Sunday, May 1, 2011
Since Friday, I've been busy 1) processing, 2) celebrating, and 3) researching (yes, vibrant members, that was a public speaking joke). But now it's time to write out the story of that great day.
Flag day was phenomenal. While our coordinators did their best to keep us occupied and entertained all morning, it certainly didn't help to distract me from the afternoon's event. I was literally dancing around FSI, getting out all the pent up energy I had before it started. Mom and dad came to watch, and after getting them situated and answering a last minute question from my mom on, of all places, Sudan, I took my seat in between two of my closest 160th friends.
Luckily, both these seat-neighbors had been warned that I would be doing an anxious thigh-grab on them as each flag went up, and they got what I promised had been in store. The fun started when our CDOs filed into the room with 3 big racks of flags. Instantly we started analyzing them, trying to see what was and wasn't there, trying to find the flags we wanted to be handed. After a delayed guest arrived and introductions were made, the fun began. Flags and colleagues began to be called, and it was surreal to see my own Flag Day finally unfolding. Only about eight flags in, a second Sudanese flag popped up on the screen (the very first flag called was the other Sudan post, given to an awesome colleague who I look forward to working with). When it flashed on the screen I felt a twinge of... apprehension? anxiousness? I'm not sure what it was, but as the flag came up I thought "wow, this might be it".
In all honestly, I hadn't given Khartoum much consideration. It would be a great post, but since it was only Arabic language designated at a 0/0 I had thought it unlikely: they would either send me to an Arabic 2/1 post, or to a Spanish post I assumed. How wrong I was, because a second later the presenter announced my name and the Sudanese flag was in my hand.
I had about a minute to think about it as I collected my folder, waved to my parents, and took my seat. Then it was back to the fun of the event- my friend on my right side literally squealed and jumped out of her seat when she was called for Riga, my left-hand friend was clearly in shock at getting Geneva. It was so exciting to see all of my classmates get their assignments after getting to know them for 5 weeks. It's hard to believe it's only been 5 weeks, because with each flag, I knew if that was what he or she wanted, it that would be good for his or her family.
All in all, I think the CDOs did a pretty great job at giving people posts that made them happy. So far I've only discovered a couple people who were clearly disappointed in their assignments. A lot of people were confused at how they ended up with a certain flag in their hand, but more than anything people were uber-happy.
I'm still wrapping my head around Sudan. It is going to be such an amazing time to be there, getting experience in my cone, in the heart of one of the biggest focal points of the international community. Sure, I'll have to deal with the drawbacks of limited mobility and nasty weather (but hopefully I'll come back with a nice tan). But besides that, I think this is going to be AMAZING. I'm hoping to get some more info tomorrow on what to do next. Right now I just want to get it all moving! Who needs another week of A-100 when I have to apply for a diplomatic passport, contact my embassy, and pack up my life over the next two months?!!