BlogNotes: I’m Back and Feeling My Placelessness

Florida Redbelly Turtle Pseudemys nelsoniImage via Wikipedia

After 3 hours in traffic, 3 hours waiting at the airport, 14 hours of flight where my poor body was twisted, folded, crumpled and suffered from WBRS (whole body restless syndrome in the economy section), 4 hours of waiting in another airport (this one offers oxygen aromatherapy, manicure-pedicure, anti-jet lag facial skin care, and massages — be stone for $150, be happy chair massage for $67 and for just $30, a bikini wax—I skipped!), and another hour on the road, I finally got home. I left on a Friday and got here on a Sunday; in the most ungodly hour just when the bars were closing down and drunks were steering themselves happily home.

I’m not going to this again; I tell myself that after every trip. Yeah.

It’s been harder especially in the last two years. All this traveling is hard on the body that is growing older everyday, of course; but I think, it’s also harder on the psyche. I almost forgot my Friday flight. That has never, ever happened before. Truth to tell, I was not ready to come back …

…from the best, golden weather in the country to the hottest, most humid summer weather in the universe (pardon the hyperbolic slant).

… from wide, open roads, and hills, and mountains to flat lands and narrow streets where parking on both sides of the street is the norm.

… from huge, green parks where folks walk their dogs and clean after them, to postage sized, semi-brown parks where scoop the poop is a concept from Mars.

… from a place where drivers treat pedestrians courteously to a place where drivers treat pedestrians as inconvenience or worse, road hazards.

… from a place where tolerance and diversity is part of our continuous search for perfecting the union to a place where “the other” is almost always the enemy (and it’s taught in grade school as history).

… from the place where all my catalogs come to life, to a place where your best friend is called Amazon and you go on shopping dates online. (I’ll miss Trader Joe’s, Target, Vons, Albertsons, Pollo Loco, Ross, Costco, Cinnabon, etc. etc.)

Seriously, I seem to be feeling more deeply the absence of a home rooted in one place, accruing slowly like a coral reef. One does feel occasionally like a turtle carrying his home on his back, suffering from placelessness. As Wallace Stegner writes in The Sense of Place, “acquainted with many places, he is rooted in none.”

Is it just me or are you feeling it, too?

Sorry, not the most cheerful post-vacation entry, huh? I know I should have done that anti- jet-lag thingy at the airport. Some sleep should perk me up!?

DS (Domani Spero as in “tomorrow … I hope?”)

Thanks to Diplopundit friend Giasone for the name; I got tired of “DS” being confused with Dept of State, Diplomatic Security, Doctrine Sponsor, Deep Space …

US Embassy Rangoon: Postscript to a Tour

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“The chargé d’affaires and the DCM provided strong leadership to Embassy Rangoon on policy and program issues during a period of Burmese political crisis and intensified U.S. policy focus. They engaged heavily in the design and successful implementation of very imaginative small grants and public diplomacy programs, and the chargé communicated effectively in shaping U.S. policy. However, leadership and management of the mission by the chargé and DCM have been inconsistent and have failed to provide necessary communication, coordination, problem solving, and fairness to foster a genuine sense of teamwork.”

Inspection of Embassy Rangoon, Burma (ISP-I-08-36A)
Excerpted from Office of Inspector General Semiannual Report to the Congress, April 1, 2008 to September 30, 2008 | PDF

Officially In: Mary Jo Wills to Port Louis

Map of MauritiusImage via Wikipedia

On July 28, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Mary Jo Wills to be Ambassador to the Republic of Mauritius and to the Republic of Seychelles. Official bio released by the WH below:

Mary Jo Wills is currently the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs since January 2009. Prior to that, she was Country Director for Southern Africa Affairs from August 2007 until January 2009. A career member of the foreign service since 1980, Ms. Wills has also been the Office Director of the Africa Bureau’s Economic Policy Staff from 2004-2007, an Economic Advisor in the Economic, Energy and Business Bureau from 2003-2004, and Deputy Principal Officer in the Milan Consulate from 1999-2002. Ms. Wills has also held positions in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Mexico and Niger.

Ms. Wills received her bachelor’s degree from Chatham College, a Master’s degree from the National Defense University—National War College and a Masters in Business Administration from Virginia Tech. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Virginia Tech.

* * *

If confirmed, Ms. Wills would succeed Puerto Rican businessman, Cesar Benito Cabrera. Mr. Cabrera who was also executive director of the GOP in Puerto Rico was appointed US Ambassador to Mauritius and Seychelles in 2006.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 7-28-09

Confirmed: Marshall, Powell, Gips, Irving

The following nominees for US Ambassadors were confirmed by the US Senate on July 31st:

Capricia Penavic Marshall, of the District of Columbia, to be Chief of Protocol, and to have the rank of Ambassador during her tenure of service.

Nancy J. Powell
, of Iowa, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Director General of the Foreign Service.

Donald Henry Gips
, of Colorado, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of South Africa.

Earl Michael Irving
, of California, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the
United States of America to the Kingdom of Swaziland.

CONFIRMATIONS — (Senate – July 31, 2009)
[Page: S8637] GPO’s PDF