Sunday, January 29, 2012

Another Foreign Service Badass?

Well, not really… or at least not yet but I did pass the FSOA (Foreign Service Oral Assessment). And that’s a good thing because I was not looking forward to telling my Facebook friends and my FSI classmates that I didn’t make it or to writing another epic fail blog post. So don’t misunderestimate the power of peer pressure, people, it can do wonders.

I was, however, drafting two blog posts in my nerdy head as I was getting ready for the FSOA: the dreaded epic fail one with just a hint of sour grapes thrown in for good measure and the one in which I get the Foreign Service Badassery Award  (What, there isn’t one? Well, there should be.)

… and I thank the Foreign Service Badassery Academy (No Foreign Service Badassery Academy either? What’s up with that?)

… I also thank my family… and Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god of intellect and wisdom and a famous remover of obstacles…

If you think I wasn’t carrying a small statue of Ganesha (a gift from my thoughtful husband)  in my pocket during the FSOA, you clearly don’t know me well enough. It looked like this:


In my head, I accepted my Foreign Service Badassery Award at a lavish ceremony wearing a gorgeous saree and I looked smashing… Ahhhhh, girl can dream, right? But I digress…

So, anywhoo,  I passed the FSOA but my Foreign Service Badassery (don’t you just love this nonword?) while tested, is still conditional at this time, as in after passing the FSOA, I got a conditional offer of  appointment as a Foreign Service Officer. In order to become a full-blown Foreign Service Badass Officer (US Diplomat), I have to pass security, medical and suitability clearances. Those are a series of investigations to determine that I am not an unsavory character in any way and that I am medically fit and can be trusted to represent the US overseas. I am pretty sure I will ace the medical clearance (let’s hope I don’t jinx myself by saying that). That’s because I have one from when Paul went through the process. The other two investigations take a while – anywhere between a few months and a year and a half depending on the person’s background and history. In my case, the fact that I was not a US citizen until a few years ago complicates things but I used to have a Department of Defense secret clearance for a job a couple of years ago, which should speed things up a bit. We’ll see.

But wait, there’s more. After I pass those investigations successfully, I get to hang out on the Register before I get “the call”, which is actually an email. I will write about those events as I get closer to them, so stay tuned.

In other news, our departure to New Delhi has been moved up from sometime in May to early April, which means that we really need to start working on our diplomatic passports, Indian visas, school applications for Her Cuteness, vaccinations, pack out and all that jazz. We were hoping to visit my family in Bulgaria on the way to India but that may not be possible because Paul can’t use his vacation right now. His new boss asked him to go to New Delhi early because they are a little understaffed over there and the busy season is about to begin. Plus, Her Cuteness will not be able to finish the school year here, which is giving me a little heartburn. The last time we moved, it was right around the same time (late March) and things fell through the cracks in her new school. I was hoping to avoid that this time around but with the early departure that may not be possible. Unless we come up with some other creative solution. Again, we’ll see.

Hindi is going well. It’s still hard but we may just learn it. When I say learn it, I really mean get a good foundation to build on once we get to India. I am truly enjoying it though. I have learned so much about India since I started studying Hindi, which of course could mean that I was just very ignorant before we started Hindi. I can’t get enough Indian food, Bollywood movies and music. I think Indian history is fascinating (though sad at times) and the sarees – gorgeous. I can’t wait to visit all those places we talk about in class. I have decided that I am going to love India and I’ve never been there. I know India’s not perfect but I really look forward to getting there, taking it all in and enjoying it despite the crowds, pollution, poverty, etc.

And lastly, a few friends have asked me to provide more detail about my experience at the FSOA and how I prepared for both the FSOT and the FSOA. I will do that as soon as possible and share as much as I can without violating my nondisclosure agreement, so you’ve got that to look forward to.


  1. Congrats again! I'll be curious to hear what your plans are. Joining up before the next post?

  2. I don't know yet, Alex. It would depend on how quickly I get through security clearance and suitability review. My OA score is also not very high, so I'll definitely need the Hindi bonus points. Even with them, it may be a while before I get called, if I get called before I time out. If it's within a year of when Paul starts in New Delhi and they have a space for me there, I may join ASAP. If not, I may defer for a while and try to catch up with Paul in the next bidding cycle. It's all up in the air right now....

  3. Passed the OA on your first try while busy with Hindi (and kids)? You're a badass indeed!


  4. Great job! Congratulations! I hope you like India as much as I have. It's a challenge, but mostly it's a lot of fun over here if you just go with the flow.

  5. you are so awesome! and with your hindi, you can basically pick your class, I think! good for you!


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