Every single day I make a “To Do” list. And every single day, on top of the list is “Blog Entry”. And every single evening I come home with no (as in none, nada, zero) brain cells still functioning. Members of the 132nd Specialist Orientation Class, as we are so proudly called, have come to refer to this pervasive phenomena as “Death by Power Point”. You’d think it wouldn’t be that bad to sit in a desk for eight hours a day, listening to people present topics of varying interest to you. But trust me on this one: It’s. That. Bad.
The Good News is we’re two weeks down, and one to go. And the other Good News is that sometimes we get a break. Like last week when we had two inches (you read it correctly: two inches) of snow and we had a, you guessed it: Snow Day. (But it really wasn’t much of a break. It just meant that when we reconvened, the speakers talked faster to cram it all in.) And the day we had the security briefing and the presenter brought all manner of surveillance equipment, including belt buckle and ink pen cameras, and business cards with bugging devices. And Friday, when we rearranged our schedule to accommodate a guest speaker coming to the Foreign Service Institute. Kidding aside, getting to see and hear Colin Powell was definitely the highlight of our orientation thus far.
But the end is nigh! This Tuesday is the much anticipated Flag Day ceremony where we are all presented with the flags of our new home countries. Fortunately for me, I already know what mine looks like, but I promised to look surprised! Then Friday we have the final swearing in ceremony, signifying the formal end to this section of the process. Whew.
Following the swearing in, I’ll return to the MED building and resume my MED specific training, which includes classes like Weapons of Mass Destruction/Bioterrorism and two days of Parasitology, which I’m sure will prove to be interesting. (I had a short introduction to this topic already. While discussing all manner of disease-causing bugs, I asked the Infectious Disease doc about schistosomiasis, which I had heard is in the water in Lake Tanganyika. He said, and I quote: “Oh don’t worry about that. The hippos will get you before the schisto does.” Good to know.)
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Randy, having spent a week here in DC soaking up all the spousal orientation stuff he could take in, is frantically preparing for the move, which may end up coming sooner rather than later. His trip here was worthwhile, though, as he arrived as The Reluctant Spouse, slowly transformed into The Semi-Reluctant Spouse, and left officially as The Formally Reluctant Spouse. Progress, I’d say. 🙂
And now I must bid adieu, as sleep deprivation and eight hours of power point do not good bedfellows make, so to speak. Until next time…