28 September 2009

Shedding the Packrat

Today I scheduled our pack-out: October 14th. This knowledge caused us great happiness and anxiety at the same time. While it is fantastic to have real dates before us after such a long, uncertain wait for the job offer from State, the reality that we have to pare down our belongings looms large. Really, its a kind of mild panic. I ask myself: "what if I need the copy of my thesis printed on acid-free archive paper?" GONE! Those letters from friends in high school? GONE! Anything of value we are giving away on Freecycle New Haven.

State does allow up to 18,000 pounds of "stuff" to be stored in what I can only imagine is a Indiana-Jones-style warehouse somewhere in Maryland. You can usually take about 7,200 pounds of that with you to each post. However, you only get access to your "stuff" each time you change post. So really, am I taking the ceramic pig I picked up in Chicago to India or Brazil or wherever we end up? No! Do I really want to put it in storage for 20 years? No! So its GONE!

The picture is our coffee table covered in random things that we can't quite bring ourselves to throw out yet. Jack, the chocolate lab, appears undaunted. All he cares is that we remember his food.

I think our pack out is a little early because my brother is about to welcome his first child to the world. We're heading to Buffalo in our Audi Allroad station wagon for a few days to give him some needed support and love, before our final destination near the Foreign Service Institute in Virginia. State only covers housing two days before the start of class, so most people pack out a little later, I assume.

27 September 2009

The Husband

This is Dave (the husband). As a spouse of an FSO, I'll have a lot to say about the process, trials and tribulations, etc. And, yes, I am completely supportive of our newly-complicated lifestyle. It's going to be an adventure however we look at it, and I'm excited.

My background: B.A. in English Literature from Tufts, Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration technically from NYU, but most coursework was done at Harvard. After all of this, I'm a recruiter in Advertising, with inclinations leaning towards interactive media. I also have a good grasp on Project Management in the interactive space, but currently am using none of my professional skills (unless coordinating our move is considered PM). I'm a native Connecticutian (or Nutmegger, if you will), with a stint of 10 years in Boston where I picked up some bad speech habits - i.e. the Boston accent. This has been marred by 6 weeks in Buffalo in the last 2 months, where I picked up the long "a" common to the Midwest (it's easier, and well, I'm lazy).

I'll be posting here and there about our time in D.C., packing out, settling our affairs in the States for a long absence, etc. You know, the fun stuff. Both Joanne and I hope you find this blog useful (or even find it in the first place), informative, funny, and overall worth reading.

More updates to come soon.

Getting the Call ( actually it was an email)

September 4, 2009 started our adventure as a Foreign Service family. I was granted security clearance after eight excruciating months of investigation and a few days later was placed on the register for eligible hires. My offer came immediately, as the State Department is currently in a hiring phase. From start to finish, the whole process took a little more than fourteen months. My chosen specialization is in the Consular Track. I start October 26th.

Our little family includes my husband (Dave), son, Aidan (20 months), and our two dogs, Jack (chocolate lab) and Neuf (beagle). I suppose managing a small child and two dogs will certainly be challenging. Luckily, my husband Dave is up for the adventure, and has supported my ambition to join the State Department every step of the way.

Right now what lies ahead for us remains a bit of a cloud. About a week ago we received a packet of complex paperwork and a guide to our move that the State Department produces (It's Your Move). Although things seem straightforward, I think every FSO-to-be finds themselves flooded with small questions/issues that are only solved with time and trial-and-error.

And therein lies the purpose of this blog. I mean it to be as informational as possible for people interested in the Foreign Service, as well as a way to update family and friends on our progress. We have to wait until October 1, the start of the fiscal year, before we can get our "pack-out" arranged. In the mean time we are opening new accounts, selecting health plans, throwing things out, and giving things away. We'll see what comes next.