Thursday, April 29, 2010

Welcome to the Future

Before I can write about where I'm going, I need to take a moment and reflect on where I've been. Maybe it was the fact that I got my first passport when I was five weeks old. Or maybe it was because I had moved five times and visited three continents by the time I was nine. Maybe it was because I was so frustrated that I couldn't communicate with my Urdu-speaking grandmother. Whatever caused it, I have known since I was little that my life would include frequent international travel and exposure to new languages and cultures.And for the past 15 years, I have aspired to join the Foreign Service.

In middle school, I idolized Madeleine Albright as she became the first female Secretary of State. I couldn't imagine a cooler job than flying around the globe and meeting with foreign dignitaries, and my inner feminist was thrilled that a woman represented America abroad. While my teenage understanding of the intricacies of international diplomacy was minimal and a bit simplistic, I knew that I wanted to be involved in solving the world's problems and bringing people closer together. I read what I could about Secretary Albright, and when I learned she received a degree in International Relations I decided I would do the same. I lobbied my parents extensively in an effort to convince them that I must attend college in Washington, DC, and after much debate, they agreed and off I went to The George Washington University. When I received my BA from the Elliott School of International Affairs, I felt one step closer to living my dream.

Fast forward five years, and I'm sitting here in disbelief. I began the application process for the Foreign Service in December 2008, and now I'm less than two weeks away from being sworn in as a United States Diplomat. What began nearly two decades ago as a dream to travel the world, learn new languages, and explore other cultures, will become my reality in just 12 days. Although I have always wanted this, I'm not sure I ever thought it would actually happen. Thank you to everyone who believed in me and helped me to get where I am today. Without your enduring love and support, none of this would have been possible.

I don't want to sound like I'm accepting some award and I won't rattle off a list of people to thank, but I can't ignore how my story wouldn't be possible anywhere else. The fact that the daughter of a small-town Kentucky mom and a Pakistani immigrant dad could be appointed to the United States Diplomatic Corps, due solely to hard work, determination, and support, amazes me. I am so proud to have the opportunity to represent our nation and to show how anything is possible here if you just put your mind to it. I am so proud of the US for welcoming immigrants from all over the world so they can take a chance at living their dreams and providing their children with better lives (my home state's new immigration bill excluded). I think I've devoted more than enough space to this, but I want everyone to know how grateful I am to begin this new career, how humbled I am by my future responsibilities, and how I'll do my best to make everyone back home proud.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

There's a First Time for Everything

Welcome to my blog! Never thought I would actually say that, but here I am anyway. This is my attempt to keep in touch with family and friends as I settle into my new role of American Diplomat. That still sounds weird to say! I don't start at the State Department until May 10th, so stay tuned as the adventure unfolds. Enjoy!