Monday, March 14, 2011

Day one is in the bag

Dodger, Toby and I survived the trip back East, it seems. Although I may add "barely" to that. Dodger has adapted quite well although he has become extremely clingy. He's sitting on my little hotel desk with me now. Toby is pretty upset and spends his time behind or under things: the bed, the toilet, the ironing board in the closet. Poor guy. Unfortunately, I've caught a nasty cold, so really the transition from the comforts of home to the unknown world of you-know-what has been a bit rocky for each of us.

So today was the first day. I'm exhausted. Not because of the day, but because of the night and the utter lack of sleep. Toby feels coming out of hiding at night and the two of them jump on the bed, off the bed, on the bed, on my head, under the covers, off the bed etc... ALL NIGHT LONG. I'm trying to be the consumate poised professional during the day, but man, it's tough without any sleep!

I know I promised that this wouldn't be all cat-chatter, but we've been given a vague, yet stern, warning about what we say in the public forum. So many of my classmates are uncertain about what we're allowed to talk about and what will get us blackmarked in our first week. I apologize for the lack of meaty details, but this is the reason.

Today was mostly HR processing, but tomorrow we'll get to hear our bid list. The list I've been day-dreaming about since May 2009! My classmates each have different ideas of what they'd like to see, which is good, because if we all were determined to go to a particular country - a bunch of us would be sorely disappointed. I have one other Washingtonian here with me, and she brought her large dog, so we are each hoping for no-quarantine countries. Some folks have spouses in the FS already, so naturally they're hoping to go to the same place as their significant other, or at least the same country.

I did rise above my pity-party this morning when we were sworn in at Main State and given our ID badges. The speaker welcomed us into the fold and told us how we've just accepted not a job, but a whole new life. That was pretty darn cool, I've got to say.

Okay, I'll head out for now. Big week ahead of me starting tomorrow.

G'night all,


  1. Hi there! I'm starting the 124th specialist class as an OMS in a less than two weeks. So I'm reading everything I can find.

    Which isn't much! I know the official word on what you can say and what you can't is the cause but it sure is a great unknown!

    Quick question for you, if you see this, did any OMS get language training? I don't know why I'm so focus on this. I think it's just that so much is a mystery, I pick the one thing I know to worry about!

    I'm so looking forward to this.

    On to reading more of your blog rather than packing or doing paperwork!

  2. Hello Amy,
    First, congratulations! I wish you as much fun in Orientation as I had with my group. Make sure you make friends with the other specialists, too! Second, as for language training, there were a handful of language-designated posts (LDP) on my list, but all required Spanish. We had two native Spanish speakers, so they tested at FSI to prove their skills and then went straight to post. There was another with skills picked up along the way as an EFM and then there was me with only high school Spanish. I got 3 months of training to achieve a 2/2. However, we sent people to China, Indonesia and Vienna with zero language training - it all depends on the post's requirements. I was one of two in my orientation of 69 people to get training! Most frequently, OMSes will get language training for Spanish or French-speaking posts, unless they have enough people with those skills already. If it's not an LPD, they often offer Rosetta Stone or another online alternative to help you survive in the new country. But it's not quite the same as full-time training.