Friday was flag day. Our A100 class took a little field trip in the morning, and were back on campus about an hour before the flag ceremony started. That was enough time to check email, print our bid lists (because many of us had forgotten what we had bid on three weeks ago), and greet our guests at the visitors center. I collected my large party of family, said hello to some friends, and then stood around in a state of nervous angst.
The ceremony started with a few kind words from the orientation staff, and then flags started flying! People began receiving posts that we knew were they ranked high. Tandem couples received flags that matched their spouses onward assignments!
And slowly, our list of top picks began dwindling. Each person that got one of our “perfect” picks, made me feel more nervous. However, our list of low bids was also shrinking pretty rapidly, too. And with each low ranked post, came a sense of relief. About half way through, I knew we’d be headed to a “medium” rank post.
Then, suddenly, I was stunned to hear my name follow…
MALABO! Equatorial Guinea.
General Services Officer.
We hadn’t really considered EQ as a viable option for us. It’s a high Spanish language post (3/3), and I’m a low level speaker (0+/0+). And it’s a “now” post, meaning they need someone ASAP. Because it didn’t really appear to match up with our timing, we ranked it medium on our bid list and moved on without thinking much about what life would be like in Malabo.
My assignment officer must have known this was the case, because I had a note in my post info folder that said something along the lines of “I know you’re probably wondering how you ended up here… but it’s going to be a great tour. AND! We confirmed that there are trees on the island for Cormac.”
So after having a minor panic attack post ceremony, we began researching our future home. And it looks like it will be a great tour, and there are in fact trees! And the second-highest density of primates on the African continent. And beaches, and SCUBA, and hiking! And at least one friendly coworker who has already reached out to me via email to welcome me to post!
So, we’re getting excited to head off to post in just a few short months. Still not sure where we’re going?
That little island off the coast of Africa. Ohhh, of course.