aaronmartz.com and annamartz.com

at your service in the diplomatic corps of the United States of America

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I passed the Foreign Service Oral Assessment!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Foreign Service Oral Assessment

I will be getting up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning and spending the whole day in an airplane from Zurich to Frankfurt to Chicago to Houston. I wish I could say my trip was purely for fun, but it's not.

I'm driving to Austin to take the Foreign Service Oral Assessment on December 15. I think I have a good shot this time, but I don't want to get my hopes up. The whole thing is a crap shoot either way - plenty of perfectly qualified people don't get in, and plenty of less-than-qualified people do.

Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Advent in Full Swing

Happiness is walking home from work on a cold winter night with a cup of steaming glühwein warming you right to your very core.

Harvest and Advent season is really neat in Bern. The season is kicked off by the one-day-only Zibelemärit, or "onion market" in the Bernese German dialect, on the fourth Monday in November. Aaron and I have been looking forward to this event since we first bid on Bern as a post. We had to get up really early in the morning - it was open at 5:00 AM - but it was worth it to see everything in the morning. I took over a hundred pictures, which you can find on my Flickr account. It's a shame it's only once a year, but I guess that's part of what makes it so special. I was amazed at how much confetti got thrown around all day and at how absolutely spotless the streets were the next day. Kids also run around with plastic squeaky hammers and hit people on the heads. Yes, it is totally acceptable on this day. I was getting into the spirit - I would just bend over occasionally so a short kid could bop me.

After the onion market, all the shops starting going all out for Christmas. The whole Altstadt is now decorated with real Christmas trees with lights attached to the sides and facades of buildings, and all up and down the streets are giants ropes of lights and stars. And Christmas treats as far as the eye can see! The smell of roasted chestnuts on the way to work in the mornings is great. I can barely control myself walking by all the bakeries with their gingerbread, cookies, and cakes. And the glühwein - which brings me back to my first statement.