Yes, friends, it's true: I have given into temptation and bought myself an iMac. And let me just say, it is beautiful. Light poured forth from the box and angels singing in chorus descended from the heavens when I opened it. My Compaq laptop sulked in an out-of-date, poorly designed fashion in the corner while I ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the goodness that is Apple. I am a convert. Though there is something faintly disturbing about a computer that comes with a pack of logo stickers. Who actually puts Apple stickers on their belongings? Will there come a time when I am willing -- even eager -- to do so? Have I given myself over to something more insidious than I realize? (It is a very seductive piece of machinery; you should see the way the light pulses while it's in 'sleep' mode... I kept expecting it to ask me to play a game of chess...)
In other news, my packout is complete as of yesterday. Which means, if you're following, that the lovely and expensive new iMac purchased over the weekend is now back in the box, happily winging its way to Japan, and not to be seen again for at least a month. Still, there is something so wonderful about living in an empty room, and I am feeling remarkably placid. It's not at all how I thought I'd be. The State Department has done its best to assist in this new-found halcyon condition by offering five days of 'consultation time' prior to departure. In theory, one should use these days to carry on highly informative conversations with various Main State contacts before going to post; in practice, this is not all that helpful for someone going to her first post to fulfill a pretty standard consular role. I have no idea what to even ask these highly informative people. So, instead I'm using consultation days more for their unofficial secondary function: as time to take care of various niggling administrative stuff. Like packout, for instance. And doctors appointments. And vouchers. And probably a whole host of other things I won't remember until the last minute. (Though I'll be posting an organized pre-departure list in not too long, to assist those of you who might need it.)
Portuguese ended with a whimper, and I'm doing the best I can to flush it from my system and recapture some semblance of my past Japanese glory. The last thing I need is to be spouting a lot of 'Bon dia! Tudo bem?'s while I'm bowing to the Japanese FSOs. To that end, I've set aside a couple of Japanese books to read on the plane. We'll see how it goes. I should probably try to re-memorize a few of the Japanese consular terms, too. Maybe I'll do that during my remaining consultation days. Maybe.
*I know buying an Apple is really more nerdy than dorky, but 'Becoming a Nerd-herder' didn't have the same ring...