Monday, September 6, 2010

The Foreign Service Oral Assessment day and Son turns 2

Believe it or not, Son turned 2 this past Saturday. We celebrated with gusto with new and old friends, and, as luck would have it, with my inlaws who are visiting us for the month of September. It was a memorable affair, filled with sangria, noise, sugar and gazzilion small Matchbox cars. It was catered by Costco, that lovely haven of our consumerism. I owe them a lot. FYI--to my delight, Costco in Virginia carries wine (not so in NY, a source of eternal aggravation to us).

The night ended somewhat questionably for the birthday boy, as he was utterly incapable of sharing his cars, even with the girls. Surrounded by about 20 small cars, he would not allow ANYONE else to touch them and tried to protectively snatch and carry all of them at once. It was not exactly possible and the other kids were playing with the cars, spilling from his clutched arms, which drove Son to a frenzy. He had to be removed from the party scene and brought upstairs to the apartment with his grandparents. Good times.

I am still internalizing the news of my passing of the FSOA. It has been a long process, and it still does not appear real in my head. Let me tell you about the day of Oral Assessment without breaking the obligatory NDA. It is an intense day, comprised of three parts--a group exercise (think model UN) with 5 other nervous folk whose hands shook uncontrollably whenever they spoke, an interview with stern current FSOs, and a case management memo writing exercise, which is as daunting as writing War and Peace. The FSO hopeful has about an hour between each fun part, during which he or she neurotically swaps stories with the other freaked candidates. Once all three parts were over, all of us sat down in the waiting room, our nerves tight as Stradivarius strings. It did feel a bit like a reality show, say "FSO Survivor" and we all waiting to hear which one of us was voted off the island. All of us kept talking endlessly so as not to permit the thought of the results to enter our heads. Business cards were swapped, marriage stories exchanged, jittery giggle puncturing the air, and every single time someone would open a door, all of us would jump up in the air in anticipation. It was possibly the most nerve-racking experience of my life. Even Flag Day wasn't so intense. I was one of the last 5 people called (out of 22) and rumor had it that the last people standing were the ones that pass. I can't vouch that it is true, but most of us left in the end passed.
I will be taking a Russian proficiency test soon to boost my score--my passing score wasn't the most spectacular, I admit. So, off to hit the books again. Ugh.

7 comments:

  1. I just took the OA's this past week too and your recap is dead on! Good luck with the process.

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  2. So thrilled for you for passing! Best of luck with Russian!

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  3. @Consular--so, hwat happened? Will we be turning the FSI on its head together?
    @Daniela--many, many thanks!

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  4. CONGRATS! So happy for you! =D

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  5. Congratulations again! What a day it was.

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  6. That's awesome...congratulations!!!

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  7. Same deal, but it was just 2 of us at the end who passed. Congrats!

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