So I’ve now been here for 28 days and somehow it feels longer and shorter all at the same time. Here are my (random) thoughts on living here, starting a new job and other things:

-I have started Russian lessons (I get them at the Embassy for free) and even though I’m only 3 lessons in, I already feel a bit better about being out and about. I can’t understand it, but I can at least pronounce it.
-I have the Russian vocabulary of a very small child, so speaking it to fluent Russian speakers is intimidating. However, I’ve been using it to my advantage. What better way to practice my knowledge than trying to speak it with everyone I can? driver that gets me in the morning? Driver that takes me home in the evening? Mailroom guy? Check, Check and Check.
-I’m trying to learn Russian in a better way than I’ve tried to learn Spanish in the past. I’m actually studying and I’m making an effort to use it in my everyday life and to practice it anytime I can. If I speak it all the time, it won’t be so intimidating when I’m trying to speak to have a conversation. If I keep repeating words (like yelling at the koshka), then I’ll remember and associate them easier. For now, it’s working.
-Everyone has been very helpful even though I sound like a 2 year old.
-I celebrated my birthday last week and actually had a great time at dinner with 2 other couples. People like us and actually want to be around us... it’s nice.
-The driving here is still crazy.
-I ‘lost’ my housekeeper to another family that was going to employ her full time. I was/am very salty about it. She spoke some English! She loved my dog! She was a cleaning machine! But alas, we had to let her leave. Luckily, I was able to find another lovely lady who speaks better English, loves the animals and I’ve heard can cook. I am definitely enjoying this part of Foreign Service life. I was lazy in the states, now I can just afford to pay someone to clean instead of being a slob.
-I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the support system here (the Embassy) when I arrived. This place is intimidating.
-I had really bad culture fatigue 2 weeks ago. Hit me like a ton of breaks. I had a pity party all weekend about it. It’s just so difficult to do things that are usually very easy. Finding your way around, stopping by to get some bread, just communicating in general. But luckily, that has subsided a bit.
-Tashkent Tummy has struck our household. We’re going on week 2. I think this time it was self-inflicted instead of restaurant-inflicted. Glad we’re going to have a housekeeper to clean our produce now, because I have failed.
-I oscillate between feeling useless at my job and wanting to make my boss let me do more. It’s frustrating.
-I hate paying $10 for a jar of Mayo. Commissary: My saving grace and worst bad habit.
-They shut down cell service here from 8am to 2pm one day because universities had exams. All you could do was make calls. No texts, no data.
-Between the post differential/COLA kicking in, finally being reimbursed for travel expenses and reduced living expenses, we’re finally making a dent in the credit card bill. Hallelujah. I can see us being mostly out of debt by the end of this tour and it’s going to be GLORIOUS.

We’re probably going to take vacation in January/February and while we want to visit family in the US, we also want to go to somewhere that’s warm and has a beach. Since it may be logistically difficult to go to Thailand while going to the US on the same trip, we’re debating about hitting up the Virgin Islands or somewhere in the Carribean. Anybody have any suggestions? My requirements are: beach, warm in january, relaxing and hopefully speaks some English.

I’m sure I could go on and on, but overall I’m enjoying it.

Feel free to post what you want!