Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Getting Rid of Everything: Well, At Least the VHS Tapes

I have this secret fantasy where we just get rid of all our stuff and walk onto the plane with just our identification, then I snap back into reality. One of the good outcomes of the move is getting rid of things we don't need.

We will end up donating and giving away a lot of things that seemed necessary at the time, but really don't make sense anymore. Like our VHS tapes. We had several documenting life events tucked away but don't have a VCR.

I found the "Send Us the Box" product from APM Studio online. You just throw all your media in a box and send to them. They will analyze the tapes and propose how many DVDs should be made from them. There may be cheaper places that do this online, or we could also try to rig up something ourselves with a friend's VCR, but with our countdown it looks to be a time effective and reasonably priced option.

This is something I know we wouldn't have done for at least another 5 years if we weren't moving.


Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and really enjoy reading it. It's very informative. I'm getting ready to take the oral assessment and it is giving me an idea of what I might be in for. I know you are really busy but I have a few questions and was wondering if you would have time to answer them. 1. Is it correct that you find out if you pass the day you take the oral assessment? 2. How does the process of choosing countries work? Are there certain ones that you can bid for? How likely is it that you will get sent to a hardship post first? 3. How long before you can come back to an assignment in the States? 4. Are there many single people who enter the foreign service? I'm 26 and single, which I guess in some ways makes it easier but when I think of wanting a family someday, I wonder if I would have that opportunity in the foreign service or if I would be moving so much that I wouldn't ever be able to settle down with someone.

I'm sure you must be overwhelmed right now, so if you don't have time to answer my questions, I understand. Feel free to email me at jennifersmits AT


Natalie Buda Smith said...

Thanks Jennifer!

1. Yes, you find out that day.

2. You get a bid list of countries when you start A-100. This is a list of junior officer openings that are available for your class. Currently, you designate each country on the list High, Medium and Low. There are a variety of posts including hardship and non-hardship. Believe it or not - many people want hardship posts on their first tour. You work with your career counselor and the Overseas Briefing Center to decide what type of post works best for you.

3. The standard answer in the State Department is "it depends." Postings in D.C. can come up anytime, though your first two tours are likely to be overseas.

4. There are a lot of single people in the State Department. It is really refreshing to see the variety of people that are joining. The rest of the question is hard to answer since it will depend on what you are looking for, but like you asked you can always be posted to D.C., Canada or other countries with a more familiar social scene. One thing that we know for sure, the Foreign Service is a fantastic place to be when you do decide to start a family.

Good luck with orals!

And once you pass join the "A-100 2002" Yahoo Group specifically for people that have passed the written and orals but have not have started A-100.

Yousef AbuGharbieh said...

Hey Natalie,

Thanks for the comments on my blog. I'm here with five other American students until the end of July. If you need anything, just email me at


yousef abugharbieh

Anonymous said...

Missing your posts! Hope all is well.

Natalie Buda Smith said...

Thanks! Hopefully will be able to post in the next day or two. Stay tuned!