Flag Day

Early start this morning as we get underway, trying to keep our focus for the morning sessions while battling the temptation for minds to wander to this afternoon’s flag day ceremony. The assignments will be randomized so there is no way to know when a flag will be presented with my name attached. All we know is that we go into the room this afternoon and will come out an hour or two later knowing our first posts and our post-December 7 training schedules. We will know a lot more than we do this morning with, no doubt, many more specific questions.

There are some with palpable apprehension about flag day. For me, there are certainly some posts I’d rather receive than others, but overall I’m just excited to know where I’ll spend the next 1-2 years. I’ve done some research on the dozen or so posts I rated high on my list, but have intentionally not obsessed about it knowing there will be plenty of time to uncover details after I receive the assignment.

I started a pool for the least desirable post. The pool stands at $250, a small reward for taking one for the team. In a close race, the 50 participants voted Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, over Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (this South Pacific post sounds fantastic until you get a sense of the high crime rate and the restrictions on movement of Embassy personnel). The cash will be a small consolation for those that that have the toughest known challenge ahead. With world events constantly in a state of flux, I suppose there is also some comfort in knowing that the biggest challenge will come in some unforeseen place whether by coup, natural disaster, or other event.

Best of luck to everyone in the 149th — I hope we all receive a high bid post. For those that draw Juarez, I’ll see you at the bar tonight.

I’ll update tonight with my post assignment.

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