Posted in Switzerland

Geneva Update

The Jungfrau, photo from ryderwalker.com.

After nine long months, and about 90 emails exchanged with MED, I am super happy to report that my son has FINALLY been cleared to go back overseas. Woo hoo!!!

I have to say, I have never seen a process that was so micromanaged in my entire life and look forward to a time when I never have to deal with that particular office again. But, life being life, that probably won’t be the case. So for now I will just be thankful that we can move forward!!

We are also thrilled that A has been officially accepted into an amazing international school. I queried four of them. One of them wouldn’t be able to tell us until April if they had space for him next year, and that was just way too late in the planning process for me. Another one didn’t have the classroom support available, so that was a no-go.

But he was accepted by a fantastic school that has instruction in French, in English, and a bilingual program in French AND English. I’d also read lots of positive things about them from parents on some Foreign Service blogs, so I’m excited about that option and didn’t feel the need to pursue the fourth school. I hope he has a really positive experience there.

As of this week, I’m still waiting to be “paneled” (officially approved for my assignment). I was kind of paneled two weeks ago, but they put the wrong arrival date, so it had to go back to panel. It looks like we will be transitioning the first week of August, so A will be able to finish school here in June and get a few weeks of summer camp in with his friends before we head out.

One new requirement for folks going overseas this year is to attend a week of counter-terrorism training. When I first joined you only had to attend if you were going to a high-threat post. But the world is such a crazy place these days, it’s now mandatory for everyone heading abroad…even to Switzerland. So I’m lined up to do that in February. One more box to check in my pre-departure check list!

Which currently looks like this (in no particular order):

  • Get paneled, get travel orders, request plane tickets, get Swiss visa
  • Get rabies shots, health certificates, and make travel arrangements for pets
  • Arrange for childcare: US summer camp, interim babysitters, and au pair
  • Buy a new car, transfer vehicle registration, arrange for shipping, update car insurance, rent a car
  • Submit housing questionnaire, get housing assignment, buy more furniture, schedule packout
  • Order school supplies and uniforms
  • Give apartment 90-days’ notice of departure, extend lease for one month
  • Change addresses on everything, cancel internet, phone, TV, Naked Wines membership (sadly), etc………………………..

That said, now that I know we’re really leaving, the time is starting to fly by! I’m trying to think of any last bucket list items while we’re still here in DC, but I’ve kind of lost motivation for that. I’m looking forward to one more season of cherry blossoms. We’re planning a long weekend in Pennsylvania in May to visit cousins.

And I wouldn’t mind a couple more weekends at the beach, or a weekend trip to Florida to see the Harry Potter stuff at Universal or the new Star Wars area at Disney. I might actually try to make that happen since Florida is miserably hot in the summer, if we saved it for a future home leave.

So that’s where we stand at the moment!!!

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