Saturday, May 8, 2010


So, big news! But I'll warn you, it's exciting, sad, AND terrifying (though maybe more to me than you). Anyway, after 18 months of application process ups and downs, I’ve been offered and accepted a position as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development. More specifically, I'll be a Program Analysis and Project Development Officer (PDO) in the Development Leadership Initiative (DLI) program, which seeks to replenish the aging foreign service ranks with young, promising new leaders. Yes, you heard that correctly, I'm young and promising. Sort of. :)

Anyway, I’ll start training in Washington DC on June 7, 2010. I’m incredibly sad to leave my current job with Water For People after such a short period of time, but I’m convinced that this is the right career move for me at this time. When I complete my training, I'll have the opportunity to gain tenure in the foreign service, which trust me, is a pretty sweet gig. It allows me to give into my wanderlust and development-sector ADD, but with much more stability. I'm also incredibly disappointed to miss the World Cup in South Africa, which I was planning to attend with my dear friend Danielle, but I guess there will be more World Cups. Though not in SA. BOO! But careers are more important. Sort of. :)

And then there is the sadness associated with leaving Uganda, a place that has become my home for the last year and a half. And the place where some of best friends live. My eyes start watering even thinking about it, so that'll have to be a subject I'll need to tackle later. But it's sad. REALLY sad.

Anyway, as you might expect, this move opens a lot of doors and even more questions. Here’s what I DO know:

1) I’ll move back to DC sometime in early June and start training on June 7, 2010.

And here’s what I DON'T know (and now you’ll see where the terrifying descriptor comes in):

1) How long I’ll be in DC—as far as I can tell it could be between 2 months and 2 years. I suspect it will be on the longer side as I’ll have to do language training, but I really don’t know, nor do I know WHEN I’ll know.

2) Where I will be posted following my training. Basically I have no choice in the matter. I could be sent to Uganda or Pakistan or Guatemala, or really anywhere in between. My first post is decided by higher ups and I have little to no say over it. I think I will find out my post at the end of training, but I’ve heard that not everyone gets a post right away, so again… unclear. However, you can visit here ( to see all the possibilities. Your guess is as good as mine!

3) I don’t know what language I’ll be learning. As part as my training, and a requirement for tenure in the agency, I’ll be required to learn a language and pass a competency test. I’m going to push for French (it makes sense given my regional interest in sub-Saharan Africa), but I’m not sure I’ll have any say. So if they say “you’re learning Farsi,” Farsi it is. Again, your guess is as good as mine.

4) Where I will be living in DC. I’ll have to figure this out upon arrival, but my hope is that it’s cheap (ish), near the metro, and in the district. DC-ites, any advice or ideas are MORE THAN WELCOME!

So as you can see, there are many unanswered questions, which is terrifying. But the truth is it is also incredibly exciting, and just another contribution to this adventure we call life. So I'm trying to focus on that and not the unknowns. But no worries, I'll keep you all updated!