Monday, September 26, 2011

Changes to

It seems they've changed up the website which describes the job of Foreign Service Officer.
My husband and I were just glancing at the site and he remarked, "Hey look at this. The description has changed from when I first applied 2 years ago."
This from
Who We Look For
A career with the Foreign Service may appear glamorous: worldwide travel, government-paid housing, generous pay and benefits. In some instances, though, working as a Foreign Service Officer can be very challenging and sometimes dangerous. During this career you can expect to be assigned to hardship posts. These posts can be in remote locations, without many U.S.- style amenities; there can be sporadic power outages, unreliable internet service etc. Health and sanitation standards can be below U.S. standards. Some assignments are "unaccompanied," which means family members may not travel to the post with you.
That’s why it takes a special type of person to represent America abroad, to advance diplomatic initiatives to the benefit of both the U.S. and the host country. Serving as a U.S. diplomat requires fortitude, flexibility, the ability to adapt to changing situations, and cultures other than your own.
When hiring Foreign Service Officers, we look for motivated individuals with sound judgment and leadership abilities who can retain their composure in times of great stress — or even dire situations, like a military coup or a major environmental disaster.
Some of these positions are in danger or war zones and a good number involve sending officers without their families, who usually remain in the U.S. for the duration of the particular assignment.
Hardship posts are those where living conditions are considered more difficult than in the United States. Climate, isolation, civil unrest, quality of local health care, crime rate, pollution levels, and availability of spousal employment opportunities are some of the factors considered in determining which locations as designated as hardship posts.
We started laughing. A "special type of person." They want to make it clear. Special alrighty. No glamour. This is government work and your pay will be threatened to be cut weekly.
Then there was this beautiful description from Medical:
The Office of Medical Services of the Department of State determines a candidate's medical fitness and ability to serve overseas. Many Foreign Service posts are located in remote areas with extremely limited medical support; therefore, each candidate must meet rigorous medical standards in order to qualify for the required worldwide medical clearance….
….[the most isolated and restricted overseas] posts could feature extreme isolation in terms of limitations on reliable air service in and out of the country, unreliable Internet and telecommunications connections, and/or unreliable postal and delivery systems. Any of these limited services can have a severe adverse impact in terms of both bringing in required medical services and/or supplies, and/or permitting timely medical evacuations. Other infrastructure at such a post might also be inadequate. There might be a poor or negligible public health system, poor sanitation, unreliable electricity and a lack of potable water. There might also be infectious and communicable diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever, typhoid, tuberculosis, rabies, encephalitis and gastrointestinal diseases. There might be no health unit at the post and next to no local medical facilities. The emergency room, for example, might be completely inadequate, without ventilators, defibrillators, x-ray capabilities, etc. There often would be no blood bank or medical supplies or medications available locally. Because of political instability, security could be a concern.
Candidates should be aware that these posts are not few in number nor confined to a specific geographic region. Also, there are numerous other posts — in Asia and Europe for example — where conditions appear similar to that of the U.S. but which also feature some of these restrictive characteristics….
Awesome. Good thing I renewed by CPR/ First Aid and AED Training. I might be the village surgeon with my extensive 8 hour course training. Delivering babies, doing trachs with a bic pen.
So I added a bit of my own to, to keep it real: 
"You will eat bugs. And not by accident. You may have your eyes poked with sticks. Your testicles will be punctured. Your children will learn to carve bows and arrows and hunt their own dinner. You will fight with tigers (ahem). You will make cheese from squirrels' milk. You will have your house bombed by acorns. You will have diarrhea and cauliflower ear. You may lead a revolution. You may be forced to learn Danish and Dutch and German simultaneously. Your dog will know the command "duck and cover!" You will bathe with large, hairy spiders. This is no tea party! You'll have to host tea parties.  And don't think you're getting out of this without anti-depressants. Welcome to the club. Your pay is cut."

There should be a waiver at the bottom of the application process. 

"Circle if you are a damn fool. 
Yes. or No."
We circled "Yes." this morning and scheduled the OA. Damn fools.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The secret of our perseverence.

So, you all, out there on the other sides of your computer screens, know that we have been trying like crazy-cakes to get into the FS. I like to think that it's not pathetic, that we have gusto, guts, stick-to-it-iveness, that we are Troopers. That we are fighting for what we want. Because it hasn't been easy, peaches and cream, lolli-pops and oh, whatever is sweet and lovely. I fought the urge to write "hand-grenades", for some reason… anywhooo.

I hope I don't appear to be showcasing our very lameness for the world. Should I not tell the world that this is the third attempt?

We are not desperate. Not forelorn. Because we are not begging.

Oh No!

Although  I may have begged  on this very blog, on occasion, over the past 2-3 years, for Ms. Walton to pick up her phone and call… (yeah, I know, it's actually an email, pick up her… mouse, keyboard?, c'mon, folks!) But we do have a life here, with happily adjusted kids (even the middle schooler) and our friends and family actually know nothing about this whole FS quest being ongoing.

We haven't told either of our families that we are still pursuing the FS. Why get them all freaked out, again?

In fact, a neighbor said, "Remember last year, that whole FS thing? Whew, glad that's over. Glad our kids will get to grow up together and graduate from high school together."
Um, yeah. Me too. I sure do. love. it. here. (head tic)

It looks like without a CNL or SCNL, there might be no way to get called anyway. How do people afford that? Really? Heading off to Turkey? China? Should my husband quit his job? I mean really. Not gonna happen. Maybe a trip to China Palace for MaPo Tofu… MmmMmm.

Monday, September 19, 2011

QEP -- pass.

There, you read it.

My husband passed the QEP phase of the Foreign Service Officer selection process. So it's on to the Oral Assessments. (Again.) He has passed these steps twice before. Passed the OA twice before. Both times getting a 5.4 in PD. If you are reading this and have grrrrrreat study tips (hello, Tony the Tiger) pass em on. Third time, we are hoping, is a charm.

In other news, I just had a five day migraine. Five! Days! Holy bozongas! I finally went to the doctor for a shot in the a** that took care of business. I was taking everything in the medicine cabinet but to no avail. My liver was saying, "What? More advil, and tylenol, and sudafed?! And immitrex." Feeling better now though. Tip top.

So, bring on the OA.

Bring. It. On.

See, it's easy for me to say, when I don't have to take it.

Friday, September 16, 2011