If you’re like I was, you know essentially zip, zero, zilch about the foreign service. You know that whole diplomatic immunity thing? Well, that’s what Mark gets because he is a Foreign Service Officer, or Diplomat. I, on the other hand, get a diplomatic passport without the painful process of a long application because I’m what they call an Eligible Family Member (EFM).
There are lots of blogs out there that talk about A-100 Class, so I won’t bore you with a description of that. I’m also still not entirely sure what they do in A-100 class. I’ll just tell you the not so juicy details of how we found out we would be moving to Manila. During the first or second week of A-100 the class gets a list of cities around the world – not countries – which taught me I really don’t know geography. You bid places high, medium, and low, but there’s a restriction on the number of posts you can put in the low category. Needless to say people try to strategize, who knows if that works, because every post is on the table. Technically when someone joins the FS they commit to worldwide availability.
After weeks of waiting everyone in A-100 and their families come to an auditorium for a “fun” ceremony to find out where exactly they’ll be headed: Flag Day. I woke up fairly nervous that day, then again it was also my last day at my job before starting a post-bacc program. Looking back, ending my job the same day as flag day sounds like a recipe for disaster. Luckily, Mark’s good friend joined me at the ceremony which calmed my nerves almost completely. It could have been catastrophic though, because the two of us were little scoundrels standing in the back of the room narrating each post. A flag would pop up on the screen and Mark’s friend would either inform me that I would really want to go there or that it would be HORRIBLE. He then realized countries could be repeated and it may be disastrous to tell me it would be a crappy place to live only to find out that’s where we’d be headed. That thought only stopped him for about two flags though. Thankfully every time the Filipino flag came up he told me I’d be happy there, so our debauchery didn’t end in misery. Once we couldn’t joke about how tremendous or awful places would be flag day was a bit less interesting. I spent the remainder of the time thinking about the fact that I don’t know many flags. In case you’re wondering, this is what the Filipino flag looks like:
So, I’d say flag day was a success – mostly because of Mark’s friend. I had forgotten that we ranked Manila high, which means I probably wouldn’t have realized it was a good thing without the narrative. I’d have spent the reminder of the ceremony googling Manila. Actually, I did do that, but only to research the awesome beaches. Seriously, google it, there are over 7,000 islands.
So there you have it, that’s why we’re headed to Manila.