Unfortunately, I have once again failed to record things in a timely manner (remember this is first and foremost a record for myself), so I have a lot to recap. I’ll organize it via headings so you can skip those that seem of little interest. 🙂
I approached Flag Day with mixed emotions. Part (most) of me was quite relieved that I was avoiding that gut-wrenching suspense of waiting to find out the fate of the next two years of my life, and part of me was just a wee bit jealous of the anticipation and excitement of my classmates. Despite it not being a cliff-hanger for me, it was still very exciting to watch all of my new BFFs receive their flags. Those of you who know how much I like ‘the hook up’ (free places to stay), can imagine my excitement that I now have friends all over the world–over fifty different locations, including twenty on the same continent as me–inviting me to visit! And as promised, I feigned great surprise when they called my name; the orientation director awarded me an Oscar for my performance.
Here are a couple of us sporting our new flags with our orientation director.
So appreciative of my niece Missy and her family’s support. Here I am with her husband, George, a Foreign Service Officer, while she and the kids were my cheering squad at Flag Day. (And yes, I’m holding the Flag Bingo card upside down. It was a kind of exciting day with lots of commotion.) But I am pointing to the Burundian flag. 🙂
ORIENTATION SURVIVAL AND SWEARING IN X 3
It’s done. We made it. The members of the 132nd Specialists Orientation class have completed orientation and were sworn in last Friday. Now, for me, that was my third time to take this ceremonial oath of office. I’m not sure if they were worried the first two didn’t take, or if they just wanted to really drill it in, or if they just like ceremonial happenings. But I did it proudly, so help me God.
As ceremonies go, this one was short and sweet with a couple of brief speeches by some higher ups. At this point, we class members appreciated the emphasis on brief. Then they called each of our names and our new locations, which was a lot of fun to hear once again. I have to admit, all the ceremonial-ness was quite exciting and it made us feel really special. That and the fact that over the course of the three weeks of orientation, when we were addressed by dozens of different speakers, we heard the words “best and brightest”, “best of the best” and “cream of the crop” in every speech and presentation. Excuse me while I go remind myself of my true ordinariness. One can get carried away and forget these things…
Here I am looking all official. Or dorky. Either way.
While I was swearing, I mean, swearing in, these fabulous people were flying in a plane to visit. Despite the misleading activity captured below, we had a wonderful time.
And it was so fun to see love in all its glorious splendor!
(For those who don’t know, that’s my dear friends Lia and Grant, who were celebrating their very recent engagement with a trip to our nation’s capital.) There were loads of wonderful pictures taken, but alas! Not by me. Lia’s the photographer, so she absconded with most of the good ones.
I did manage to snap this beauty at Wheaton Metro Station. The station’s escalators are 230 feet long, the longest escalators in the Western Hemisphere. Grant timed it: it took 2 minutes and 50 seconds to ascend.
And this beauty
which my brother, Barry, was able to identify immediately when I texted it to him. (I was so impressed.) The man knows his DC sites: The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic church in the Western Hemisphere.
I guess we were going for Western Hemisphere superlatives.
I have a few more topics to recap, but I’m all blogged out for now, so the rest will have to wait for another post. Now how’s that for a tantalizing finish to keep you coming back for more?!?!