What Happens After Flag Day

I know some of you out there are just dying to know, What happens after Flag Day? Turns out you're in luck, folks, because I'm going to break it down for you. Because I'm awesome like that.

First and foremost, you lose your mind. No? That's just me? Well, it's my blog, so you'll just have to listen to my version of things. Anyway, after a weekend full of hysterical crying, your FSO goes back to A-100 for a week. One week after Flag Day, the official swearing-in ceremony takes place. If you're me, your husband tells you to go ahead and bring the two-year-old, because lots of other people will be doing it and it's bound to be a toddler-friendly venue. This is me telling you NOT to bring your small child to the swearing-in ceremony, unless you're a masochist, in which case you'll probably have a swell time.

I can't tell you much about what happened at the swearing-in ceremony, since I had to remove a screaming Jack from the room about five minutes in. We took a lovely tour of the bathroom and fortunately managed to pop our heads back in the auditorium just as the FSOs were taking their oath. We clapped for Daddy, and then attempted to take a family photo of the happy occasion. Since my mother-in-law only succeeded in taking a photo of the carpet, and John's aunt only managed to get video, this is as good as it got:

Happy as a clam now that the ceremony is OVER!!!
Fortunately, Grandma and Aunt Pat took the demon home for the evening and John and I headed over to the post-ceremony reception. It was extremely crowded and the only food being served was (I'm told) very stale tortilla chips. John and I were literally the last people to be served drinks - Diet Coke and water - so we went out with some of John's classmates and I finally got a much-needed glass of wine.

On the Monday following the swearing-in (ie yesterday), John (and many of his classmates) started language training. John, having already tested as a 0+/1 in Russian, started in a group (and by group I mean there are two other students besides John, and an instructor) that had been meeting since late October, so he came home feeling a little freaked out yesterday. I saw his syllabus and I can't say I blame him. John didn't have any say in his schedule - he was put in a class that meets from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm. Not ideal for someone who was already miserable starting work at 8:30. It looks like he's going to have a lot of homework and studying to do. I can't speak for other classes, but John's schedule is three hours of speaking, followed by lab (which I think is like independent study?) and lunch, then two hours of reading. He checked in earlier and said he's keeping up with the class, so that's a good sign.

For the next five months, Russian will be John's life. He has some other training in August and then as far as we know we leave at the end of the month. Still no word on housing, or anything else for that matter. So if you're wondering if you'll get all that info as soon as you find out where you're going - you won't. Maybe if there's a Community Liaison Officer (CLO) you can bug at your post, but since we don't have one, there really isn't much we can do at this point.

One thing I will say - John has some pretty awesome classmates. I guess that's probably standard for one of the most selective organizations around, but seriously, these people are impressive. I was the only person at our table at dinner (besides John) who didn't speak three (or more) languages. Ugh. Maybe it's time to learn Elvish or something. Amin n'rangwa edanea...


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