Flag Day

All 47 of us in the 133rd Specialist Class, are winding up our orientation this week.  Orientation for generalists is 6 weeks.  For us, it is condensed to 3 weeks.  It is the State Department’s equivalent of the military’s basic training, but in our basic training we dress up in uniforms (Suits and ties) and perform as little physical exercise as possible.  

We try to absorb all we can about what it takes to become an officer in the foreign service from how to get paid to managing others, and even effective use of the Oxford comma.  Look it up.  I did.

They do their level best to make it as interesting and interactive as possible, but really we aren’t out of our chairs much, save for a day of team building at a local park.  I was skeptical, but actually came away impressed with how they tied these activities into what we’d been learning in the classroom.  

Since Day One, in addition to learning all the basics, most of the class has been focused on where they’re headed after orientation.  We’re provided a list of open post locations and some details about those locations.  Given that, we’re sent to research posts and find out all we can about certain locations.  The housing options. The school options.  Do they accept pets? Can my spouse work?  Can my spouse even come along?  We talk with our families.  We talk with each other and at the end, we make a rank order of our choices.

All this in anticipation of Flag Day where we find out where a selection committee has placed us. Families and Friends can come watch. The staff do a great job of building suspense. There is no order to the list.  They bring out a rack with a small flag for each country offered to the class, then read off a scrambled list while projecting the country’s flag on a screen. You grab your flag, you shake a hand, you grab your folder with your travel orders and info for your future posting, and (note appropriate use of the Oxford comma here) BOOM!  your posted to……

Jakarta, Indonesia

That’s right,I’ll be in Indonesia for the next two years starting in late summer. Home of volcanoes, gamelan music and Bali!    Read more here….

and here…

It seems to be either hot and dry, or hot and wet.  Dry Season is April to September.  Wet Season is October to March.  My preliminary search for winter airfares next year showed flights from the Midwest from around $1300.  So, start saving! Hope to see you soon.

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