First, after all my talk about being happy to be back in the US and back to the familiar - I'm now seeing the US through different eyes. It feels like cheating being here. What I mean is, it's too darn easy. I can form whatever sentence I want without thinking about it first. I can understand overheard conversations from the next table. I understand the driving habits. Tim and I keep finding ourselves starting sentences with, "Well in Colombia..." which I'm sure has a maximum of about four times before people stop listening. Being OUT of the country, we've become avid Colombia promoters, in fact, it's reached a point where I think the Colombian Tourist Board (if there is such a thing) owes me at least a nice lunch for all the travel recommendations I've given.
My R & R will last two work weeks, plus an extra Monday off when we return for a Colombian holiday, but it feels like I've been away for a very long time. I've been able to see a lot of family, which is good because when I leave Bogota and my OMS life for A-100 - I'll be starting from scratch as an entry-level officer. This means no annual leave during training. Two more directed assignments. Resetting the tenure clock. It will be quite a while before the next R & R is authorized.
I'm going to use this as a (shaky) segue to talk about the OMS bid list that my classmates all received the day I left for R & R. I didn't get this list from my Career Development Officer, as I'd already given her the news of my leaving the OMS ranks, but instead my FSI classmates sent me the list so I could spin the "What If" wheel and imagine what I'd be bidding on if I weren't switching over to "the dark side" (as we called it in Specialist Orientation).
So what was on the list, and what would we have chosen? Well, I don't know if I'm allowed to note the actual list, so to be conservative, I'm going to lump them together:
- 12 African posts, including one unaccompanied and my "dream" post that I jealously watched go to someone a few classes after mine.
- 7 Asian posts, including one in which we can't officially recognize the country and therefore the original Flag Day recipients got only District of Columbia flags instead.
- 6 posts necessitating Spanish skills, one for Russian and two for French.
- 6 desirable European capitals.
- A few islands that would make cat importation horrible.
- Some Middle East assignments that would get Tim over his urge to be in the sunshine again in a big hurry.
Meanwhile, a new crop of OMS hopefuls has just started to receive their invitations to the Oral Assessment. The cycle continues - out with the old, in with the new. I hope to cheer on some friends for their own OAs, and will live vicariously through their excitement as they move through the process.
Next stop: Last Month in the Embassy.