Thursday, November 15, 2012

Flag Day!

One warm Friday morning last month, I woke up thinking "this time in 12 hours we will know where we're going to live for the next two years".  I was very excited but very nervous.  Our bid-list was long - over 100 jobs in almost as many locations throughout the world.  We were asked to rank each one 'high', 'medium' and 'low'.  We spent a lot of time on google maps.  We did our research, ranked our priorities, and began the challenging task of deciding where we'd prefer to live.

Granted, just because we decided where we wanted to live certainly didn't mean that we'd be assigned there.  State is good about taking your requests and priorities into consideration, but at the end of the day it's the needs of the FS that dictate where you reside.   Our first choice was a cushier European post that actually didn't get assigned to anyone at the end of the day.  Also in our top 10 were a couple of South American posts, a couple of other European cities, a frigidly cold Russian locale, and one African Island post that we added for good measure because it ticked almost all of our boxes.

I arrived with C and my in-laws to the FSI Visitors Center.  The room was already packed so we snatched 3 seats at the back, close to the exit in case my (often) rambunctious 2-year-old decided that Flag Day was definitely not at the top of her list.  The minutes seemed to drag by.  I glanced around, spotted my husband at the front with his classmates.  The lady beside me was clutching her bid-list in one hand, a pen in the other, poised to strike off posts off her list as they were claimed by others.  Having devoured almost every FS blog I could find, I knew that the printing of the bid-list was  common Flag-day practice, but I also knew that almost everyone abandoned them 10 posts in as it moved too quickly and became to exciting to continue.  And with a 2-year-old, I didn't even bother.

Suddenly the event was in full swing.  A flag flashes on the screen.  A city and country is announced, followed by the name of the lucky (or not so lucky) person who will call it home for 2 years.  There were over 80 people in P's class, and he was the third from last to be called - at that point I could hardly breathe!  C dropped something under her chair, and as I bent down to retrieve it, I distantly heard "Port Louis, Mauritius" and then they said his name.

I couldn't believe it!  P was cheering and walking up to retrieve his flag and shake hands with the Ambassador, all the while searching for me over the sea of faces.  Mauritius!

We still have a lot of things to learn about the country we'll call home next year.  P is furiously learning French and we still await our final scheudle and date of departure, though we do know it will be late Summer, 2013.  Until then, we keep pinching ourselves while our eyes are glued to images like these.....


Friday, November 2, 2012

A Brief Recap...

My decision to continue with this blog was not only to keep you all updated on our life, but also to chronicle our new 'life', as a reference for others who will follow us down this path in the future (as I did nothing but scour the blogosphere for information on what our future life might be like).  So, if you're not particularly interested in this part of our adventure I will beg your patience!  Here's a little update on life lately...

We've been back here in the States for just over a year.  We spent a lot of time in limbo and my in-laws were more than patient and generous with us in giving us a home for a huge chunk of time.  We had a sojourn in Columbus, Ohio for a few months due to husbands job.  We have some dear friends there so our time in the Buckeye state was brief but very enjoyable.  Said friends introduced us to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream.  If you are ever in Columbus (or Nashville, apparently they have it there, too), do yourself a favor and experience Jeni's.  Apparently they carry a couple of flavors at our local Whole Foods; my waistline weeps at this news.
Someone LOOOVES Jeni's!
One day my husband received an offer for a job that fell into the "dream" category.  He was invited to join the US Foreign Service, with training beginning in September.  So, we packed up all our belongings (again) and made the move back to Northern Virginia.  We now reside in Falls Church (just outside of Washington, DC), in temporary housing provided by the Dept of State for Foreign Service (FS) families who are either beginning training in their A-100 course or for those FS families who are between assignments and in language training.  Our new home is lovingly referred to as "the dorms", partially because so many people here know each other (it's a small FS), as well as the fact that everyone has the same furniture, the same plates, glasses, linens.  Very uniform, but it does the job.

The wonderful thing is that State ships 700lbs of UAB (unaccompanied baggage) to your temporary apartment so we were able to bring some things that make it feel like the munchkin's toys, some of our own towels and linens, and - most importantly for moi - kitchen items.  I have missed my Le Creusets!  The rest of our things have been safely put away in storage to await our departure next August.
View of Georgetown from The Kennedy Center
But life here is great - we are a 10 minute drive from the District, a 10 minute walk from the metro, there's a convenience store, dry cleaners, playground, a pool (that, thanks to our very mild autumn so far, we have been able to enjoy), we have the space we need and the company of others who are sharing in the same adventure.  We have college friends, army friends and old friends nearby and my in-laws are a short drive away so we're able to enjoy time with people we hold near and dear before we head off next year.

It's Friday, I've had a crazy week and my brain craves some rest.  Next time I'll give you all the exciting details on where we're heading next!

Hope everyone had a spook-tacular Halloween.  Tinkerbell visited us...she was adorable.

Bon weekend, tout le monde!