So, I received my invitation to orientation/training for the US Dept of State Foreign Service today! I am really excited about it, but haven't really had the chance to process what everything means. I've known ever since I took the Russian language test and was bumped from #37 to #5 (yes, it affected my ranking that much!) a couple weeks ago that this was coming. So, that means that I've been preparing in all the ways that I could.
First, I've been trying to get my stuff in order (after all, I came back to Bismarck to go through my stuff, and I succeeded in doing just that!). Next I've been trying to figure out the logistics of moving with my cat, Gizmo. I learned recently that depending on where I go (even to just travel through certain countries on my way to another location) I would need to have an ISO compatible microchip in Gizmo. In addition, I need health vaccinations! I took Gizmo to the vet this morning and got all of that done. When it gets closer to the time to travel I will actually have to get a health certificate to take with me. I got him a microchip which was injected with a large needle (though surprisingly he seemed to feel one of his vaccination shots more than that one). More or less, I have everything in order to travel with Gizmo.
Now comes the more difficult stuff that I couldn't even begin to touch until after I received my invitation. Since I am moving to Washington DC, I have to figure out lodging (though luckily the State Dept has a contract with a company that provides temporary housing so I will not have to pay anything out of pocket for rent/utilities, and the housing is pet-friendly), I have to figure out travel arrangements, including transporting my things, and most difficult, I have to figure out when I'm going to leave Bismarck.
I told my boss today that I got my offer, and she told me that she cried after she got my message. Everyone keeps saying that they're going to miss me, and that makes me feel good and sad at the same time.
My class begins September 13. That gives me just over 2 months to get everything prepared. I don't have a lot of information/specifics on how A-100 goes (that's what they call the training class), but I've heard that it will take about 4 months. Then, depending on where I go, I may have language training that could result in my being in DC for up to a year. That's about all that I know, but I will definitely keep everyone posted when I know more!