November 5, 2008

Proud to Be an American!

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 10:53 pm by Jenn



Today was an amazing day in American history.  One that I am not likely to ever forget.

My day started at 4:09 am.  I forgot to set my alarm, but instinctively I woke up knowing that the polls on the east coast were closing and the election results would be coming in.  You see, I am an American, but I don’t live in the USA.  I moved from the United States a year ago with my husband who is in the US military.

I grew up in the Washington DC metropolitan area and I love the energy that surrounds DC during election season.  I was sad that I wouldn’t be there to watch the map light up and listen to the comments of the local voters.  Instead I sat here in Azerbaijan in front of my computer, connected to the internet and and watched Sam Donaldson and some guy named Rick discuss the election, conduct interviews and did what I needed to do to entertain myself…I got out the colored pencils and began coloring in the states one by one as the results were announced, taking breaks in between results to announce to my husband that “Obama took Pennsylvania” and “He took Ohio too”, “Obama’s going to win this thing”.

The Embassy was hosting an election party at one of the local hotels.  We ended up arriving later than I’d wanted…we missed McCains’ concession speech which I’ve heard was very, very sincere and heartfelt.  I’ve since read the speech and it and his endorsement of President-elect Obama makes me proud to be an American. 

The party was nice, there were both American Embassy employees, American citizens and local Azeri citizens present.  The local media was also there covering the event.  I couldn’t wait for Obama to give his acceptance speech and when he arrived with his family and walked across that stage I got tears in my eyes.  I thought to myself, “Wow, this is really happening.  The citizens of the United States of America just elected an African American male to be President of the United States and I, an African American female was able to vote for him.  100 years ago this would have never been possible.”

Obama’s speech as usual was captivating.  He is such an eloquent speaker.  With tears in my eyes, I listened intently as he delivered that history making speech.  It left me and I’m sure many other Americans (and citizens of the world) filled with hope, ready for change. 

These are what I think will be quotes for the history books.

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.”

It was also interesting to watch the enthusiam of the local Azeri’s to our election process.  They just had elections here.  Their president was re-elected with 88 or 89 percent of the vote.  This is supposed to be a democratic society, but I have my doubts.  Anyway, it was interesting to watch them witness a truly democratic election, to hear them ask questions about the Electoral Vote Map and our election process in general.

So for this registered Republican, I’m proud to say that I cast my vote, I voted for Obama and I am PROUD to be an American.  For the first time in my voting history I have voted for a candidate that I have no reservations about, that I have 100% confidence in, AND who I truly believe was elected by the people and for the people.

God Bless the USA!

Now, I just need to find a frame for my map!  Oh, and if you are wondering….the picture in this post is the actual map that I colored and yes I did get a bit carried away in Alaska, it now extends in to Canada.

The only thing I feel like I missed today was George Stephanopolous…where was he?  He definitely wasn’t on


July 8, 2008

Red, White and Blue

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , at 6:02 pm by Jenn

I’m being proactive this week.  I called the Prince George’s County Board of Elections to check to see what I needed to do to get my address updated in order to receive my ballot for the November election.  If you remember I was not able to vote in the Maryland Primary Election due to an error in record keeping at the Board of Elections and I am not about to let that happen again.  The woman that I spoke to remembered me (I really did raise a stink back then), she told me that I could either mail or fax my request.  I’m going to fax and then follow up with a call.

As I was catching up on some of my favorite blogs today I came across a link to The Overseas Vote Foundation.  I clicked, I read, I’m impressed.  They have all the information you need right on this one website.  I’m using it.  Of course I’m also going to send my fax, well because I WILL VOTE IN THIS ELECTION).  Thanks Monica for linking to this site!  What a wonderful resource for us Americans overseas.

Now I realize I’m probably opening up a can of worms but here goes…

I watched a muppet video that was posted on youtube in which the American flag is displayed incorrectly.   As I was waiting for the video to load I looked at the flag and thought something just didn’t seem quite right and that led to my google search in which I found this.  Notice anything wrong?  How about this one?  Do these guys even have a clue? I mean the Muppet’s I can understand, but a man who wants to be our Commander in Chief AND “The” Commander in Chief?  Common guys!  Oh, and if you are a geek like me here’s a link to the Flag Code.

June 12, 2008

What’s in a Name?

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 1:30 pm by Jenn

Yesterday, I heard for the second time in as many days “America is not ready for a president with the middle name Hussein”.  These individuals are of course referring to Barack Obama, who like most of us didn’t choose his name, it was chosen for him.   In searching for the meaning of these names Barack, and Hussein I came across the following piece by Juan Cole.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So what does the name mean anyway?  Well, according to

Barack – means ‘blessed’ and is from African origin, a form of the Hebrew name Baruch

Hussein – means ‘handsome one’ and is of Arabic origin.

Just for kicks I looked up the names of the people who made these comments, and well I’ll just say, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.  Oh, and if you are basing your vote on the origin of a name, John is a Hebrew name as well, so sorry about your luck! 

Do people really forget that we are a country founded and established by immigrants?

Ok, I feel better know.  I’m off to get Max a haircut.

April 30, 2008

From here to Baku?

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , at 9:30 pm by Jenn

It’s been a whirlwind kind of day.  Overcast, cold and windy here in Belarus with this news coming this afternoon. 

Looks like it’s official now!  We’ll be heading for a new destination in the very near future, possibly Baku, Azerbaijan.

Not really crazy about that, but hey, at least I’ll be able to speak Russian and continue building on the language that I’ve already started.  That’s a bonus – I won’t have to stress out about asking for a bag at the market or trying to figure out what is sour cream and what is milk and trying to read labels because I can already do all that stuff!  I’ve done a little reading already and it looks like there will be a better variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available there and it’s right on the Caspian sea which likely means FISH!  Another bonus is a house over an apartment which means hopefully a yard for the little man!  I’m keeping my fingers crossed…of course nothing is for certain until I’m sleeping in a bed in Baku! 

I wonder how long it will take for me to get my stuff?

April 25, 2008

Saying “пока”

Posted in Journal, Purls of Wisdom tagged , , , , , , at 9:13 pm by Jenn










It’s Friday, but there’s no game night tonight.  There’s no one left to have game night with.  Olga did come by tonight to bring some chocolate and to say goodbye.  She’s leaving for vacation tomorrow and I most likely will not see her again. 

It’s funny, I never anticipated how I would react to saying goodbye to the friends I’ve made here in Belarus, my local friends.  It was hard.  We hugged, we exchanged emails and we said “пока”…that’s Russian for goodbye.  Of course as soon as I closed the door I was bawling like a baby!  WOW, where did that come from?

So it seems as though our time here in Belarus is coming to a close, though we still don’t know for sure.  Our host government has asked that the American Embassy here in Belarus reduce it’s American staff yet AGAIN.  With the numbers they’ve suggested it’s more likely than not that Scott and I will be leaving.  I’ve got a few more pictures to take and of course I didn’t make it to all of the places I’d hope to have visited while I was here.  I am extremely disappointed about the timing of all of this.  My parents were due to visit NEXT WEEK!

In knitting news I ventured to my LYS (local yarn stall) today and actually had a decent conversation (of course it consisted of …how much is this?  do you have yarn made from flax?  do I knit with one strand or two?  I’m making a bag, knitting, not crochet and may I have 3 skeins please?) with the shop owner….in RUSSIAN.  I was impressed with my skills and of course she was too.  Funny, that the conversation ended with her speaking ENGLISH to me.  LOL.  It always amazes me that once you really attempt to learn the language they decide that they want to practice their English on you….She would talk to me in English and I would answer her in Russian.  I ended up with 3 skeins of a cotton/viscose blend in an off white, not quite beige color.  I’m going to make a market bag.  I saw one made from linen the other day while out shopping and it was really nice.  I thought about buying it, but thought to myself….”why when I can make it”….then I thought…”Oh, my God I’m turning in to my mother”.  LOL  Now, my task is going to be to finish the darn thing before Tuesday.  I need to get it to Anya to have her put a liner in for me.  Since my time here is limited I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to utilize Anya’s skills.  She is a WONDERFUL seamstress. 

In other news, I’ve done it again.  I said I wasn’t but I caved.  I’ve decided to join the HSKS5.  Sign ups aren’t officially until next week, but I’ve been on the Ravelry group forum chatting away and it really seems like it will be more fun for me this time around.  I’m going to change houses though.  I’m going to venture to the dark side I think and put Slytherin as my first house choice, followed by Ravenclaw then Hufflepuff.  I just may be the only person on the planet who doesn’t want to be a Gryffindor!  I guess good old FDH burned me out on the red and gold!  LOL

Finally, I have to have some medical care (routine, nothing serious) that cannot be provided here in Belarus so I’ll be going to Germany for a few days soon.  I’m going to try to meet up with a Ravelry friend while I’m there.  We’re hoping to meet for beer and pretzels (and yarn shopping of course).  I have been told to pack my elastic pants!  LOL

Well that’s all I have for now.  I’ll keep you all posted on the “status” of the situation here as more information is available.


April 2, 2008

T Minus Well We Really Don’t Know and Crying

Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 10:27 pm by Jenn


Well the day is finally here.  The day when I once again get to sit amongst the cardboard boxes with my name written all over them and read the contents, varying by room of course. 

Now don’t think you’ve missed anything.  I don’t know for sure that I’m moving.  I just need to be ready to go “just in case”.  So here I am in Minsk, Belarus, surrounded by boxes, maybe, possibly moving, to maybe, possibly one of a variety of countries on the continent of Africa, India, Georgia, Sri Lanka, the Ukraine, Quantico, Va., “We’re not sure yet”. 

Um, just when do you think the best time to tell someone where they moving to would be?  My vote is for NOW!  Do you want to know why?  Well, maybe I’d like to know what to pack, maybe I’d like to get a vaccination (or two), a mammogram or even a pap smear before I head off to BUM FUCK EGYPT (that isn’t an option as far as I know, but I’ve probably just cursed myself).  Once again, I repeat – NOW would be a good thing.  Oh, and by the way, if you care at all what I want to do, I would like to go to Quantico so that I can get a mammogram, a pap smear and a JOB!  Thank you!

So now I feel better and if I haven’t scared you off with my Ativan induced babble (not really, but that may be necessary later in the week) I’d like to share with you one of the funny moments of the day:


I’m not rotating the view because I want you to experience this just the way I did.  In my kitchen is this huge boxed labeled as you see above.  I looked once, twice, three times and then this happened:

Me : что это? meaning  What is this?
Mover: Это кабинет. meaning It is a cabinet.
Me: That’s as much as my language skills would allow – Why does it say comode?
Mover: It is a cabinet with drawers.
Me: Laughing…
Mover: Looking puzzled
Me: In English, commode is toilet.
Mover: (Turning red) Are you sure?
Me: Laughing… POSITIVE!
Mover: Still red, but laughing
Now to bring you up to speed…a few weeks ago the US Embassy was asked by the Belarusian government to reduce it’s American staff to 17.  We did that.  Now we are being asked to reduce even further.  We are preparing for that. 
There’s an old saying, “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best”.  That applies in this situation.  Stay tuned…

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