As you may know, from either knowing us personally, or from reading our little intro to the left here, there are actually five of us on this journey into life in the Foreign Service. But so far, my stories have been mostly about me and the two Tabby boys, Dodger and Toby. I'd like to properly introduce the other two players who are about to enter from the wings to center stage: my husband Tim and Dodger's littermate sister Daphne. As I type these words, they are at SeaTac airport preparing to join us in our new South American home.
I left for FSI in mid-March; however, Tim stayed behind in (the other) Washington to see his youngest (Mike, age 18) off to college, prepare our house for renting and complete his contract at his job. The task of preparing our house, for the big pack-out (last Monday) and eventual rental was no easy feat. It's not huge, and we live quite simply - but we/I have been there for over 13 years and face it - stuff accumulates! I had my entire childhood entombed in cardboard boxes to go through. We had belongings to sell, give away, throw away, store for later (when?), take immediately or take eventually. We each made many, many hard decisions and double that many hours of work to make this long-held dream of moving abroad a reality. Tim spent every single weekend this summer on the house: between repainting, landscaping, going through the stuff, dry walling, taking care of all those little chores that we've all been "meaning to get around to," he did it all. But it's all done now. With the help of a local property management company, we have found a renter who wants to, in her words, "live here forever!" and every last chore has been completed. While he's traveling quite a bit heavier than his passport-and-toothbrush-in-breast-pocket dream, he is finally able to join us in this new life.
Of the married/coupled friends I've met over the past six months who are new to the FS life, we've all shared experiences (highs and lows, for certain) of how our significant-others have coped. Many wives and husbands have been left in hometowns across the country to do the heavy lifting of the big pack-outs; they have left their jobs and homes to live in temporary apartments crammed with kids and pets and not much to do; they have scrambled to find appropriate schools for the kids in their new post while the spouse-employee goes to training. They have found ways to mentally handle being the "trailing spouse" and have learned to accept that the information about their lives, from simply the daily mail to where-the-heck-will-we-be-moving will be funneled through the spouse/employee. It isn't for everyone and I hope that those of you who may be considering this path are able to really discuss these subjects before signing on.
So I'd like to say THANK YOU (insignificant words) to my husband for his efforts towards our goal. He will arrive tomorrow mid-day after a red-eye flight through Miami. Daphne will have been without her litter box for over 16 hours and has already been living in a motel since their pack-out. The boys have grown accustomed to their bachelor lives without their bossy sister, so it will be interesting to see how they adjust to her presence. As I write this, they are blissfully curled up on the couch, totally unaware of what is coming tomorrow.
We'll keep you posted.