At one point in CAO training, I feared they might pull out a Fulbright reliquary for the class to venerate.* This would not have been out of step with the general tone of the course: people doing the US side of the work appear genuinely passionate about their programs, and I suspect rightfully so. I don't recall fervor like this in Pol/Econ training, with the exception of a few key offices in DRL.
I want to be excited about it, too -- but I'm a little overwhelmed. One officer could never do all the things that are being presented to us. Seriously, never. Not well, anyway. And certainly not me, who'll only be in post for one year, sans local language, and maybe sans freedom of movement. Knowing that the Pakistan PD shop is actually fully funded to do all the things being presented to us is even more daunting. Having adequate funds is not the same as having adequate resources, and it does not necessarily equate to being able to accomplish tasks with ease.
So thank you to the panel presenter today who advised, "Be realistic and choose just a few goals." I think, however much it goes against my nature, that that is precisely what I will do.
Goal one: get through the entire year without hosting a single jazz or tap dancing group. That's the Pol equivalent of trying not to use the term 'interlocutor' in any of your cables -- probably futile, but worth the effort.
I'll poll the FSNs to figure out what should be our goals two and three.
*I skipped the lunch time screening of "Fulbright: The Man" to watch the President's Arab Spring speech, so I'm not entirely sure that this didn't happen.