After eight months in the non-immigrant visa section of my post (plus one month temporary assignment to Monterrey), I have hit the watermark of over 10,000 served. And by that, I mean visas adjudicated. I remember when I was in training at FSI, ConGen, and we all had to do mock interviews at our "windows" complete with characters, crazy plot lines and disguises, and after completing about eight of these interviews, each lasting probably 20 minutes, I felt so proud. And then I read a blog from a Consular Officer leaving her post in Hermosillo, Mexico where she talked about adjudicating X-thousand of visas in her two-year posting. It sounded like an impossible number to reach and I couldn't imagine ever attaining it. But now I'm there, and it really wasn't that hard. In fact, there wasn't a day that I dreaded going in to work - really. And if I was ever lacking energy, just the act of walking through the Consulate grounds en route to my little window, alongside the waiting areas where the applicants stream in, all pressed or curled, perfumed or cologne'd, kids woken up early to make the 7:45 appointment time - and I realized how important my role is. They've put in everything for this interview, they deserve my 100%. It was always as easy as that.
Now that I'm feeling confident and comfortable in my spot, able to train others and answer questions with some degree of certainty - I get my walking orders to move over to the next rotation. I'm due to move to the immigrant visa section in a matter of a few short weeks. The steep learning curve will begin anew. I'm excited because as a Consular-coned officer I want to soak in as much experience as possible in my time here before being sent off to who-knows-where. I want the "trifecta": IV, NIV and American Citizen Services (ACS) as a minimum before leaving Juarez. They say that if you can work on the border, you can work anywhere because our cases tend to be the most complicated due to the border being such a, well, such a "living thing" with people coming and going, family members on both sides etc... I am excited to absorb every little bit.
It was just yesterday that my A-100 class challenged each other to write "Day in the Life of..." journals to share with each other describing what our lives and works are like now, more than one year past the end of our times together at FSI. Some people have completed their first one-year assignment and are back at FSI in language training; others are 50% through their first tours; and a few have only just arrived at their first post. When I read what my classmates are doing, I can't help but think that the all-knowing powers that be (fate?) truly picked the right spot for us. A better place could not have been chosen for me and I am enjoying every day of life here.