After two years of wondering and endless speculation of where we would be assigned if this whole Foreign Service process continued moving forward, we finally arrived at Flag Day. I felt pretty relaxed waiting for things to kick off, as DiploMom and I felt fairly certain that we would receive one of our high bids.
That relaxed feeling quickly disappeared as all the flags were brought into the room and the ceremony commenced. My pulse quickened and my mouth got a bit drier. We were about to find out where we would be living for the next two years – would it be what we were hoping for, or were we going to get a curve ball?
Thankfully the introductory remarks were very brief and we moved straight away into the post assignments. Class member names are not called alphabetically, so we had no idea when DiploMom would be called. With each post, the country flag would appear on the screen and then the person’s name and city would be announced. Relatively quickly, the Guatemalan flag appeared, but DiploMom’s name was not called. I was surprised at who was called, until I remembered that there were two posts to Guatemala City, one relatively soon and the other not until January, which gave time for language training.
So far so good, we still had our high bids available. There were quite a few posts in Mexico, especially on the border, so I held my breath each time the Mexican flag appeared on the screen. The Colombian flag appeared. Bogota was a high bid for us. Another name was called. Check that one off. Later, another Mexican flag, but this time for Guadalajara, another of our high bids. Another name called. At this point I was feeling pretty good that it would be Guatemala City, but I was still nervous there might be a curve ball.
Finally the Guatemalan flag appeared again and I stopped breathing. DiploMom’s name was called. Sweet relief!
So we’re headed to Guatemala City, and we are thrilled. It is great to finally know so that we can get ready for this next step. Since DiploMom already speaks Spanish, we’ll be headed out sometime in July after she finishes her other training classes. We’ve met some other families here at the Oakwood who will be moving to Guatemala City this summer as well, so we are glad that we will already know some families who will be transitioning around the same time.
My parents, DiploTot and I had a nice little visit to Great Falls today. The park is a very convenient 20 minutes from the Oakwood. As the name implies, the falls on the Potomac are the highlight. There are also several trails that I will hopefully have the opportunity to explore with DiploMom on a return visit.
DiploDog was able to join us as well and she had a great time getting to explore new areas. Here she is wishing she could get past the barrier and into the river for some long overdue swimming time.
This coming Friday is the Flag Day ceremony, where everyone in DiploMom’s A-100 training class will receive their post assignments. As I am feeling more settled in here at the Oakwood, and getting into a pretty good routine with DiploTot, I have to remind myself that this current setup is just temporary and that we will ultimately be moving again, but this time out of the country to foreign lands.
Considering the huge impact that our post assignment will have on our lives for the next two years, I feel remarkable calm leading up to the big day. I am sure my anxiety level will increase as we get closer to Friday, but I feel relatively good about our “chances” to end up in one of the several posts that we bid high. There is, of course, always the possibility of a curve ball, but I think those odds are a bit lower, given my understanding of the situation.
Needless to say, we’re both excited to find out where we will be headed and we are anxious to start planning and preparing for this next big step. Stay tuned for the big announcement.
On the whole, DiploDog is pretty well behaved. We didn’t too great on the training end of things, but we were masters at getting her socialized with other dogs and people – she is a friend to all. Given some of her mischievous tendencies, we have continued to be surprised at how well she has adjusted to her new life her in Falls Church. Despite her stellar performance thus far, we aren’t comfortable leaving her uncrated in the apartment when we go out. She was never left alone in our house before moving, so we weren’t going to start now and run the risk of arriving back home to chewed toys, shoes and couch pillows. It was a cool, pleasant morning when we headed off to visit a new church today, so we crated her out on our balcony.
When we got in our car after church, DiploMom had a message on her phone from the apartment management saying there had been complaints about a dog and they thought it was coming from our balcony. Our plans to grab some lunch on the way home were put on the back burner as we rushed back, hoping that DiploDog wasn’t creating an international incident with barking and yelping. DiploMom was concerned that DiploDog was in distress, while I was mad that the dog couldn’t manage to stay quiet in a crate that she likes and is quite used to for a couple of hours on a beautiful day.
We pulled into the parking lot and I got out, holding my breath that I would hear her going off. Alas, all was quiet, so I breathed a sigh of relief and headed up to let her out. When I got out to the balcony, it all became clear to me what had caused the problem. We had requested some mesh/chicken wire to be placed over the railing of the balcony to keep DiploDog from sticking her head through. I never thought that maintenance would come by on a Sunday to handle the job, but someone had come and taken care of things.
When I mentioned that DiploDog is a friend to all, it would be a bit of an understatement to say she gets excited around other people. So take this excitement and combine it with the fact that she was in a crate and couldn’t get to the person on our balcony and one has the recipe for sounds that would be appropriate for a horror movie. If one was sitting on his balcony enjoying the nice morning weather, he would have thought that DiploDog was being tortured and gutted, so I can understand why some complaints would have been received. I was ultimately relieved to discover that this was the cause and I just hoped that the mesh got put up relatively quickly so that DiploDog was able to settle back down. I have to say I am surprised that maintenance stuck it out. I would have retreated and come back another day, because it would have essentially been unbearable. We are sensitive to making sure that DiploDog doesn’t bother anyone else, so we felt bad about what had happened, but felt better knowing that there had been a specific reason for the commotion.
The cherry blossoms were not quite at their peak yet when we headed down around the tidal basin this past weekend. It was another gorgeous day though, and there were tons of blossoms peepers out and about, which made it a bit tricky to actually get a photo without clueless folks mucking up the shot. The blossoms are now starting to hit their peak, so if we are fortunate, we might get another opportunity this weekend, if we are up to braving the crowds again.
Here is DiploTot snuggled into her carrier on the shuttle bus to the Metro.