A-100 began, and I had something to do already

(Still in recap mode)

Diplowife started her A-100 class a couple of months ago, which was very exciting for both of us.  But more exciting for me was Spouse Orientation, on the Thursday of her first week at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI).  Spouse Orientation was a day-long event where spouses of the officers-in-training come to FSI to learn all about our role in the foreign service, and how this new lifestyle works.

We drove to FSI together, even though there’s a free shuttle from the nearby Metro station.  I recommend not driving there, as traffic in Arlington is really bad, especially at rush hour.  Your spouse basically walks right in, but the spouses have to go through security like at the airport, and get a flimsy visitor’s badge.  Once in, you have the run of the place, but there’s not much time to wander.  FSI resembles a small college campus, park-like with brick buildings dotting the landscape.  It’s easy to get lost.

Once inside FSI with my visitor’s badge, I went to the orientation classroom and joined about 25 or so spouses there.  Surprisingly small group, given Diplowife’s A-100 class had nearly a 100 people, but I think a lot of spouses were still living back home, wherever that may be.  I forget sometimes that “local hires” like ourselves are the exception, not the norm.  We spent an hour or so getting to know each other and breaking the ice.  There were a large number of foreign-born spouses in the group, which is apparently pretty common in the foreign service.  There were more husbands than wives in my class, and most of us were child-free.  I expected a lot more wives, and more people with kids, but again, they might be too busy to come to orientation.

The day consisted of  a series of talks given by various foreign service officers, FSI employees, EFM’s and foreign service specialists. They covered a lot of interesting and important topics.  We learned about how to research where we’re going, how to get there, how to find work (or not), and how to go to the doctor once there. We got to visit the Overseas Briefing Center, kind of a mini library where officers and EFM’s can research different posts they might be assigned to.  I read up on Chinese and Mexican posts, because those were the most likely places we would go.

Orientation exposed us to a lot of important info, so I’m glad I went. It was good to meet the other EFM’s, we have our own community, alongside the officers’, and it’s a good idea to get started early.  The orientation was run by some terrific people, EFM’s mostly, and it helped ease my anxiety about joining the foreign service.

Plus, it was fun to see the place Diplowife spends most of her waking hours, and the people she works with.


First post, new blog

I feel like I should post something clever and memorable here, for my first post.  But, waiting to come up with something like that could take a while.  So here we are.

I created this blog because the Foreign Service blogosphere is lacking somebody like me: the childless trailing husband.  During the weeks and months leading up to Diplowife’s new job I looked all over for bloggers like me, trying to find guidance.  I found a lot of good advice and information, and lots of blogs dealing with issues related to children and other topics not relevant to me, so here I am, trying to contribute something, and hopefully help other guys in my demographic.

To summarize things so far, my wife and I moved to DC in 2012, to kick off her post PhD career, hopefully in the Foreign Service, but she would have been happy in several other places.  As it turned out, she got the call in February 2016 to join up, and away we went.  Since then she’s graduated from the A-100 training class, and is currently in training for the job she’ll do at her first posting.  After that training comes the language training, so we’re not going anywhere for a while.

Meanwhile, I’m still working in the IT racket, up in Gaithersburg, the slightly rednecky DC suburb.  I’ll probably stay working here until we have a couple months before shipping out, then I’ll try to get into an introductory language class so I won’t be completely unprepared.  I’m also looking into job and career options once we get to post, which is a very complicated topic.

So for now, welcome to my new blog, and I hope it’s useful and/or entertaining.