At long last, the orientation class is finished. It's been a long, intensive six weeks of lectures, field trips and exercises, all illustrated ad nauseam with Power Point slides, but as of this afternoon the 167th A-100 class is officially over. The culmination of our introduction to the Foreign Service and the U.S. State Department came with the swearing-in ceremony, which was held in the Dean Acheson Auditorium in the Harry S Truman Building. Here are a few photos:
Before the start of the ceremony
Standing up when my name was announced
The keynote speaker was Patrick F. Kennedy, the Under Secretary of State for Management
The oath that we took at the end of the ceremony
The class photo. The official pictures were taken moments earlier - this shot was taken by my wife when the guests were given permission to click away. The woman seated third from right in the front row is Ambassador Carol Rodley, our class mentor. Yours truly is the grinning cue ball raising his left hand in the very back row on the right.
Another family photo, taken at the conclusion of the afternoon's festivities
Following the end of the swearing-in ceremony, we returned home, whereupon I got out of my monkey suit and into something far more comfortable. We then went out to celebrate at the Dogfish Head Alehouse, where the 90 Minute India Pale Ale went down very well at the end of this very hot, very humid but very satisfying day:
What follows will be roughly six months of consular and Mandarin Chinese training before our scheduled February departure date for Shanghai 上海. It's going to be a lot, hot and busy summer.