A Whole New World…

Foreign Service Life
January 4, 2009

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Greetings Blog Readers!   Sarah Novak here reporting from beautiful, 40 degree Washington, D.C.  It’s been a crazy few days, but I’m happy to report that both Nick and I are faring well in our new life!  Here’s an update from the past few days…

We started off the New Year right by attending the wedding of D & M (above photo).  We had a delightful time dancing, chatting with friends and partaking in the Midnight ceremony.  So beautiful!  For simplicity’s sake, we stayed overnight in MPLS and then took a taxi to the airport in the morning.  We arrived in DC around 2 PM on the first and met up with my parents at the airport.  We all took off for Nick’s parents house for a night of bonding between the soon-to-be-joined families.

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On Friday we arrived at the Queen Anne’s County courthouse at 10:30 AM to be married by Scott MacGlashon, Clerk for the Circuit Court (picture with him above).  He was so delightful, sharing a story about how our future as a couple links to the history of the county!  A mere 30 minutes later we were joined as husband and wife!  It was a blessing to have both our parents there to share the moment (see picture below).  We celebrated with a lunch of Maryland crab following the wedding.

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After the lunch my parents jumped back on a plane and Nick and I were dropped off at a historical hotel in Annapolis for our honeymoon night.  I was so exhausted from the past few weeks that I accidentally took a 4 hour nap upon arrival.  My poor groom!  Despite the unusual nature of the festivities, we did manage to get in a few traditions including the cake cutting and champagne toast.

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On Saturday morning we picked up the rental car and drove up to our new home in Falls Church, VA (just north of DC).  We’ll be staying in furnished corporate housing for the length of Nick’s training here.  It’s a very social community of 2200 residents, with weekly activities including yoga, cooking classes, movie nights and sunday breakfast.  I can tell that I’m going to fit in just fine here…We had about 3 hours to get checked in before taking off for our first outing – an Ethiopian Dinner with 18 of his classmates in downtown D.C.

Let’s start with the food.  WHOA.  I’ve never had Ethiopian, but I decided to be brave since now was as good of time as ever to start getting used to unique foods.  The first thing that seemed odd was that there were no utensils given (no- not even chopsticks or anything!).  We were required to eat the meat by tearing off pieces of what looked like a wrap, but had the texture of spongy bread.  Second, there was no chicken offering on the menu.  Just lamb or beef!  When our food came it was on one giant plate per four people and you were just supposed to share.  It was crazy-fun and I ended up really liking it!  Just a sampling of what’s to come, I guess!

We had a delightful evening meeting the other members of Nick’s class.  They were so intriguing, each with a different life story.  No one seemed to know a normal language like Spanish, they were all schooled in something odd like Arabic or Russian.  So bizarre!  Two people there had worked on Franken’s campaign and one was a local food writer.  I was in heaven being my curious self.  3 hours passed quickly and before we knew it we had passed out in bed.  As we were recapping the day, we decided it reminded us a lot of being at the first day of College.  Lots of updates on backgrounds, hand-shaking, and forgotten names.  I feel very confident that we’re going to fit in nicely with this group of people.

Sunday was spent locating the nearest Target (of course!) and a grocery store.  Then it was off to a welcome reception for all the members of his class.  There we met lots more families and many kids.  Wow- I couldn’t help thinking how much harder it would be to uproot your whole family for this adventure.  We’ve still got lots to learn, but now I’m off to help Nick get set for his first day.  Thanks to all those who’ve kept us in their thoughts.

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