Recently you may have seen some postings or heard some news about me and my family that have caused you to wonder just what is going on at the Mak household? The downsizing of houses. The last packing of lunches. Giving away belongings. What gives?
If you haven’t already heard, here’s the big reveal.
I’ve joined the US Foreign Service.
You may be wondering what that means. Here are some frequently asked questions that I’ve heard.
A: I’ll be working abroad for the State Department.
Q: You’re really going to prison, aren’t you?
A: No, trust me.
Q: Will you be a Diplomat?
A: Not directly. I am coming in as a Specialist. Which means I’m there to support the general staff in their diplomatic missions. I’m a psychiatrist and I’ll be treating US overseas employees and their families in the State Department, as well as other government organizations, like USAID, or Agriculture or Defense.
We’ve been frequently reminded this week that being a part of the Foreign Service means that we all represent the US all the time. But, we all really should be diplomats whenever we travel, right? So, I’ll behave accordingly and ask my family to do the same.
Q: How about a spy? Will you be a spy?
A: Again, no.
Q: Where will you go?
A: Right now, we’re not sure. My options are Washington, DC, Pretoria, South Africa or Jakarta Indonesia. We find out officially on Flag Day which is this Tuesday. Stay tuned.
Q: What about your family?
A: They are all on board. I wouldn’t do this if they weren’t
Q: What made you decide to do this?
A: I guess it started out as a mid-life reflection about whether I could keep doing the same thing I had been doing for the next 20 years or not. This job offers an opportunity to travel and be immersed in other cultures, as well as, serve my country in a unique manner.
Q: Your Dog?
A: It’s our plan to bring her along, as stressful as that may be for all of us.
Q: What about languages?
A: Since nearly all my clients will be US citizens, I likely won’t receive formal language training. However, there are a number of options available for language training, both before and after I depart.
Q: Will your wife work?
A: That is up in the air. Hopefully, once we’re settled into this new life, she’ll be able to find some meaningful employment. Or, at least something to keep her in shoe money.
Q: What about schools?
A: There are usually pretty good international schools available. So, my youngest will go there. My son can start college in the US and maybe work in an embassy during the summer.
Q: When will you go?
A: Well, I’m two weeks into a three week orientation training in DC. After that, I’ll have some medical training and some other classes to take.. This will go on into the summer some time. Hopefully, we’ll be on our way before the start of next school year. I may go early and everyone else will join me in dribs and drabs.