Sunday, September 26, 2010


I loved every bit of living abroad, during spring break I got the opportunity to travel to north Africa and it was amazing. I have never had such a culture shock as I did there. I am a huge history buff, so the mosques and castles all over north Africa is definately something one should check out.

After I got back to the US, I began working for the federal government in a specific department, which I will not name now. Suffice to say, I became really upset when, after all of my training and hard work, I was routinely been told NOT to do my job. Now when I say not do my job I dont mean to say I sat around and did nothing, quite the contrary, but I was deliberately told to not do the type of work that would truely make a difference in the "fight" we were supposedly in together. I can tell you for a fact people got hurt and money was lost in respect to taxpayers. I also realised that political correctness of "certain" administrations have done an incredible amount of damage in relation to organized crime and national security.

At this point, I am really sick of working for this particular department and hope that at State, I will be allowed to truely make a difference. I may be dissapointed, and I realise that, but this will allow me to at least say I made a full effort at improving what I saw as problem in the way the United States does business, domestically and internationally.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Intro into the FS and my background 2 - Italy

So, when I left, I was telling the story of my entry into the Service. I was just getting to the point of seeing a biased presentation of a foreign policy issue and which "side" I fell on, even if both were more or less equal. I instead decided to say that I agreed with neither. I do not think that random acts of terrorism against civilians are vindicated by the fact that you view you land is taken, nor do I agree with expanded settlements in Israel, although of course that side wasn't presented.

In truth, I felt that the Israeli-Palestinian issue has grabbed far more attention than it deserves. Both participants now have so many people who have been born and live their lives in these locations that the history no longer matters. Technically Israel shouldnt exist as its former pretense for being there is more than 1000 years old and Palestine shouldnt exist as it never was a country and hasnt had a unique culture or custom or language until the formation of Israel where it gained a resistance as it's culture. The reasons for the two existing are purely dependant upon one another. Israel needs overtly hostile neighbors to encourage US investment into its military and commercial structure. Palestine needs Israel to resist against or it will surely be consumed by its larger fellow arab neighbors (most likely Syria) as shown when Syria did grab a chunk of Israel. For the most part, that was my response to my professors challenge be it correct today or not that was my best go.

I was promptly failed by the professor as he refuted all of my arguments with red penned-in statements like you arent following instructions or you need to work on seeing the other side of an arguement. This is another instance of when I learned people do not like to hear what is not their truth.

Later in college that professor and I became good friends as I realised he liked that not everyone in his class was a pushover and he enjoyed the challenge. He appreciated the fact that I would stick to my guns in terms of the truth versus what his perception was. This professor later decided to take a number of students on a study abroad to Italy and I was asked if I wanted to go. I readily accepted, even though my school loans were already astronomically high from previous schools, because opportunities like this are only available when one does not have a career, or so I thought.

I studied Italian for the 6 month preceding my visit, then took a jump into oblivion. When one lives overseas, I realised that you are a complete and utter baby when you get there. You cannot buy food, ask directions or know what the hell is going on on a daily basis, you are helpless. There really is nothing quite like it and you cannot prep for it no matter how much language and culture you try to absorb before you go.

I was living with one other American roomate from my school and the owner of the apartment at the same time. I quickly learned a few things about Italian men.

1: Apparently, no one here uses or sells deoderant. That is an American thing. Showering is also a once a week deal and it is recommended to just wet a washcloth and rub down your upper torso only...........
    ----I decided to skip his advice and deal with the constant complaints of high water bills by actually using the shower. I know it was rude, but it was the one piece of American-ness I needed to keep.

2: Italian males traditionally live with their mother until they are around 40 if unmarried (as many are) and then they will generally get a place in the city but still have mom do cooking, cleaning etc.

3: They love to dress in veeery tight pants and hang out at McDonalds. It seriously looked like the 80s happened all over again when I saw this routine. I am a medium build athletic guy and absolutely nothing fit me. I felt horribly fat at 160, but eastern European knockoff clothes fit great!

Beyond getting over the new culture routines, I enjoyed every bit as it was facinating to see the incredible similarities to American living but HUGE differences as well. As I got to scooting around more of the periphery of Italy to other countries I got to really understand how much I loved discovering every new culture by country or even region.

 Example: Train is 2 hours late in Sicily
Italian man : God damn those Romans and their trains, nothing has run on time since Mussalini!
Italian woman : This one is pretty close, only 2 hours from when it was supposed to be in

Example: Train is 2 minutes late in Switzerland
Swiss Announcer : We do humbly apologise for the wait, complementary coffee service will be conducted and we hope that will make youre trip more relaxing
Swiss Woman : I want a refund, they were probably drinking too much last night.

Incredible world, more to come......

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Backstory about me and why I joined the Foreign Service Part 1

Hello everyone,

Thought I would start one of these blogs about me joining the foreign service. I am coming in from another branch of federal service in which I was displeased with how things were run (nothing as aggravating as being officially told by your supervisor to not do your job because of political correctness) so I hope this will be a good change and a way to grab a career I have always been intrigued with. First, I will give you a little backstory of myself. I only go into detail to try to give you an understanding of where I got to today to prove to those who wanted to join anything that seemed impossible is possible through a myriad of ways.

My first job I ever wanted to be when I was really young was an undercover FBI agent who drove an RV. Yes, I know that sounds odd but for some reason the ability to travel anywhere with my house seemed like a dream for me. Entering high-school, I decided to sign up for some aeronautical science course and in the process, got the opportunity to fly a plane. I decided to follow it up and perhaps being a pilot would be my calling.

I went to an aeronautical engineering college and quickly obtained my pilot's license at age 19. My family is not wealthy and the school I happened to be going to cost roughly around the same money as an ivy league one. In order to offset this cost, I joined the Army ROTC program, hoping to get a scholarship and a garaunteed job as a helicopter pilot for the military. As I have always been an incredible history buff, I took alot of world history and government electives right away. One class particularly struck me called Early American Foreign Policy taught by a professor Glenn Dorn.

He noticed my interest in foreign policy and invited me to join the university's model UN conference at Harvard and participate as a delegate for the nuclear proliferation debate where I would be representing Cambodia. The process was very eye-opening and from then on I knew I wanted to work in foreign policy some time in my life. I decided to leave that college and return to my home state to continue a degree in Political Science closer to home, if I wanted to return to the military I could always go to OCS (officer candidate school) when I was through I figured.

My first year in my new college (entering 3rd year overall), I met a very old and cantankerous political science teacher who I happened to disagree with on everything. I argued incessently throughout the class with him on nearly every topic he brought up as he was obviously a communist/socialist and slanted his teachings accordingly, of course without telling his students as such and claiming to be unbiased.

Being an independant myself, I hate it when things are taught to students in a politically biased way, be it one direction or the other. To give you an example of how he taught the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, he told us he would bring in two speakers to give us an account from both sides. Great idea I thought, this will allow students to make their own decisions with most of the facts. Well, I was incredibly wrong. The first speaker was an impassioned Palestinian youth who had since moved to the United States because life was too difficult in Gaza. He told us all about the settlement process and Israel's invasion of his people's ancestral lands and drew pictures and told his personal story mixed with a historical overview.

He did a good job and made a compelling case so I was eager to hear who the opposition speaker was. She happened to be a priest of an offset of Judaism which not only believed that Jewish priests could be women, but also lesbians, which she was. Fine, I thought, she may not be orthodox but she seems like she could hold an argument. To top it off, she was vehemently anti-Israel and agreed with virtually everything said by the Palestinian and she said that America was a slave to the Jewish lobbyist groups and that was that. And that was the end of our debate. Both sides were "equally represented" and now we had to write about which "side" we agreed with and why......

To Be Continued.....