I went down to FSI today to do a couple of talks. I spoke first at the Portuguese Department about Brazil. This is probably that last time I will give a full-out lecture in Portuguese. My audience was colleagues almost done with their Portuguese language studies and about to go on their assignments. The other talk I gave was to PAOs headed out to their first posts as PAOs. I tried to give realistic advice, with the caveat that my experience should be taken in the context of Brazil, which is special.
FSI has changed and improved. They have created nice environmental spots you can see in the photos with lots of tall grass and natural looking rain gardens. I liked the cedar meadow. This would be typical of an old farm field in Northern or Central Virginia in the early stages of natural succession. This is one of my favorite stages, so full of dynamism and potential. I really don’t much like manicured lawns and I am pleased – maybe a little surprised that State Department has adopted the more raggedly natural approach.
I rode my old bike down to FSI. It feels off balance, but I will get used to it again. It is faster than my bike in Brazil and comfortable. In fact, of all the bikes I have ever owned, this one remains my favorite. I bought it back in 1997 and put more miles on this bike than any other, mostly on the same W&OD bike trail. I look forward to many more miles.
BTW – W&OD has also improved. They now have signs on the road and cars are stopping at the crosswalks.