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A-100 ended on Friday and while I will really miss my colleagues, I’m pretty excited to not have to sit through 1,000 PowerPoint presentations every day.  The swearing in ceremony on Friday was really cool and I know both my parents and my in-laws really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, our trip to the beach in New Jersey was cancelled because of Hurricane Irene, so my in-laws left quickly after dinner to drive back up to their beach house to rescue family heirlooms and to loft the furniture on cinder blocks to try to save it from the inevitable flooding.  My parents, husband, and I spent Saturday holed up in our apartment, going a little stir crazy with all four of us tripping over each other in our 800 square foot apartment.

Sunday was lovely, however, and we spent the entire day at the Natural History Museum looking at rocks.  My dad really, really likes rocks and gems.  I think he spent 2 hours in the gem and geology exhibit and he was definitely one of those people taking pictures of things in glass cases.  It was adorable, and not just because my dad is generally adorable, but because the things he found most interesting were in the cases most people just blew by: shale samples, malachite variations, weird hybrid rocks.  He’s not much of a city person, so I’m pretty sure the trip to the museum was his favorite part of the trip. I am sad that my parents leave tomorrow, but we had a great time and I am excited for them to come visit us again sometime.

So far in this blog, I’ve mostly talked about how to get into the Foreign Service and what happens during A-100.  But I’m sure many of you are curious to know what happens now that I’ve got my first assignment.  You may have noticed that I don’t leave until April 2012 so there’s a fair amount of time between now and then that has to be filled somehow.  Enter the Foreign Service Institute.  For the next 6 months, I’ll be spending my days in an intensive set of courses that includes Security Overseas (which started today), Spanish language & Mexican studies, a course on consular work and immigration and visa laws and regulations, and a course affectionately referred to as “Crash Bang” which will prepare me for some of the dangers I may encounter in Cuidad Juarez.  I start Spanish on Tuesday and I am really excited to get started!  I am also going to try to get on a regular blogging schedule but I won’t be able to work that out until I have a better understanding of my Spanish course load.    I am also open to suggestions on topics you want to know about or questions you have so if you think of something please let me know!

Adiós por ahora! (Thanks google translate!)