What to blog?

I mentioned to my dad that right now feels kind of like I’d imagine it would be like to be sitting in the space shuttle on the launch platform. There isn’t a whole lot to do other than wait, knowing that there’s a lot going on in the background and that pretty soon things are going to change in a dramatic and life-altering way. I’ve toyed with blogging about the FS ever since I started and based on my experience with blogging in the past, I put it off until I had something to write about a bit more reliably. Now that I’m in, I thought it prudent to establish a clearinghouse for friends and family to follow along on our adventure.

But now that this blog has been discovered (I was actually intentionally not publicizing its existence but somehow someone else from my class found it and now I’m on her blogroll), I’m feeling that I ought to do more than just post some general background stuff. But I’m not really interested in sharing the details of the minutiae of the process, both on personal and professional grounds. I will say that I’ve got most of my initial paperwork done and will be submitting it on Monday. I’ve never had to deal with insurance and savings accounts before (in typical Japanese fashion, my wife runs our home finances here), so I’m feeling kind of late to the party in learning about that.

If you found this blog as part of your own personal search into the Foreign Service and are considering going for it yourself, if you haven’t joined the Yahoo discussion groups about the FSOT or FSOA, you really ought to. Once you make it past the FSOA there is also an A-100 group for dealing with the post-FSOA stuff but you can’t join that until you pass the FSOA. And once you get called off the register, each class gets a google group of classmates run by a group who are just finishing their A-100s who serve as mentors. The amount of supports in these electronic lists is simply phenomenal.

I’m very fortunate that the timing of my invitation worked out the way it did. I finished teaching the first week of February and have had a lot of unscheduled time since then. There’ve been a few meetings and more than a few social obligations from friends, students, and colleagues who want to say goodbye, but its been pretty relaxing and I’ve have plenty of time to pack up my office at school. Thanks to a couple of students who did a huge amount of work with me last week, my office is 95% finished. I’ll have movers in next Wednesday to cart away 25 boxes of books and supplies.

Beyond that my main priority is contemplating what to pack into my UAB. I don’t really have all that many clothes and probably can put most of them in my luggage. I’ve got shelves and shelves of unread books that I know I won’t really have time to read in DC yet I can’t find the wherewithal to prune it down to a reasonable number. I know I’ll have some time to fill since I’m living alone but I also know that a fair amount of that time will get filled by the friends I’ll make and exploring the city I’ll be in. I’ll probably take my camera equipment, my XBox, and too many books and end up using none of it. I’m still waiting to hear from a travel tech but do have my itinerary set up and talks with the home movers have begun.

Beyond that, I’m taking advantage of the time to go to tennis class as often as possible, help keep the house chores in shape, and spend as much quality time with my daughter as I can.

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