We made it!!

Our pack out went well and everything fell into place before we left Florida!  We sold my Civic and found a tenant for our house!  We left Thursday to start our drive to VA.  We stopped in Charleston, NC that night and stayed at a really cute hotel on the beach.  We spent Friday morning walking around Charleston.  We had breakfast at Hominy Grill….which has the best shrimp and grits!!  Then we started driving north.  We were planning on staying in Roanoke Rapids, NC but we hit some sleet which turned the roads to ice and had to stop for the evening in Dunn, NC.  Today was move in day!!  We made it to our apartment about 2 this afternoon.  We are all unpacked, been to the grocery store and are all settled in!  We are staying at Oakwood Temporary Housing in Fall Church, VA.  It’s really nice and convenient.  The place comes furnished with everything we might need while we are here including everything you’d need in the kitchen and there are shuttles that go to Justan’s work.  We should be here for 4-6 months.  Then it’s off to who knows where!!  We should find out the list of possible locations this week!  We are getting really excited to see that list!  Then by the second week of January we’ll find out where we’ll be moving!  The kids are doing great!  They were very good on the car ride here and they are excited to finally be in DC (which they think is our apartment).  There is a little bit of snow on the ground they have already played in it.  Daddy helped them each make a snow ball…Grace threw her’s at Mommy and Mark threw his in the empty yard to see how far he could throw it.  When we left Target this afternoon there were snow flurries so they got to see snow falling from the sky!

Here’s the link to where we are staying if you want to check it out….



Getting things in order….

We are starting to get really excited about our upcoming move to DC!!! Our pack out is scheduled for Jan 24.  We are trying to do as much prep work as we can so that day goes smoothly.  We are both working our current jobs until the 23rd so we are staying really busy trying to get everything done and ready to move.  All four of us will be jumping in the jeep and starting our drive to DC on the morning of the 25th.  We will be renting out our house while we are out of the states.  We have someone interested and coming to see the place tomorrow so hopefully we will have a tenant soon!!  It’s going to be hard to leave this house…this has been our home for our entire married life.  This house holds so many memories for us and Justan has worked so hard on the remodel.  But I know deep down that it doesn’t matter where we live all that matters is that the four of us are together.

We Are In!!!

So after a year and a half of an up and down roller coaster ride, we found out that I have have been accepted to the January class. We will be moving to DC for 3 weeks of orientation, then an additional 17 weeks of training. We will find out our first duty station sometime in early to mid February.

We have a ton of things that we want to see in DC and we are really looking forward to starting this part of our lives…

Hurry up and wait, then hurry up and wait, only to hurry up and wait…

What I have found out is nothing is for certain. The federal budget is in the midst of a “Continuing resolution” or cr. This means the president has approved a temporary operational budget that is the same as last year to operate through March of 2013. From my research this is not uncommon. In 2012 a class in January was cancelled due to budget constraints. The DoS has not answered any questions of when the next classes will be and has given the standard answer of “whenever budget is approved for them”. I truly believe this is no fault of their own. They rely on congress to allocate the funding then proceed from there. (Which congress is on break for the month of October) So funding could be approved for January, or March, or whenever someone decides they need more people. It is on a “as needed” basis. I am very familiar with this idea as I heard “whatever the Navy needs” quite frequently during my tour.

I was hoping to know a definite but I am starting to realize this is not how it works. I would like to hold off getting my PMP until after I was hired but I think I will go ahead and get that since my current employer has agreed to pay for the majority of it.

The Decision of a Lifetime

In July of 2011 I applied to be a Foreign Service Specialist within the Information Management Specialist (IMS) track for the U.S. Department of State. I am going to try and capture my experience and try and document my family’s journey wherever it may take us. In order to do this properly I think that there must be a foundation laid to get everyone up to speed on different parameters and the background of our situation. If you are here because you are interested in the foreign service (This is why I even considered starting a blog) I will try and give you a overview of my qualifications and background:

  • 14 years of IT and management experience
  • Bachelors’ degree in Information Systems Technologies
  • Master’s degree in Information Systems
  • Navy veteran (4 year tour) Lived in Spain, Germany, Greece, and Turkey
  • Certifications: ITILv3; MCSA; MCITP; MCTS; CompTIA Security+; CompTIA Network+; Apple Certified Associate
Next I think it is important to create a timeline of how the events have happened. From my experience this can be one of the most frustrating aspects of the hiring process:
  • July, 2011 – Submitted application
  • December, 2011 – Notified for interview
  • January, 2012 – Interviewed (OA) Passed with 5.4 + .175 veterans (5.575)
  • February, 2012 – Security Clearances began
  • March, 2012 – Medical Clearances
  • April, 2012 – Security Clearances granted
  • September, 2012 – Placed on register (16 out of 26)
  • December 10, 2012- Notified of placement in January class
  • December 12, 2012- Received offer letter (and accepted)
  • December 17,2012- Received DoS packet with all paperwork
  • December 19, 2012- Orders begin to be processed
  • December 20, 2012- Orders received
  • January 4, 2014- Packout Survey
  • January 24, 2013- Packout scheduled
  • January 25, 2013- Travel to DC
  • January 28, 2013- Report for Orientation