Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Our Foreign Service - 10 Years In

It occurred to me today that almost exactly 10 years ago (give or take a week; I don't remember the exact date) that D-What and I landed in Seoul -- the true start of our Foreign Service adventure.  (Yes, we had left Minnesota one year earlier for Washington DC, a place nearly as foreign as those we've seen overseas, but it wasn't the real plunge.)

I clearly recall finding a K-Pop radio channel during the flight to Seoul and doing my best to remember my favorite song: 자~엉덩이 by 원투 (video here).  Much to my delight, one of the local staff on D-What's newly-joined team knew what I wanted and told me I could find it almost next door to the embassy at Kyobo bookstore.

From there, we made some great friends with some of the best people I know (shouts out to Bumsuk, Jane, Soojung, Jongsol, Jaewon, Jinyoung, and Hoonjung).  That assignment was full of awesome.  We traveled around many parts of Korea, and managed some excellent trips in the region as well.  We found gamers in the Foreign Service (Bryant, Tom, Doug, and Jules) and had a decent Dungeons & Dragons campaign (if I do say so myself as DM).  I made some awesome friends over Saturday morning games as well, though sadly I've lost contact with Go Kyung Oh and the rest of the crew, as Koreans tend to change their e-mail accounts frequently.

D-What's second directed assignment was back in DC, so that doesn't really count.

For the third assignment, we were excited about Beijing and what China might offer, but it didn't go nearly as well as we had envisioned (based on our time in Korea) -- though we did leave there with two pretty neat little guys.

And unfortunately the timing of bidding on assignments and learning about promotions is backward in the Foreign Service, so instead of taking it (relatively) easy in Barbados for assignment #4 we're here in Ethiopia for a job that was intended to get D-What a promotion that it turns out she got right *after* getting the Ethiopia assignment.  So for this stretch between promotions (there's a block of time you can't be promoted after getting one) we could have been on the beach in the Caribbean.  Ah, well.

So here we are, 10 years after touching down in Korea.  We're bidding right now, and I have my fingers crossed that we get something we really like again.  I'm still optimistic, but these last two assignments have taken their toll.  Maybe I'm just weary from dealing with difficult places, but I hold out hope for more of that magic we found in Seoul.


ShoNuff said...

I'm pulling for you to get a winner:)

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