Archive for May, 2007

Getting out and about

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

This has been another fun week. Two of our sessions were at Main State in Foggy Bottom – we sat in a huge room that made me feel like I was at the UN because of the microphones at the table, interpreting booths in back, etc. Another day we went to offices on Capitol Hill, which was fun. Who would have thought I’d be running around Washington (and getting paid for it)?!

We also did several social things this week: a Washington Nationals baseball game with a group of classmates last weekend, a happy hour one night after work, and games at another classmate’s house another night. We also had a couple of really good meals this week, including Malaysian food in Dupont Circle (beautiful night sitting outside on the rooftop).

We love federal holidays now, since we get them, so we are enjoying a three-day weekend for Memorial Day!

Going to The Woods

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Our class spent three days this week at The Woods, a rustic resort in West Virginia, for team-building (exercises involving things like teeter-totters, ropes, etc. and lots of alcohol at night). John and I were split up into separate groups, which included separate rooms (I was in a house with 7 other women), separate dining schedule, etc. It was a great time to spend time with some classmates we hadn’t really had a chance to talk to yet.

We had a reception the first night where we practiced going through a receiving line, mingling, etc. The second night was lots of fun – our Follies Committee put on a show. John had been working on the Follies for many nights since we’ve been here and the show was a big success. He had a solo singing about the trials of coming in mid-career, sung to the tune of “Send in the Clowns.” His prop was a box of brown hair dye. He really did a great job!

Both nights there were after-parties – this is definitely a fun-loving group! I left before the dancing started, but heard reports that John was a big hit on the dance floor.

Last Saturday, we went to brunch at Kramerbooks with some classmates, then took the Metro to Union Station (beautiful). We walked past the Capitol and on down the Mall, spent some time at the National Archives, and topped everything off with a drink before heading home.

Sunday morning, Chris Karber and his wife Ahyung took us to brunch in Georgetown. For family members, Chris is Donna’s son – he is also a Foreign Service Officer, currently assigned to the Angola desk in DC. I hadn’t seen him since he was 6 years old or so – it was great getting acquainted with him and his wife, plus we got to pick his brain about the Foreign Service. Hopefully we will get to spend some more time together while we are both here.

Sunday night was a cookout with our classmates who are staying here at the Oakwood with us, which is becoming a weekly tradition for us.

A couple down the hall from us fed Noodle and Flavia while we were gone – I think the cats were glad to see us when we returned. Flavie seems to be getting out a little bit more, thank goodness.

Made it through Week 2

Friday, May 11th, 2007

So today completes Week 2 of our A-100 (Orientation) class! It was a big week because we turned in our “bid lists,” our list of preferences for our first posting. John and I selected the following posts as our highest preferences: Mexico City, Honduras, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Brazil. Second choices were other posts in Mexico (border towns), India, China, Korea and Africa. The Mexico City post is interesting for us, because it would give John an especially good position there, but honestly, we’d be pretty happy anywhere. Our bidding process was a little different from that of our classmates because we could really just bid on posts where there were at least two job openings.

We met with our Career Development Officer this morning, and were pleased with her comments — primarily because she felt like our bids were sensible and gave her a lot of work with.

Our little group of folks staying here at the Oakwood Apartments got together for a BBQ mid-week, which was a lot of fun. We plan to do it every Sunday night from here on.

The cats are doing fine. Noodle is just a dream cat, and Flavia is coming out from under the bed more and more – although any little thing still spooks her and sends her running back under the bed. But she is getting better, bless her little heart!

Drinking from the fire hose

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

We have completed Week One of the A-100 Foreign Service orientation class – it was incredibly busy and wonderful! We’ve had a week of interesting speakers, many of whom are very inspirational about our new career. The seriousness of it all is starting to sink in, although it still seems like a dream.

Our class is made up of 77 people. We’re not the oldest nor the youngest. Many were attorneys in their previous lives and many have one or more advanced degrees in things like International Relations – it’s pretty humbling. About half the class is single. John and I are the only married couple in the class – something which seems to fascinate our classmates (“How did you do that?”).

There have been several social opportunities since we’ve been here: a welcome party Sunday night before our first class, a happy hour on Thursday, and a Cinco de Mayo party later this afternoon. Everyone seems really friendly and nice, and we are all anxious to get to know one another, especially since we are reminded a lot about how small the FS community is and how we will run across these folks down the road.

The apartment is fine. We take a shuttle bus to school and back everyday (“school” is the Foreign Service training campus), which is good because we had to put the Volvo in the shop today (something just keeps killing the battery, despite the new battery we put in Monday night, grrrr).

Noodle loves the new pad. His favorite new spot to sit is on the cabinets up above the refrigerator. Little Flavia is still most comfortable under the bed, although she does come out in the mornings and some at night, and sleeps with us at night.