As it's bidding season and many an FS folk are headed this way and that, I thought the roundup this week could focus on different roles we take on as our lives and our job shift from place to place.
I'll go first...
I am slow on posting about the 4th of July because we just had our Consulate Independence Day celebration yesterday. It was my first official state department event and I had a blast. Being overseas makes you think about America in a different way and I'd be lying if I said my eyes didn't water a bit when the Marines raised the flag and the national anthem was sung. God bless America.
Back to the Desert shares a story about her own attempts to socialize with locals. While understanding local culture through the eyes of an actual local can be one of the most rewarding experiences abroad, Back to the Desert does a good job of exploring the barriers and stresses associated with it.
Not being social
But the Foreign Service isn't always about being immersed in the local culture - many people are serving tours that require compound living and very restricted movement. Even though Diplojournal hasn't been out to take as many pictures as he'd like in Lahore, he managed to snap some great ones of a lightening storm this past week.
Weebles Kabul but They Don't Fall Down (Afghanistan), Adventures in Good Countries (Pakistan) and newly assigned Muttering Behind the Hardline (Karachi) blog about posts where movement is similarly restricted.
When Everything is New...
Moving is tricky. Even if you've done it several times, packing your stuff, moving your stuff and arriving in a new country where everyone and everything is new cane be quite an ordeal. Here's how a few of our own handled it.
Small Bits imparts her wisdom about sharing responsibility and relearning the daily grind. Great insights!
Diplomatic Dad captures just what it means to go through what he aptly called "Extreme Home Makeover: Foreign Service Family Edition" and Short Term Memory addresses the ever present issue of FS moving: Will we see our beloved stuff again? (And in this case it's a totally awesome cow chair - check it out!) Trying to visit family on top of packing all your earthly belongings comes with its own challenges as Adventures of a Freckle Faced Girl describes.
The less talked about companion to physical relocation is emotional relocation - Fabling pinpoints the day that the adrenaline-getting-there-new-place excitement wears off for her and reality sets in - no matter how lovely her Brussels reality may be :)
On that note Diplomatic Mom has shared a truly beautiful 4th of July salute and captured some of the feelings associated with leaving your country even as you move forward to serve it.
Timing, as everyone knows, is a real humdinger in the State Department. Will the end date at my old post work with the start date of my new post? Will it work with my home leave? School Year? Spouse's Employement? Getting into the foreign service to begin with comes with a host of timing conundrums as the process can take years. Kudos to So You Wanna Be a Diplomat who just accepted a great job in the West Bank and Gaza as he waits for his Oral Assessment appointment. Diplomat in Waiting experiences his first but most definitely not his last last minute change of assignment.
Sometimes foreign service life gives people a chance to catch up on hobbies they love but don't have the time for in the States and other times new hobbies are a necessary product of their environment - sometimes both. Check out From the Back of Beyond's container gardens! Additionally, she does a terrific job blogging about the "happy hat" that we sometimes put on in the foreign service. Some posts are hard. Some posts are really hard. How do we handle them with honesty and optimism? From the Back of Beyond is doing a great job negotiating the two.
It's harvest time over at Here, There, and Everywhere and Zvirdins at Large are getting their sprout on.
Over at The Briden Bunch Bunco has become a favorite pastime and Adventures in Good Countries, with perhaps my favorite post of the week, demonstrates her newly acquired skills as decoder...of not so difficult to crack codes.
Even though most foreign service officers have to learn at least one language and few would call it a "hobby" Life in the Land of Long White Cloud appears to have taken up an extra-curricular accent.
Kolbi has become an acronym savant over at A Daring Adventure thanks to her Consular training.
Put On Your Traveling Hat!
I'm not exactly sure what one of those would look like - but feel free to post a picture of you wearing yours. My husband has this "awesome" (his words) straw hat he bought when he lived in Brazil...it's probably the closest thing I've seen to a traveling hat...on that note maybe you shouldn't put your traveling hat on afterall...esepcially if it's kind of yellow and saggy.
But I digress - travel! Traveler has been my favorite new role as a foreign service spouse and from the looks of it it has been one of yours too!
Dear Diary: Travels in the Foreign Service heads to Paris while Wandering Memos describes what must have been an amazing trip to the Galapogos Islands. Wanna read about Red licorice and Jujubes trip to Bangkok? (Hint, You do)
The Dinoa Family changed even their vacation pace this past week and is having a great time at the beach. Similarly Sherwood Family Nonsense took a different sort of vacation this past week - without kids! Read about their trip to Turkey from their latest blog posts.
Speaking of pace, You Can Call Me Al has planned what looks like one of the most amazing US road trips I've ever seen. That's a lot of ground to cover - I can't wait to read about it!
May we all find ways to cope with our ever changing lifestyles and discover new joys along the way!