Update on Chinese, Tenure, and Life

So, a few weeks ago I finished Chinese training.  Since I’m going to an Entry-Level Officer position with a “super-hard” language, my requirements weren’t as high as they usually are in State.  I needed a “2/1”, meaning limited professional proficiency in speaking and conversational reading.  (Normally, a 3/3, or professional proficiency, is needed.)  Due in large part to my past experience and the wonderful teachers at the Foreign Service Institute, I actually got a 2+/2!  This means extra money!  I’m ecstatic on that front.

A week or two before testing, the “tenure list” came out.  This is a list of all the people the State Department officially recommends to Congress for tenure.  While theoretically Congress could ignore it or change it, it never happens.  So, I have tenure!  What does that mean?  A few things:

1) They like me, they really like me!

2) I’m eligible for a promotion to FSO-3.

3) I won’t get fired after my fifth year.  (This can and does happen, though not often.  You have three chances at tenure, and if you don’t get it, you have to leave.)

All of that is exciting enough, but now we’re also preparing for our move.  Lots of shopping, lots of everything really.  Tomorrow we have our going away party (we don’t leave for another two weeks, though–but in that time we’re planning a quick trip to WV to see my wife’s family.)  I’m both sad and excited–We’ve known we were going to Guangzhou for over 3 years now, and it’s finally happening!  But, at the same time, there are so many friends here in DC and around the country that I haven’t seen enough of (or just haven’t seen!  The Cleveland crew in particular is sadly missed.)  This is the biggest paradox with this life–I love moving and seeing new places, but I constantly miss those left behind.  C’est la vie.

So, that’s what’s up.  I’ll try to remember to post more once we’re safely in China!

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