How many people can say they’ve done Flag Day 3 times in less than 3 years? Actually, multiple Flag Days aren’t that uncommon given how many Consular Fellows become career Foreign Service Officers or tandem couples. 🙂
In our case, we had our first Flag Day in 2017 when my husband became a Consular Fellow. We were surprised and thrilled to get Bogota that day! I had not done any research on that post and was so excited. Fast forward almost exactly two years when I joined the State Department as a CA-AEFM, I got my own Flag Day. Except in this case, I received the Mexican flag for our onward assignment to Guadalajara. At that point, we had known we were going to GDL for some nine months.
And then just a few weeks ago, when my husband took an invitation for January’s A-100, we curtailed from Guadalajara and reassigned. Bidding was interesting – you have the whole world open to you! Well, you have specific jobs in various parts all over the world open to you. 😉
We dreamed of an assignment to Rome! But, reality set in. We were so tired of moving and really wanted to stay in Arlington for at least a few months and learn a new language. We also prioritized large posts so I could continue to work as a CA-AEFM (consular officer). In addition, we needed access to good health care and wanted to avoid any posts with malaria. After all those considerations, we really didn’t have a lot of options left. 🙂
We bid high on a lot of China posts because they met our bidding priorities, although there are other languages we might prefer to study and a 14-hour flight doesn’t sound that great.
So, it wasn’t very surprising when they called my husband’s name and we were assigned to Guangzhou, China!
We won’t be leaving until the end of 2020, which hopefully means the coronavirus will no longer be a global health crisis. We are thrilled to be in Arlington with family nearby and to spend the year learning Mandarin.
Update August 2020.
We didn’t think we’d have a fourth flag day – let alone another a few months later. But, I took the leap and accepted an offer to join as a management officer in July’s orientation class. Even though we had a good six weeks of angst while we didn’t know if I would get re-assigned to China, on my flag day they called my name and announced my assignment to Guangzhou. We are thrilled to be working together and so excited for this opportunity to serve as a tandem couple.