I had a great day yesterday, and it had almost nothing to do with training.
Class was okay. Parts were interesting, parts were dull. That is sort of the way it goes with training.
But one of the junior officers in the class had earlier in the week asked people to bring their lunches for a picnic.
I bring my lunch every day (because the food at FSI is too damned expensive for the (lack of) quality. I will grant you that the food is a bit better than it was, but it is still not as good as the food at Main State and it costs more. So I eat my sandwiches instead). So I figured I would probably join them.
We ended up in two groups, which we referred to as the full sun ( or skin cancer) group and the partial shade group. I opted for partial shade, mainly because I wanted to sit on a bench instead of the ground.
The weather was perfect...low 80s and low humidity. There were six of us in our little group, three first tour officers and three of us with a few more trips around the block. And we just had a nice discussion...about posts, about movies, about life. It was nice to sit around with a bunch of nice, smart people. It reminded me that the people I serve with are the best part of serving.
And then, for some icing on the cake, I had dinner with some more foreign service friends. Six of us met at the Quarterdeck and shared a couple dozen crabs (they were awesome!). Two were a couple we served with in Jerusalem. I don't get to see them often enough. They are great guys and were great to serve with...we only see each other every year or two (thank god for Facebook!), but each time, I remember just how much I care about them.
I have been convinced many times, especially when I was not enjoying my career as much as I am now, that the people in the Foreign Service are the best part of it, and that the friends I have made are a big part of why I stay.