Three days remain of the 153rd A-100 training. I imagine everyone’s heads must still be spinning from the infamous flag day ceremony on Monday. I am certainly a member of camp vertigo, if not its chief of operations. It’s a ton of information to digest in a small amount of time. My mom and stepdad are en route from Battle Creek, MI, slated to arrive this evening. Snakes’ family arrives tomorrow and Friday morning. All are here for the formal swearing in ceremony taking place that afternoon. My intention was to cook up a “post-themed” dinner-cocktail party for Friday evening. Imagining tapas and paella with a crisp Albarino if Madrid was announced, maybe some sort of pulled pork tacos with fresh warm corn tortillas, cilantro and lime with citrusy margs if Mexico City, or some version of BiBimBop if Korea was our destination. I’ll admit to not having a plan for Luanda. How exactly do you ferment cornmeal paste and do you think I can get that rollin’ before Friday?
Before leaving the house Monday afternoon, I seriously considered having a glass of wine, even poured one, but then decided against it because I wanted my wits about me entirely. I regretted this puritanical decision almost immediately upon arrival at the FSI as the pre-ceremony anxiety was as palpable as it was infectious. I settled in next to my fellow spouses, pouring over my high-lighted and dog-eared copy of the bid list, reminding myself to breathe. Ceremony under way, FSOs going up to collect their flags, excitement, disappointment (?), confusion, relief. When Snakes’ name was called as the Angolan flag flashed across the overhead projector, a mispronunciation made me hesitate to understand what I was hearing.
“Wait…. that’s me. I mean him. Wait a minute- What? Where did they say?”
“Luanda, Angola. Did you guys bid that one high???”
Yes. Yes, we did. Our rationale: we are so delighted to have this opportunity, to be members of the FS community, to serve where ever we are needed. (I know it sounds nauseatingly altruistic, but bear with me here). We’ll learn to speak Portuguese fluently. We get to stay in DC until February which means holidays with families and more time to get “Project: Bun in the Oven” up and running. Snakes will get his “consular” rotation out of the way (which I believe all FSOs must do within the first 5 years). Those logistics all look great.
Now for Luanda in particular… I have MUCH research to do. I just got an email from Amazon letting me know that my big sis has 3 books about Luanda/Angola/Africa on their way to us. (Thanks lady! You’re the best.) I look forward to discovering some non-biased information, instead of the post reports I’ve come across which seem a little hot headed and emotional. I know it’s going to be very expensive, but so are DC, Paris, and Manhattan. I’ve survived those, pocketbook still intact. I think the important thing is to not be afraid of what I don’t know. And if it turns out that I am required to defend myself against pythons and aggressive backyard weeds with a machete, you, my friends, will be the first to hear of it.