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Tandem Couple (in process)

Photo courtesy of Zach Natalie on Flickr

We’re one step closer to becoming a Tandem Couple!  No, not a surfing tandem couple (although that would be quite awesome), a Foreign Service Tandem couple. Yesterday I passed the Foreign Service Oral Exam.  I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch because there are still several steps before I can call myself a FSO: 1. Pass security clearance, 2. Pass Medical Clearance, again, I guess? 3. Pass the final suitability review, 4. Wait on the Register until (if?) they call me to attend an A-100 class.

So now that the future seems to be a little clearer, our timeline has gone completely out the window. I assume I’ll still go with L to Nicaragua in a few months. Where in the process will I be at that time? If I’m offered a position, I’ll come back to DC for training – but for how long? If we live apart for several months, how do we divide up and pack our furniture/car/kitchen stuff? Ok, I get first dibs on the kitchen stuff. Other than frying the occasional egg when I’m not available, L doesn’t cook.

In some ways this will simplify our lives in that we both will have jobs moving from place to place, and I won’t have to look for new employment at each post. But let’s be honest – this will complicate things too.  Bidding will be a tug-of-war between getting a post together, and getting a post that is interesting and appropriate for each of our careers. Fortunately, we’re in different cones – so that makes things a teeny tiny bit easier – but I’m sure it will still be a challenge.

I’m so excited. I can’t say it’s here yet, but it’s thrilling to know that I’ve passed this major hurdle. This has been something I’ve had in mind for so long.

So now the waiting begins, or actually, continues.  We will just try to make the best decisions we can with the amount of information we have at any given time.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Congratulations! The Mrs. and I are in a tug-of-war over the foreign service (she’s retaking the FSOT in June), so I’m very, very happy for you. You’re absolutely right that it doesn’t completely ease the complications of an FS life, but it certainly makes things clearer. Best of luck on all of your clearances!

    March 30, 2010
    • stmemory #

      Thank you! I’m a fan of your blog. I love your reference to “patience” being the 14th dimension. So true!

      March 30, 2010
  2. Congrats on passing the oral assessment and moving on to the next step. Your med clearance should still be valid, and your security clearance should be quicker than if you didn’t have a spouse in the service (mine was, and they told me that was the reason).

    Being a tandem is by no means perfect, but unless you want to be a stay at home parent (and many do), my two cents is that it is the best possible option. You both get careers, rather than jobs, and they aren’t uprooted every 1-3 years. And the Department does try to keep you together. I was a Member of Household when my wife joined, and I joined because it just seemed like the easier route (yes, I recognize that I just referred to joining the FS as easy) in terms of having a life together where we both had meaningful work (we don’t have kids, so me being a stay at home mom was never on the table).

    Congrats again and good luck!

    March 31, 2010
    • stmemory #

      Thanks! Good to know that there is some possibility that security clearance might be sped up a bit. That certainly would be nice.

      April 1, 2010
  3. It’s Friday, and that means that the Seventh Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)


    April 2, 2010
  4. Bridget #

    hi there, just discovered your blog through the roundup. My husband and I hope to be a tandem couple as well- I passed last month and he takes it next week. But lucky you, you get to go to Nicaragua while you’re waiting! I look forward to hearing what happens w you. I’m going to link to your blog. best, Bridget

    April 2, 2010
  5. Rebecca #

    That picture looks so much like you and L! Can’t wait to come to Nica and surf with you two! 🙂

    April 7, 2010
    • stmemory #

      I know, spittin image of us. Although, you might want to wait a few months so we can first learn how to surf…

      April 7, 2010

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