicaragua (2013 - 2016)

Pryor Adventures
Vientiane, Laos (2011 - 2013)

Something Edited This Way Comes
Zoe Friloux
Port of Spain (2007 - 2009) Milan, Italy (2010 - 2012), Kabul, Afghanistan / SH in Milan (2012 - 2013), London (2013 - 2016)

Sarah Novak
Manila, Philippines (2009 - 2011), DC (2011 - 2012), Lima, Peru (2012 - 2014)

Guadalajara, Mexico (2011 - 2013), DC (2013 - 2014), Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (2014 - 2016)

Shannon Mullins
Jakarta, Indonesia (2006 - 2008), Frankfurt, Germany (2008 - 2010), Lilongwe, Malawi (2010 - 2013) bidding and praying ...

A Sojourning Life
Recife, Brazil (2012 - 2014)

La Vie Overseas
Natasha Padgitt
San Salvador, El Salvador (2012 - 2014)

Dhaka, Bangladesh (2010 - 2012), Seoul, South Korea (2012 - )

Carla Runs the World
Carla Reinisch
Manila, Philippines (2011 - 2013), DC (2013), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2014 - 2016)

Schlink Attack!
Emily Schlink
Bucharest, Romania (2011 - 2013)

Here, There and Everywhere
Lydia Penrod
Cairo, Egypt (2005 - 2009), Baghdad, Iraq (2009 - 2010), Manama, Bahrain (2010 - 2013), bidding ...

Hot Pot
Chengdu, China (2010 - 2012), New Delhi, India (2012 - 2014)

Theresa Sondjo
Freetown, Sierra Leone (2012 - 2014)

A bit of trip
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico (2009 - 2011), DC, (2011 - 2012), Taipei, Taiwan (2012 - 2014), Beijing,  China (2014 - 2017)

Erica J Green - Navigating Wonderland
Erica Green
Belfast, Ireland (2000 - 2002), DC (2002 - 2006), Adana, Turkey (2006 - 2009), Moscow, Russia (2009 - 2011). Reykjavik, Iceland (2011 - current)

from the back of beyond
Eve Josar
Luanda, Angola (2011 - 2013), Santiago, Chile (2013 - 2015)

Santo Domingo, DR (2011 - 2013), DC (2013 - 2014), Guangzhou, China (2014 - )

views from a yoga mat
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (2012 - 2014)

Pulling Stakes
DC (2010 - 2011), Brasilia, Brazil (2011 - present) 

Peeps From Abroad
Jessie Bryson
Guangzhou, China (2010 - 2012), DC (2012 - 2013), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2013 - )

3rd Culture Children
Raquel Miranda
Maputo, Mozambique (2006 - 2008), DC (2008 - 2010), Recife, Brazil (2010 - 2012), La Paz, Bolivia (2012 - 2014)

Miranda Zolot
Ankara, Turkey (current)

Poppies and Polka Dots
Bujumbura, Burundi (2008 - 2009), Baghdad, Iraq (2010 - 2011), Madrid, Spain (2012)

Wanderings of a Cheerful Stoic
Conakry, Guinea (2011 - 2013), Dublin, Ireland (2013 - 2015)

Where in the World Am I?
SFFO (2006 - 2008), Bujumbura, Burundi (2008 - 2010), Hyderabad, India (2010 - 2013), UT (2013 - 2014)

Life After Jerusalem
Baku, Azerbaijan (MOH 2002 - 2004), A-100 (2004), Jerusalem, Israel (2005 - 2007), DC, DC, DC (2007 - 2011), Tallinn, Estonia (2011 - 2014)

Stumble Abroad
Ana Gaby
Frankfurt, Germany (2007-2009), Bangkok Thailand (2009-2011), Jakarta, Indonesia (2011-2014), Pleeeaseeeee somewhere in the Western Hemisphere next! ;)

If I've left you off the list, email me at thefsroundup@me.com with your information. 

The next edition of the FS BRU will be out on Friday, October 19th.  The optional talking point is ... your "dream" post.  Just as I dream about winning the lottery, most of us have also dreamt about one place we've always wanted the State Department to send us.   What's yours?

Of course, the optional talking point is just that ... optional.  Feel free to send along anything you'd like linked.  Just do so by Monday, October 15th.  Don't forget to include the one sentence blurb about your link as well.  Send it to me at thefsroundup@me.com.

Until then ...


And So, My Fellow Americans ...

We live in an insular society. Our faces, forever shielded behind our laptops, our iPads, and our smart phones. In our free time, we scroll through the news feed on Facebook hitting "LIKE" on our friend's pictures and status updates, to show our support, yet absolve us of the obligation to write a quick comment. When we do comment on something news worthy like ... a birth, new job, an illness, or death, we spend as little time as possible offering up our congrats, prayers, and blessings. Because, the reality is that we're so absorbed in our own lives that we don't notice what's going on in the world around us.

We spent the entire day Monday pontificating about 9/11/01. We remembered those who had fallen for our great Country. We told our stories about where we all were ... for most of us remember exactly what we were doing when we heard about the planes hitting the World Trade Center, or when the buildings collapsed. We can articulate how it affected us. As individuals. As a nation. It changed who many of us were.

But it's tough to care. To care means you need to put forth an emotional investment. And there's only so much benevolence to go around. We're so busy providing compassion for family for friends that to try and empathize with people we don't know in a far off land is difficult. It's overwhelming. And it's probably the reason why State Department families congregate towards each other. Like minds ...

The Mission of a U.S. diplomat in the Foreign Service is to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad. And while we all expect a certain modicum of increased security for those folks serving like my husband in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, the other personnel, sworn in to uphold our Constitution in almost every other country in the world, well, are no less important. And as we know, in countries any less dangerous. These folks, paired with The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), are on the front line helping other countries while promoting America's ideals. But unlike DS agents, the FSO's are the unarmed warriors. They're diplomatic soldiers, who understand that there are inherent risks associated with the job, yet who still go out into their foreign lands to interact and try to make the world a better place.

It's been a difficult week for the State Department. From the suicide bombing in Peshawar, to the death of a DS agent's son, from the chaos in Egypt and Yemen, a recent cancer diagnosis for a colleague, to the senseless attacks and deaths of the American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya. These tragedies hit home. They affect me. They effect us. I'm mad. And I'm struggling with the knowledge that nobody else cares. Sure, those of us in the State Department do. Officers and EFM's (Eligible Family Members) alike. But if you aren't disturbed by a lockdown in your house, a revolution in your country, if you don't have that personal connection, it just doesn't mean the same thing. Despite the irony that these are the folks fighting to uphold your freedoms and civil liberties ... which would be noticed if they were taken away.

For those of us who do this for a living, we don't do it for the recognition. In fact, most people look at us like we're crazy for living and working in some of the places we do. But we do it anyway because it's a calling.

Tomorrow, when the media headlines again return to political infighting, the chatter on Facebook and twitter dies down, people go back to pinning recipes and art projects on Pinterest and watching their reality TV, please remember and appreciate those of us serving in virtual anonymity in some of the farthest corners of the world, away from our family and friends, representing our country and its ideals. We do it so you don't have to ...

"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." ~ John F. Kennedy, Inaugural address, January 20, 1961


The FS BRU ... The Submissions Were Few. But The Stories Were Grand. And Yes, There WAS Vomit!

I MUST be longing for a little bit of travel as it took me three weeks to realize that the optional talking point for today's edition of the FS BRU is quite similar to one from many months ago. I'd say, "oops", but I actually enjoy reading everyone's adventures, and living vicariously through my friends abroad ... so we'll just chalk it up to summer insanity and my head being in the clouds after my daughter's surgery.

If you've been here long enough, you know that a majority of my family's travel stories include an over abundance of pictures, utter chaos, and of course, vomit. Frankly, it wouldn't be a Perlman family vacation without it. In fact, the first question people now ask us once we return from a trip isn't, "Did you have a great time?" It's, "How many puke bags did Sheridan use?" Which, if you read my update from my latest trip to South Bend, Indiana, was only one ...

But this week, I'm going spare you my details. I'd much rather hear about YOU. And what you've been doing and seeing around the world. With this shortened edition to the round up, I hope you'll make a visit to these bloggers and enjoy a good laugh, a good cry, and a lot of head nodding ... as we can all probably relate to their stories!

Erica's work trip through a travel restricted area of Uganda did not end as expected. Ironically, it wasn't the AK-47 wielding Karamajong that were the issue. Their failed trip left her and a group of Pokot girls who had escaped a horribly cruel tribal practice extremely disappointed.

Spectrummy Mummy is going on R&R soon and hopes that they have better luck than this! For anyone flying with children, this is a MUST read ... with tissues!

Yesterday a VERY kind US Postal worker allowed my 3 year old to use the employee bathroom after witnessing him dancing and prancing around the lobby screaming, "I have to make a doody!!!" He even shut down his window (at the Dulles USPS facility, where a lot of the pouch mail is processed) to escort us. Reading this from In Flight Movie, after our experience yesterday made me crack up!

While I love my Wegman's, just looking at this grocery store in Austria has me salivating. And it isn't JUST for the espresso bar. Hello gorgeous! As The New Diplomat's Wife shows us, sometimes you CAN go back to a previous posting ...

Chela heeds her own advice while traveling through Europe with kids in tow.

And Alexis reminds us that those with kids SHOULD at some point travel solo ... to which I loudly scream, "Amen Sista!"

Being out of India for a few years helps me appreciate Daniela's travels to Jaipur ... what fun little trips down memory lane!

Kristin's list of great FS travel stories is short (uneventful), but since she grew up a bit of everywhere, her career travel story (issue) list is long!

Ever fear of being THAT ugly American? Um ... Nomads By Nature did too. And then it happened!

Traveling with kids in the FS can often be a headache ... but as we know, traveling with animals has become quite the challenge. Thankfully Sarah's dog Scarlett made it back here relatively unscathed ...

The Foreign Service sure is a small, SMALL world ... as Lynne at Like nomads, but with more stuff quickly finds out!

Kids are resilient ... and Sara at wife-mommy-woman recognizes how lucky she really is!

The next edition of the FS BRU will be out on Friday, September 21st, and the optional talking point is ... your "signature."

While many of the participants of the FS BRU are new bloggers, it doesn't necessarily mean they're new to the Foreign Service. I thought it would be fun to see where people are located now as well as where they've previously been.

Here's what I'm looking for. Send me ...

* Your blog name (and link)

* The name you want me to use in your blog. Some people are anonymous and only want their blog name, some are okay with just their first name, and some are okay with their first and last name. However you would like me to refer to you ... be specific and let me know.

* Your current and previous posts ... with the year(s) you were there

Send this to thefsroundup@me.com by Monday, September 17th.

Until then ...

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