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Amparo Bertram

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09:11 pm: It's all in the uniform
I started out my journey with a bit of panic ~7pm Sunday night, when I looked up the BART schedule and found that the earliest train would get me to the airport (international terminal) at 5:30am, while my plane was scheduled to leave (from the domestic terminal) at 6:10am. Luckily, mangaroo was able to suggest an airport shuttle service that could get me there earlier, even on such short notice. They came to pick me up at 4am Monday morning, and I was off.

The flight was turbulent in places, but other than that, uneventful. For those of us traveling through Chicago, that is. For the poor guy who had the later flight through Texas, such was not the case, and he wound up delayed by over an hour.

We checked in to the hotel, where I was assigned to share a suite with another woman from my San Francisco group. The suite consists of two private bedrooms, each with its own bathroom attached. The bedrooms open onto a shared living/dining/kitchen area. The kitchen comes with a refrigerator, four-burner stove, coffee maker, toaster, and dishwasher. (I will be hard-pressed to find an apartment this nice when I move back to California...) There is also an organic grocery store about a block away, which is convenient. I went a bit overboard on my first shopping spree, though, purchasing four bags full of items that I then had to lug back to my room. It's a good thing I've had practice carrying heavy bags around!

We get a free breakfast buffet every day. It's not just danishes and coffee, either, it's a full spread, including scrambled eggs, potatoes, biscuits, and various types of cereal. At 7:30am, some of the instructors showed up to drive us all to the training center. (There are five government-owned Suburbans that are assigned to our class, which we can use for traveling within an 8 mile radius of our hotel.) We spent most of the day on orientation-type lectures. At the very end, we were sent to pick up our off-the-shelf trainee uniforms.

This turned into a bit of an issue for some of the female members of the class, because the trainee uniforms are all designed for men, in male sizes. I had submitted my waist and hip measurements, and wound up being assigned pants with a waist two inches wider than my hip measurement. I have no idea why they picked that number, but they were HUGE. They had to keep giving me incrementally smaller sizes for me to try on, and I ended up one of the last two to finish (along with my roommate, who had the same problem). The size I ended up with is slightly shorter in the leg than I would prefer, but they didn't have anything else in that waist size that wouldn't drag on the ground.

Fortunately, later in the week we will be professionally measured for our official uniforms, which will be delivered in about three weeks or so.

On our lunch break, we were sent out to a nearby strip mall to buy food, since no one had brought any lunch. (Not everyone had the opportunity to buy any food the evening before.) While we sat around eating and chatting, I found out that one of the other women from my class (the one not my roommate) also plays Warcraft.

The hotel where we're staying is quite nice, as you may have gathered. They even have a grocery service where we can submit a list of groceries and they will go out and buy everything, delivering the items to the room for free. (We pay for the groceries, of course, but not for the delivery.) That's very convenient if one happens to want food that's not organic, and doesn't want to go through the trouble of signing out one of the government vehicles to drive around shopping. The downside of having such an easy time cooking supper is that not everyone is a good cook. A short while ago (while I was in the middle of trying to set up my internet connection), someone burnt their steak, setting off the fire alarm and sending everyone out the emergency exits. I sure hope that doesn't happen often...

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[User Picture]
From:bentleywg
Date:October 8th, 2008 01:17 am (UTC)
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This is all very interesting. Please do keep blogging about it.

And just what is your job called, exactly?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:October 8th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
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I'm a Customs and Border Protection Agriculture Specialist (CBPAS). The main requirement is a college degree in some biology-related field.
[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:October 8th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)
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I hope you have a wonderful training period. It sounds exciting.
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From:wednesday_10_00
Date:October 8th, 2008 12:19 pm (UTC)
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Sounds like you have a pretty swank setup! I'm glad the government is treating you right (except for the uniform thing, I mean).

[User Picture]
From:kataren
Date:October 8th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
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Ahem. Excuse please, but your icon is too cute & lil old me is in need of details, kthx. XD
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:October 8th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
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See here (specifically, the last paragraph of the comment).

(Also, I secretly wish I could actually cart my cats around like that.)
[User Picture]
From:kataren
Date:October 9th, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC)
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Super major cute!!

And yes, if carting like that in RL could work...
[User Picture]
From:kataren
Date:October 8th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)
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This is very interesting reading; thanks for sharing your experiences (that which you can ^^). And yes, I'm jealous of your living quarters. :P
[User Picture]
From:scrummycat
Date:October 8th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
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Bummer about the uniforms! But I am sure you are still able to pull off the look. ;)
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