Welcome to our blog!
We are a family of three (well, five if you include the dog and cat, which we do) who is about to embark on a new adventure in the Foreign Service. My husband, S, recently got "the call" to join the 168th A-100 Foreign Service Officer class. So, come July we will be packing up everything we own here in Brooklyn and moving down to Washington, D.C for his training. It will be hard to say goodbye to all we have known here for the past 10 years, but we're ready for a change and we're excited for whatever our travel orders have in store for us.
So how did this whole thing come about, you ask? Well, it all started two years ago when S decided to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), which is a multiple choice and essay style test that is the first step to becoming an FSO. He decided to register for the test on a whim, and lo and behold he passed. But like I said, that was the first step. Next up? the QEP. S had to write five essays about his work experience, qualifications etc. He has an MFA in creative writing and has spent the better part of his life writing about one thing or another, so yes, he passed that too and received an invitation to take the OA, or Oral Assessment, which is an all-day, three-part interview in Washington D.C. By February 2011 he was heading down to our nation's capital with a skip in his step and all the confidence in the world. Only thing is, that confidence wasn't enough for him to pass. He walked away feeling utterly defeated and reported back to me (then 7 months pregnant with our son) that he had failed with a 5.2. A 5.3 was passing, so yeah, he was *this* close. So back in February 2011, we were done. No more Foreign Service. S made the decision that he wouldn't pursue it again, and that we would concentrate on settling into Brooklyn life as soon-to-be parents. Except anyone who knows S knows that once he starts something he can't and won't quit unless he gets what he wants, so yeah, he decided to go for it one more time.
By June 2011 he was taking the FSOT again...and he passed. And then he submitted his essays for the QEP, except this time the rules had changed and he had to submit six. And he passed. The dreaded OA loomed before him and he scheduled to take it in November 2011. He brushed off his previous defeat and faced it head on. And. He. PASSED! He walked out of there with a 5.4, a passing score, but still middle of the road as far as scoring is concerned. You see, passing the OA still wasn't the end of the line. He still wasn't guaranteed a job. He still had to pass his security and medical clearances (which he did in February 2012) and then get added to the Register, which ranks potential officers according to their score from the OA. Anyone with a score higher than his ranked above him, but since you also expire after 18 months if you don't receive a call, people get added and fall off all the time. The Register is like a living, breathing thing that changes frequently. Bottom line, S was added to the Management Register in late February, at which point we sat back and waited as S rose to the upper third of the Register. By April he was high enough to get a call for the July 16th class, and here we are.
We have been on a roller coaster ride for the past two years, but it's not over. There is still a lot that lies ahead. For now, we are concentrating on purging some of our things, getting paperwork sorted out, registering our 1-year old son for a new daycare, reserving our apartment at The Oakwood (where they house FSOs during A-100 and other training), mentally preparing ourselves for the inevitable chaos that is sure to rear it's ugly head, and anticipating the bid list and our future post. And we're excited. Here we go!