Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SOS, Please Someone Help Me...

Did I get the Rhianna song in your head? :)

Actually, for the past two days, I have been taking SOS, or Security Overseas Seminar. And in a stroke of good luck, I got to be in class with none other than the blogmistress of A Daring Adventure!

I have taken this course before, of course, but it has been more than five years, and you are supposed to take it before you go overseas if it has been more than five years. I think the title should be different though. Like maybe, "Scaring Officers (and others) Silly." Because that is the purpose of the class, to scare you into being safe.

The course is well run, and most of the speakers approach their topics with a sense of humor (which I admit can be challenging when you are talking about how not to get blown up!). It could be very dry (I seem to recall it was last time). Thankfully it was not.

Though it was, however, REALLY COLD! Which leads me to another name for the course: "Shivering and Shuddering." They warn you in the email they send that the classroom is cold and to bring a sweater or jacket. However, that is not so very useful if you have already packed out! Which I of course have. My sweaters and jackets are on their way to Estonia.

I briefly thought I was going to miss the second day of class and have to do the online course instead (which I am sure now has you thinking, why didn't I do it online to begin with...because I didn't want to take leave these last two days. So I took the training in person).

The reason I thought that was that I was waiting for my USDA health certificates to arrive. Because I have a parrot, I had additional pet hoops to jump through. USDA certificate within 10 days. Avian flu test within 7 days. 24 hours to turn around the test. Send test to USDA. Get certificates overnighted back to you. In the meantime, 48 hours before the trip, get one last vet visit in.

If you do not have a parrot and are joining the Foreign Service, don't get one. It is doable if you have one, but it is a pain that you don't need if you aren't already committed to your feathered friend.

So yesterday, I call the USDA. They say all is in order and they will overnight it that night. Meaning I'd get it today. Great!

Then I get home from class, and there is a message from the USDA saying they had a note to wait for me to call before overnighting it and I need to call them back by 4.

Did I mention I was in training? I got home at 4:30.

So I expected to have to drive to Richmond to pick it up today.

Luckily, after leaving the message, the secretary talked to the vets there, who confirmed they had spoken with me. So she overnighted it. And it arrived today.


Now just think happy thoughts for me that me, the dog and the bird all make it safe and sound to Estonia tomorrow.


fsowannabe said...

Have a safe trip!

A Daring Adventure said...

SO glad that you were in the same class as I was! It was so great to be able to sit with you through that very intense class!


Miss you! Hope all is well there and that the journey went well!

Patricia Kushlis said...

And I thought traveling with a Burmese cat and a kid was difficult.