I returned from “Crash Bang” last night, exhausted but proud that I made it through the week with no major injuries – just a few bruises and some joint/back stiffness. I learned so much over 5 days and at times felt overwhelmed. Before each class, I would have a knot in my stomach with dread, thinking “Can I actually do this?” And then I would get into the heat of the moment and think “yessss this is awesssommmme” and not want it to stop.
I learned everything from evasive driving maneuvers, which made me feel like James Bond, to how to tie a tourniquet correctly, which made me slightly nauseated. I enjoyed the driving day the most when my inner speed demon came out. I think I missed my calling as a car racer type person. While these courses were a blast (pun intended), they were designed expressly to help us prepare in the event of things going to hell. I am extremely grateful that I was given the chance to take this (the course used to be open only to those going to high threat posts). I hope never ever ever to use any of what I learned, but if I do…I’ll be ready(ish).
The life of a Foreign Service Officer has a lot of perks, but it also has some risks. In many places, Americans are targets, and diplomats make even better targets. It has definitely been an adjustment for me to go from “Peace Corps” mindset to “hey, somebody might actually want to hurt you because of what you represent” mindset. This course was a great reminder of that. Each day I learned something to add to my toolbox of skills.
On Friday, we were placed into scenarios where we had to demonstrate what we’d learned throughout the week; I was a little startled that I could keep up for the most part. I’m definitely not Jason Bourne, but I am a little more awesome than I was a week ago.
I also had the opportunity to meet many amazing people doing amazing things. One of the perks of this job is the chance to meet people from all walks of life. Interesting, intelligent, nice people. A little over 3 months since I started this whole FSO thing, I can still say that I have one of the coolest jobs on earth. All in all, crash Bang was everything I wanted it to be, and more!