Brasilia!

There’s a reason so many foreign service blogs end somewhere in the middle of A-100. First of all, it’s intense. You’re putting in a lot of hours, and it’s hard to absorb all the information being thrown at you. Literally, you’re in for 6 weeks of full time enculturation and job familiarization. Extremely important, but also overwhelming.

Second, you realize how hard it is to talk about the foreign service with people who aren’t already exposed to it in some way. So the above 6 weeks of enculturation…there’s so much ground to cover.

The six weeks of A-100 fly by, and at the end of the 5th, I found out where I’ll be spending my first two year tour: Brasilia, Brazil!

Am I surprised? Yes
Am I excited? Yes

Honestly, I didn’t know much about Brazil when I was assigned it, and it hadn’t been expecting it, but I think I got so lucky. It’ll be a great post for my dog, I get to learn the language, and I’m going to see a part of the world I’ve never been before. And Brazil looks beautiful!

Immediately following A-100 I had two weeks of Area Studies, when I looked intensely at the Western Hemisphere, and then, after a few weeks of online classes, I began Portuguese! The Foreign Service prides itself on its language programs, and I am excited to get to take advantage of them this early inĀ  my career. Updates on Portuguese to come!

How Bidding is Like Picking Jam

How Bidding is Like Picking Jam

There is this famous jam study. In it participants in a grocery store were presented with a selection of jams to sample, and then were given a $1 off coupon. Here’s the catch, there were two stands: one was very large with 24 samples of gourmet jam; the other was small and had only 6 samples of more generic jams. Yet, the shoppers who went to the stand with only 6 kinds of jam were 10 times more likely to purchase a jar of jam than those who tried the 24 kinds.

Choice is paralyzing…and I’m feeling that pretty acutely now as I prepare to submit my first bid list. Continue reading

T minus 12 days to A-100

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… Continue reading

Moving

Some big news in my life that should hopefully explain the lack of anything recently: I moved! I’m still living in Japan, but I’m in a bigger city (still relatively off the map though), bigger apartment, and lower rent. Things are pretty good.

Like most things in Japan though moving comes with a lot of red tape. For instance, getting internet turned on can take upwards of two months. I’ve spent the last few months frustratedly relying on my cell phone for everything and playing a lot of Pokemon. But! Luckily, as of this week, I’ve gotten internet and set up my router, so we’re back in business!