One Year Later – or – There and Back Again.

Wow – it’s been a year since I updated this blog! Lots of interesting things have happened since the last time I wrote here.

To start – a year after my last post, a year after being put on the register – I got an offer to join A-100! I turned it down, which I’m sure many of you will think is crazy, but like I said – lots of interesting things have happened.

Since I last updated, I accepted a contract job at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. I set off on that adventure and quickly realized it was not the adventure I had hoped or expected.

I left said job in Colombia and left the Department of State entirely. That being said, I never lost an ounce of love for State, the Foreign Service, or Colombia. I just decided, through lots of tears, and anxiety, and tough conversations – that I needed to get away from State before I could commit to something like the Foreign Service. I have only ever worked for State. I have only ever had that professional experience. I know many people would say I should consider myself lucky, and I do! It’s just that, especially during this interesting time in American history, I needed to experience other parts of life. Experience the true meaning of work/life balance. Find myself, if you want to put it that way.

Without diving in to too much detail – my time in Colombia and as a Foreign Service contractor (not a real term but the best way to describe it) was hands down the hardest, most isolating experience of my life. I’d like to say I learned a lot about myself but in reality I learned more about the people I love and the strong support systems required to thrive in the Foreign Service. While all of this was going on, I couldn’t confidently say I had developed the skills needed to thrive overseas alone and I didn’t have the support systems in-country or back home to make living overseas long-term a reality.

I’m not sure what this means for me in the future. I’d like to think the Foreign Service isn’t a dream of my past-life but rather something I needed to set aside for a year or two, now prepared with the hard truths (and not rose-colored-glasses) of a life in the Foreign Service.

I’m registering to retake the FSOT in October 2018, with a new perspective… but the same old optimism.

I’ll keep this blog up and update it throughout the process again.

Thank you to everyone who has read my posts. Thank you to those who have emailed and commented. I’m appreciative and humbled that my words might have helped you… even just a little bit!

 


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