It's amazing to me that we're already halfway through A-100. Some of my classmates are more surprised that we still have three weeks left. It's a matter of perspective and anticipation, I suppose. In any case, the last two weeks have been a continued stream from the fire hydrant of State Department information, organization, culture, and processes.
My emotional numbness lasted until late in the second week and then somehow started to wear off. In the third week I started feeling less like a drowning elephant flailing around, which is a relief. This week, I handed in my "ranking" of our bid list, which involves marking each of about a hundred possible posts with H, M or L (high, medium, or low). And now it's completely out of my hands! The Career Development Officers will take all of my classes rankings, and their stated preferences (like, good school for kids, or in my case, opportunity to learn a language), and make post assignments.
Ranking the posts on the bid list was an interesting exercise. First, I had to learn about each post: Where is it? How big is the embassy? What do people at the post think of it? What kind of job is it? How "difficult" is it, and how dangerous? Does it sound interesting? What are the travel opportunities, ability to mix with local communities, etc? And doing this for such a large list was pretty overwhelming.
With the help of my new colleagues as well as my parents, I came up with a pretty good ranking, though, and once I submitted it, I felt a huge weight lift. Many of my colleagues report feeling the same way. The lectures and lessons are much easier and more fun to sit through now, without the bid list hanging over us. For me, it's nice to be able to become absorbed in the lessons and forget about - or at least, avoid thinking about - where I might get posted.
Socially, I've gotten together with classmates several times. Last night I organized a very successful Ethiopian dinner, attended by over twenty classmates/spouses!
All is going well... just 13 days until Flag Day...