I picked up our diplomatic passports on Wednesday and didn’t even make it out the door of the office before I tore the envelopes open to look at them. All the info was perfectly correct, and I still liked the photo that I’d taken two weeks before…although A’s turned out to be the first unflattering baby photo I’d seen of him so far. Welcome to the world of official pics, my son.

I looked at the shiny gold lettering on the cover…black background instead of blue with the word “DIPLOMATIC” in all caps…and meditated on the fact that this was my first true and physical symbol of a realized dream. It’s been almost 20 years since I first thought about entering the Foreign Service. How much have I changed since then? More than once over the last six weeks of training have I been thankful that it’s happening now and not when I was sowing my wild oats after college. I might’ve screwed things up on an international stage back then. I’ve already heard a few stories of young officers getting themselves into trouble and being “released” from government service. But I have my priorities straight now and a decent work ethic. And I know who I am.

My fellow blogger at You Can Call Me Al made the following observation:

Back in the 18th Century, John Adams was sent to London as the US Ambassador.  He carried with him a letter which said he was on “a diplomatic assignment for the United States of America.”  Today, I have a passport with the endorsement, “The bearer is abroad on a diplomatic assignment for the United States government.”

I think that is so very cool.