My apartment is empty. Seriously, I can hear the echo of the "clickity click" while I'm typing this. The term "pack out" sends chills through the soul of many foreign service officers; the only thing that frightens us more is "check out."
The packers came Tuesday and I have to say it was the smoothest packing experience I've had in the FS (I know this is only my first post, but I've had more than the average number of moves for a junior officer). The toughest part was choosing which clothes to take with me on the plane to California, which stuff to send in UAB (that's unaccompanied air baggage for the uninformed) to meet me in D.C., and which stuff to put into storage until God-knows-when.
Then there was check out. I think they should include a "check out" exercise as part of the Foreign Service oral exam. This would weed out the weak. Give each examinee the adminsitrave check out check list and see if they can successfully obtain all the required signatures in order to receive their plane ticket from the Management Officer. Examinees who break into tears at the feet of the GSO are automatically disqualified. Check out is just like a scavenger hunt, only not as fun.
But in the end (literally, 5:00 on Friday afternoon) I got my plane ticket. So now I'm sitting in my empty apartment, killing time. I'm living out of the lovely Welcome Kit (the t.v. they gave me doesn't work) counting the hours until I get on my flight. See you on the flip side!