From leaving the comfortable routine of life in the NIV section; to the start-all-over-again mental gymnastics that is being in a new and more complicated section (IV), add in two VIP visits to the Consulate, and oh right, a 400-post bid list to sift through and narrow down where we want to live and work for two years - there's been a lot going on lately! It all came to a head last week when our in-Spanish, after-work salsa class started to get way too complicated and I felt like my brain was just going to send out a little puff of smoke and then seize up. There might have been tears when I got home that evening; there certainly was whining and self-pity.
But now the visitors have come and gone; I took a break from salsa for a week, and best of all - the bid list has been turned in to my Career Development Officer. There's nothing to do but wait while they put together the assignments and deliver us the news in a very non-Flag Day unceremonious email. It doesn't even have a little drum roll that activates when you open the message, which truly it should.
I don't want to jinx our chances by telling you what we're hoping for, but I can throw out some hints.
- Our top ten posts are located on five different continents;
- They represent the chance to learn one of six new languages, two of them tonal (I'm going to kick myself if one of those comes to be);
- We will either live in dry sunshine in a coastal country, or have four distinct seasons surrounded by thick forests and mountains, or live in a teenie urban apartment where we will change out of our shoes into little slippers whenever we come home;
- We've already visited three of the ten cities, and I've lived in two of them;
- Four of the countries are known internationally for their amazing cuisine, as in, "Should we go out for x, y or z tonight?" and three will most probably never make this category.
As you know, I love bragging about our amazing weather down here in the northern Chihuahua desert. Two years full of blue-skied sunshine and the ability to do outdoor activities 11.5 months of the year. So, while going through our bid list, I began thinking of the opposite and romanticizing life in northern climates, even mentally trying on the wardrobe I'd need. I caught myself thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a 'real winter' again? I could wear my sweaters and we'd walk through snowy cityscapes to our new favorite little restaurant on the corner, you know - the one with the fireplace?" Our cozy home, kitties curled up in their baskets, will certainly be located in a Thomas Kinkade painting.
While across from me at the dining table, with his own list, is my husband the tropical weather beach lover, with his own images: weekend trips to post card beaches, sweating when he steps out the door each morning and sitting on our patio in the evening, hearing and smelling the surf nearby.
However, probably the truth will be closer to this:
But now we're in the relaxed, ignorance-is-bliss time where everything is still an option and the images are all positive and exciting. When we finally get The Email containing our assignment, and realize that we'll be in urban drear from October to May, or I come to grips with the fact that I'll be one of only three employees at a tiny consulate, having to be duty officer every other weekend - well that will be the time for dealing with reality.
Right now, we're loving the romantic possibilities instead.