Here we are...if you are reading this, that means that I have finally received orders to report to Korea. But how did we even get here?
January 2018 I woke and made the obligatory yet selective "Happy New Year" calls. As I spoke to some of my friends, we bonded over the idea that resolutions need to bite the dust and we want to focus on overall lifestyle changes, self-improvement, and living life to the fullest. That's when the idea popped in my head of moving overseas. At the time, I had recently begun Spanish classes and so I told my friends that I wanted to move abroad and possibly even take time off from work and immerse myself in the language. There was only one country on my radar: El pais de mi padre-The country of my father: Panama. As we spoke, I talked about needing to be in solid financial place so that I could continue paying the student loans I managed to rack up. Given this, I projected that I would leave the USA no earlier than 2020.
Shortly after the New Year holiday, I went on my first solo trip to the United Arab Emirates. The first couple of days I was incredibly lonely. But, I shook it off along with the jet lag and loved every moment making memories thousands of miles away from life as I knew it. At this same time, I was transitioning jobs and had been hired as a contractor for the US Air Force. I became licensed as a Clinical Psychologist shortly after returning from vacation and began seeing patients at my base once licensed. Because I am an early career psychologist, I often look at employment opportunities to know what organizations are looking for and so that I can manage to obtain exposure to a variety of experiences to remain competitive. In doing so, I came across many international positions connected to the US government. Slowly, my mind started shifting and I began to wonder if I could move overseas and still work while living in a Latin American country.
An important thing to understand is that I have applied domestically to Federal jobs on a number of occasions. It has always resulted in a "not referred" or "referred" with no follow-up. I have applied to the Houston VA too many times to count. It is also important to understand that getting a GS position is difficult. I came across the position in Korea and I do not remember what I was thinking but I half-heartedly applied assuming that it wouldn't go anywhere. But then an e-mail came about doing an interview later the same day. During the interview I was asked how I felt about living in Korea and my response was "I haven't even thought about it!" As I processed the interview with friends, I was sure that my candidness on a few questions (my lack of thinking this all through) would put me on the bottom of their list. But then, I got the tentative offer.
And so here we are: your Afro-Panamanian, traveling loving, Psychologist friend, daughter, sister, cousin, niece, co-worker, neighbor, is off to make a difference on the road to Asia.