This weekend we headed down to Orissa, since we had heard so many wonderful things about the state. In two days we were able to pack in Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konark.
Konark is home to the Sun Temple, built in the thirteenth century, which resembles a large chariot with wheels.
It was a beautiful day and we were happy to start out early before the bulk of the crowd arrived. Here is a photo of others taking photos of Sicily.
After Konark, we took a beautiful drive down the coast to Puri, a popular beach town. Parts of Puri reminded me of Daytona Beach packed with tourists for Holi. We stayed to the less popular areas and Sicily was able to spend some time digging in the surf. We were accompanied by a life guard-type person, who took a liking to Alejo and Christian.
A perfect photo at the back of the Jagannath Temple. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple, so we didn't get to see the temple but the scene outside was very captivating.
Lord Jagannath and his family are representations of universal love and brotherhood, and officially now my all-time favorite Hindu deity. This is a more traditional representation of the group.
How can you not be happy after looking at this image?
After Puri, we stopped by Pipli to see the famous umbrellas with appliques.
Bhubaneswar has one of the best zoos in India, which was a hit with Sicily. She got up close to a baby elephant and
the hippo exhibit was amazing. A highly recommended trip!
Traditional Image of Jagannath from Iskcon Indore
Floating Image of Jagannath from Hotel Diamond Palace
Great pictures! It looks like a great trip!
And thanks so much for the link in the post below!
It's Friday, and that means that the Third Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up - and you're on it!
Here is the link:
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SUPER photos! I can see why the fuzzy baby elephant was a hit with Sicily. Lord Jagannath rocks, too. The colors are unreal. Thanks.
Sicily is too adorable. I always wonder, what DO the total strangers do with the photos of cute kids, anyway?
We have a friend who went to get some photos developed here, and when in the store they asked her to try on some hats and took a few photos. When she came back to get the photos, she found that she was their new advertising campaign!
Natalie, I discovered your blog the other day and it's my favorite - I read all your posts in one sitting! I definitely look forward to read more about your adventures in the future.
I was also happy that you responded to the anonymous attorney (March 27, 2009) whose boyfriend's dream was to join the FS. I could relate to everything she wrote. My serious boyfriend shares that same dream, and although I'm not an attorney with all that schooling under my belt, I do have a very promising career in public relations. I can't imagine parting with my boyfriend - it's inconveivable - but I'm also the type that enjoys being challenged in a career, and from what I've read, most FS spouses and partners are quite underchallenged. Many go from having successful careers to settling with admin work in an embassy, IF such work is available. I'm interested to get an elaboration of what you said in your response about realizing that the benefits outweighted the negatives, that the risk was worth it.
I was also wondering how long it was from the time that your husband passed the exam to the time you found out your post. My boyfriend just passed the exam (mgmt cone), with a "critical language" and military experience to boot, and although the timing is different for everyone, I'd love a general sense of the amount of time we're looking at.
Thank you again for your wonderful posts and pictures!
Thanks so much for the wonderful comment. I hope to post again soon but haven't as of late, since we have been traveling and then I have been sick - got sick in beautiful Thailand, believe it or not!
On the time to A-100, the biggest swatch of time is usually for the security clearance. It is supposed to take an average 90 days, unless there has been a lot of travel or situations that need more research. So after he passes the orals, there is a medical clearance, security clearance and then a suitability review before getting on the register. The next time obstacle is his rank on the register and the timing of the next class. So I would take a big guess that the minimum could be:
2 weeks - to start process after orals
3 months - medical and security
1 month - suitability
1 month - time to class start
about 5 to 6 months would be a very quick trip to A-100. I hope that answers your question, and again that is a big guess since many factors may influence the time it takes.
On trailing partner employment, if your career is very important to you, I recommend a heart-to-heart with your boyfriend to discuss how much each of you is willing to compromise in both of your careers. The two of you could bid on posts that prioritizes your ability to continue a career, but it may come at the cost of his career, or time apart.
It is true that the majority of positions are administrative. There is a new type of position called the Professional Associates program which aims to create more meaningful jobs for eligible family members, but they are not at every post.
I already had 20+ years in a career, so I was OK to try another stage of my life. If I was younger knowing what I know now, I would most likely try my best to be an officer also. We are very well suited to this lifestyle, so the risk of a major decrease of income and the loss of comforts found in the U.S. was well worth it. The experiences that we have had in the last two years are priceless, and I believe have made me a better person.
I don't envy the decisions ahead of you as he accepts entry into A-100. I hope this information will help. Feel free to ask more questions!
Thank you - you answered my questions perfectly! The truth is that although I'm good at my job, I don't love it and feel somewhat in a rut. I'm 27 and already am sick of office life and fear becoming a slave to the office for the rest of my life. Although I've always played it safe, the FS lifestyle, new experiences and cultures is very appealing to me, and I've always had a knack for picking up languages. I've also recently become quite interested in the public diplomacy cone, after doing some research. But of course, then there's the matter of passing all the tests. ;-)
Thank you again for your detailed response and I hope you feel better soon!
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