Featured Blog: Quemino’s World

It’s the last day of September today.  The month wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t devote some space to featuring another blog I enjoy reading.  This month’s featured blog is "Quemino’s World," the musings of a very nice and eclectic lady I met last year at the APEC Summit in Busan (check out the November 2005 archive for more details).  Quemino is my favorite blogger name–I always thought Quemino sounded like a cool brand name, perhaps a clothing line or an upscale establishment.  Nah, in reality, it’s her name transposed in such a way that it fits her personality.  She’s a deep thinker who offers acute observations about life and leads you on a meandering journey through her life in fits and starts (she stopped blogging for awhile but returned earlier this year).  She has been all over the world, from Korea to Thailand to her former hometown of Seattle (we are fellow Seattleites), to Washington, D.C., where she now resides.  We’ll probably cross paths again when I return to D.C. next year en route to Paraguay. 
Quemino will challenging your senses with some profound observations on an diverse variety of topics ranging from squashed pennies to Starbucks coffee.  She is a "hip chick" despite letting her blog languish from time to time (lately, I have no room to talk–it seems I take a week off every two weeks).  Her lists featured web sites, blogs, and books for just about anyone.  While she really wants to do what I do for a living, she undoubtedly has a brilliant job that takes her to exciting places.  After I post this, I plan to write her an e-mail to let her know I featured her blog and hope that she will post a few new entries for you in October.  I don’t think she has enough time to do it in September!
Blog Notes:  I survived an extremely busy week last week.  I’m just starting what will be a 10-day vacation at home with my parents in town (hooray!).  I will try to blog more in the coming weeks, especially if MSN features my blog again, as one editor hinted they may do.  That would be really cool!  I would be honored, as always.

Featured Blog: Prince Roy

Prince Roy (http://www.princeroy.org/) writes one of the most interesting blogs you’ll come across on the Web.  He began blogging years ago before blogging was cool, first as a law student and then as a diplomat serving in Chennai, India and now Taipei, Taiwan.  I met Prince Roy once when he and I crossed paths in Washington, D.C.  We shared a couple beers and a few laughs before I began this blog.  In fact, I would have to say that Prince Roy inspired me to start blogging more than anyone else–he had created a cool persona and built a virtual world online in the mold of the real Prince Roy of Sealand.  Actually, Prince Roy is not his real name–he takes it from Prince Paddy Roy Bates, who founded the Principality of Sealand on a structure located 11 kilometers off the coast of England in the English Channel.
Prince Roy has led a fascinating life far less isolated than his namesake.  His blog features wonderful photos from his various adventures around the world, and he offers in-depth cultural analyses.  A devout Buddhist, he also frequently writes about his faith and how it is manifested in the world around him.  I especially enjoy reading about his personal life and how he and his wife adjust to frequent transition and challenges inherent with expat life.  In addition, he is a China expert highly fluent in Mandarin Chinese.  After a successful tour in India, I can tell that he is really enjoying living in Taiwan.  Prince Roy and I haven’t been in touch with each other for awhile, but I’m sure we will cross paths again.  At the very least, we have cross-referenced each other on our blogs.
Check out Prince Roy’s world!

Featured Blog: Editfish

Editfish (http://editfish.blogspot.com/) is July’s Featured Blog of the Month.  A self-described "collection of thoughts, experiences, insights and epiphanies," Editfish’s blog, "Tumbleweeds," chronicles one man’s quest to join the State Department as a diplomat.  His site is an unofficial but comprehensive source of information on getting into the Foreign Service.  He also offers one of the longest list of Foreign Service bloggers available online.  I’ve never met him, although he frequently posts comments on my blog and has been corresponding with me for awhile.  Lately I’ve been remiss at responding to his e-mails and comments, so I thought I would offer a peace gesture by highlighting his excellent blog and repost an outstanding comment he made on World Adventurers about the cynical cycle expats go through when they live overseas.  Read on: 

This ‘cycle’ you mention is seldom discussed, unfortunately, but it is very real.  Each individual is different, and each phase of the cycle can vary based on location, support network, culture, individual adaptability, the climate, etc., etc., etc. 

I agree with your friend’s initial observation of a euphoric ‘honeymoon period’ followed by cynicism.  The cynicism is also replaced by a ‘silent reconciliation’ interspersed with short bouts of irritation/cynicism.  As much as I love this country, I have never felt euphoric upon returning Stateside–rather, a sense of depressive sadness that most of my friends and relatives here will never share or understand my experiences abroad.  The cycle begins anew with the next country, although once or twice I’ve skipped the honeymoon period and gone straight to the cynical.  😉

As far as getting past the cynical, I’ve one friend who was stuck in that loop for over seven years, and never reconciled.  For myself, the last time took only a few months.  If you are just moving into it, I would guess you’ll be coming back out of it about time for you to go wheels up.  Hopefully, it won’t take quite that long.

The upside?  Once you’re on to the next place, you definitely recall all the positive aspects of the culture, and you will miss it terribly.


One word of caution, however.  If you enter the next ‘cycle’ (moving to another country) and try to base that experience on your current (previous) one, you may find yourself becoming cynical much more quickly–it’s an unpleasant experience.  Try (as if it were possible) to enter with as few expectations as possible.

He’s absolutely right.


Editfish has been offline for awhile because he’s been traveling, but I hope he will start posting more frequently now that he’s home.  Editfish’s latest post announced that he passed the Foreign Service Written Exam (congratulations!) and will move on to the Oral Assessment, the next step in the arduous trek to Foreign Servicedom.  Surf on over and read more of his thoughts, experiences, insights and epiphanies.  Ask him what Editfish and Tumbleweeds means.  I really don’t know, but I’ve been meaning to ask him!


Blog Notes:  m.c., thanks for stopping by to say hello.  What am I doing here in Seoul?  I arrived about 1.5 years ago and will be here until early next year, when I head to Paraguay for my next assignment.  I was helping Americans living here, but now I meet hundreds of Koreans everyday doing a job related to what Editfish is pursuing.  Thanks for reminding that life is exciting.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way, but I still pinch myself when I think about how fortunate I am to be doing what I am doing.  I was very happy to read that CNN Correspondent Anderson Cooper, writing in his 360 Blog from Israel during the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, praised the efforts of State Department officials who are working side by side with the Marines to evacuate Americans from Lebanon.  That’s our job.