I’m struggling with the fact that I have one month left in the city I’ve lived in my entire life. I’ve always wanted to live elsewhere, to travel, to not be in Oklahoma. While I still feel that way and stand by that decision, I continue to find myself going through a range of emotions. First, let me go into what exactly what we are about to embark on so you can see where I’m coming from.
Foreign service officers go to A-100 training class for approximately six weeks. After passing all the tests and getting medical and security clearances, this is the first step of starting the job. Training is located at the Foreign Service Institute just outside of Washington D.C., in Arlington, VA. Once A-100 begins, around five weeks in, you will find out where your first post is going to be. Finding out is a whole other process that I’ll write about when we go through it. After you are a assigned a post and complete A-100, the amount of time you spend in D.C. is determined by the position specific training you will need for the post, such as language. Once that time is done, off you go. You are shipped off to your first assignment. Assignments typically last 2-3 years. In addition to the other leave you earn, you accrue fifteen days of home leave per calendar year you are posted outside of the united states – typically, whatever amount you are allotted to take of that is taken all at once. Usually, you get to take around twenty of those days as home leave between overseas assignments. So, every other year I will be in the states for 2 to 4 weeks. Up to a month every other year, that’s usually it. Every few tours (every 4-7 years) we will most likely be assigned to Washington D.C. as a post typically for one or two years. But other than that, we will be living life abroad.
So with that being said, if I don’t see you within the next 30 days, chances are very, very good that I won’t see you again. That comes off a bit harsh, but it’s the truth. If you don’t make spending time together now a priority, I highly doubt I will be able to in the 3-4 weeks I’m here at a time in the future. People don’t seem to realize it’s happening and it’s happening quickly. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around their mindset, just a passing thought. I’m struggling with the fact that life is going on, everyone is going to work, myself included and going about their daily lives. It’s a weird, overwhelming feeling, to think I’m never gonna see you again, but sorry, I have to go to work today. We’re in the same city, for one of the last times ever, but we’re in different places, doing different things, so we can’t connect. But yet again, the earth keeps spinning. Everyone has their own commitments and priorities and I have to be okay with that.