March 17, 2009

One Year Ago Today…

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 8:43 pm by Jenn

One year ago today was my first day of work as the CLO (Community Liaison Coordinator) at the US Embassy in Belarus.  It was an interesting first day on the job.  The Ambassador had departed Belarus the previous Wednesday, and now we were being asked by the Belarusian government to reduce our staff in the coming weeks and I was responsible for “morale” at the Embassy.  The 20 hour a week job that I was hired to perform quickly, seemingly overnight became a 40 hour + per week position.  Needless to say, I felt like a fish out of water, flailing, gasping for air, my own future uncertain.

The days and weeks that followed were no less stressful and emotionally difficult.  Our Embassy was downsized YET AGAIN and 10 additional Americans and their family members were declared “persona non grata” by the Belarusian government and asked to leave the country by May the 2nd at 3pm.

The group of us met and caravaned to the Lithuanian border as a group.  Just before the border we stopped andbid farewell to those few Americans that we would leave behind.

Today, I’m sitting in Baku, Azerbaijan, waiting and wondering again what the future holds.  Our time in Baku is nearing an end and we are waiting to hear about our next assignment.  The circumstances related to today and one year ago are totall different, but the feeling is still the same…like a fish out of water.

March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day.  In the future I may forget to wear green (though doubtful – I have my once a year sweater) but I will never forget the events that occurred in Belarus, or the friends we left behind.



  1. Heather said,

    OOOH, tell me your once a year sweater is the one I made you! (You also have a watch to match, yes?).


    No : (, it’s a kelly green one. The sweater that you made me is for summer. I get too cold to wear no sleeves this time of year.

  2. Angie said,

    I will be thinking about you in the coming days as you wait to find out where your next assignment will be.

    I will post when I find out for sure.

  3. Jessica said,

    I hope this transition is a little easier than the last. Can’t wait to see you Friday!

    This situation has GOT to be easier than the last for sure. Had a great time taking pictures on Friday. What a great day!

  4. Mom said,

    It was traditional corned beef and cabbage here. I had forgotten about the Belarus deal-only remember that we were supposed to fly on the day that you left. Can’t wait to find out where I will be going next!!!!!

    No corned beef in Baku. I don’t even remember what we had now…must have been normal.

  5. C said,

    You did an amazing job in Minsk. I guarantee, no amount of “training” could have prepared you for what was a very unique, stressful situation. You handled it with grace and we are all very appreciative of your hard work and dedication.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your next post!

    Thanks! Thankfully those situations are once in a lifetime! I’ll keep you posted (ha ha).

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