Although the glow from Flag Day has faded, the horizon is bright with my first assignment in Tel Aviv on the horizon. For reasons I previously explained, I feel very lucky to have received this post and continue to hear positive things about it. The past two weeks have shed some new light on what my job will entail and the lifestyle my family will enjoy when we ship out in July 2012. I can't wait!
In the meantime, I've got a lot of nuts and bolts to learn about being a Political Officer in Israel. I have to confess that I have an urge to start making foreign policy widgets right away but, after the holiday weekend, my full time job will be learning Hebrew. Even though this is a pretty sweet gig, the road ahead should be challenging. I know exactly three words of Hebrew at the moment and I probably won't sound much better than this pubescent boy's bar mitzvah by the time Hanukkah rolls around. Maybe I can channel some of my Prussian ancestry (which incidentally may have some Jewish blood in it) so I can become halfway decent by next summer. In all seriousness, my language training should get me near fluency so I can hit the ground running in my reporting duties.
On Tuesday morning, school also begins for my two sons. It's been a long summer and they definitely need some structure and discipline in their days. September 6 couldn't come fast enough! B will make the pilgrimage to kindergarten while A will commute with me to the pre-school adjacent to the Foreign Service training center. I'm optimistic that all three of us will thrive in our new school environments. As a side note, it's ironic that I'll still be in school with them after I thought I could go no further. At least my wife doesn't need to buy school supplies for me too.
Speaking of which, J is also getting in on the school act! Beginning September 19, she'll be in a six-week consular training course at the Foreign Service Institute. Another plus about being posted in Tel Aviv is the embassy has lots of employment opportunities for spouses of Foreign Service Officers. There's some competition but completing the course will give her a leg up for working on visa applications and American citizen services. I might actually be envious of her job because the consular section apparently overlooks the best beach in Tel Aviv!
So, as you can see, us future diplomats have a busy fall schedule of training. There should be some interesting conversation around the dinner table about what new things we learned that day in math, immigration law and Hebrew!