We finally were able to schedule our “pack out.” Pack out is when a team of packers and movers descends on your house, boxes up all of your stuff that you swear you need, and takes it away. We get 600 pounds of UAB, which is unaccompanied air freight. This is for things like clothes, toys, the stroller, golf clubs, etc. that we will want when we arrive in DC. We also get up to 18,000 pounds of HHE (house-hold effects) which State pays to have stored for us until we need it when we move from our temporary post in DC to wherever we are assigned abroad. We can take some or all of it, depending where we are stationed.
Our pack out will start on Tuesday. We are not allowed to pack a single box. For insurance reasons, we have to let the movers pack, pad, and seal everything. Once our house is empty, we will move into a Marriott in town and clean our house on Wednesday (well, Jen will while I go to BYU-I to talk to some business law students with the judge). I will work until Friday, make my way to Logan to say goodbye to family one last time, and then drive to Washington March 5. Our trip is just over 2,100 miles and crosses through a litany of states I never particularly wished to visit.
We will get to see the bustling metropolis of North Platte, NE, stop to see my sister in Des Moines, IA, visit Notre Dame and Touchdown Jesus in South Bend, IN, spend one last night in Pittsburgh, and then make it to DC just before training starts. It’s a big production to move everybody in the State Dept and there are people whose jobs are dedicated to making it happen. Somebody makes my travel orders, sends them to budgeting, sends them back to the creator who then sends them to me and my advisor who forwards them to the moving people who I had to call to set up my pack out. All in all, my orders authorize a grand total of more than $17,000 for moving and per diem expenses. I have read that from my FSOT to the oral exam to my background check and through training, State pays almost $100,000 to hire and train me before I ever step foot in an embassy.
It’s going to be a hectic two weeks. Training will last from 8-5 every day and then there are after-hours activities most nights. I can’t wait for family to visit us and to get out and explore the area around DC. There probably won’t be a lot of time/big news to write about here (except our new home!) until flag day, so hopefully Jen keeps you all updated on the diplobug.