It’s hard to believe that there are less than two weeks until I begin A-100. Less than one week before movers come and put everything into boxes and I move into a hotel. 10 days until I begin the drive from Boston to Arlington. 11 days until I move into my new apartment. In some ways these past few weeks, while I’ve been floating in the amorphous time between school ending and work beginning, have seem interminable; in others they’ve flown. The magnitude of this is still sinking in. I could be starting my career; this could be the last weird transition time I have in decades (with the exception of home leave, which is a lovely perk of Foreign Service life I’ll discuss in a few years when I get to take benefit of it).
So, with so little time remaining, am I ready? Let’s see…Yeah, I think I am. I’m a planner. I’m so Type A, that I feel as though I’ve never met a Type A person…everyone looks laid back in comparison (oh, that doesn’t cast a very flattering light on me, does it?). The upside of this is that, things are pretty much ready. I still have a few loads of laundry to do, and a bunch of moving things around to get stuff ready for the movers, but I can’t do that for another couple of days.
So what have I done to prepare for A-100 in the last few weeks?
- I’ve found a dog walker for Tolui
- I’ve signed up for a local foods service in D.C. (I’m a big proponent of the local food movement)
- I’ve arranged to get my hair cut next week, a few days before I start
- I’ve taken passport photos
- I’ve ordered food and medication for Tolui to be shipped to my new address
- I’ve had Tolui’s vet record sent to her new vet
- I’ve found a dog trainer and signed up for a manners class for Tolui
- I’ve adjusted Tolui to the walk schedule she’ll have once I’ve started working
- I’ve signed up for zipcar so I can get around in D.C.
- I’ve also looked up schedules for the FSI shuttle and the train to Main State
- I’ve had my suits dry cleaned
- While at the dry cleaners, I had some work pants hemmed and work dresses altered
- I’ve spent hours parading around my house in work shoes to break them in
- I’ve organized my files
- I’ve sorted all of my books by genre for ease of storage
- I’ve donated every item of clothing that I have put on and decided not to wear three different times this year (this has been an ongoing process)
- I’ve washed my winter coats to prepare them for storage
- I’ve inventoried everything I own and created lists sorting them by storage process
- I’ve completed all the items that State has requested
- I’ve collected contact information for important people from my life in Cambridge and reached out to see them a last time to say goodbye
As you can see, many of my efforts are focused on Tolui, so non-pet owners will have it quite a bit easier. In my opinion, besides the things needed to ensure your family (or in this case my dog) are set up for a successful move, the most important item is the last.
Entering the foreign service means entering an itinerant lifestyle. It is on us, as the ones who are always leaving to make sure that we keep our human connections strong. Before I left Cambridge, I wanted to see the people who mattered most to me one more time (if I could). Since many of my cohort had already left the area, I made sure to get their permanent, personal email addresses as well, so that I can keep them in my life even when we’re far away.
Figure out a way that you prefer to keep in touch with people and start doing it. If you’re a handwritten card person, then do that; for me, this blog for more frequent updates, and a personal email newsletter once or twice a year, are what works. Ultimately, the best way is whatever works for you.
Next update: pack-out? hotel life? my attempt at cutting Tolui’s hair?