Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pack it up, pack it in

Let us begin. I came to travel, blessed me, it's a hassle.
I promise I won't crack up; sir, you'd better back up 
Don't return my emails and the whole crew will act up.
Get up, stand up, come on throw your hands up
If you've got a notion, jump across the ocean.

As we approach our second Foreign Service move, I find myself repeating many of the same concerns I had when we left Florida. Although I will continue to be unsettled until we have our questions answered by arriving, it is comforting to recognize that these feelings are simply part of being in a cycle of change.

Housing
In February we moved from a 3/2 house with a backyard to a one-bedroom apartment. I had low expectations for our temporary corporate housing, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the apartments were nicer than I imagined. However, after four months of sharing a small space with two dogs and way too much stuff, my feng shui is thoroughly off balance. In Manila we will have a two bedroom apartment, but I'm still worried. Instead of a few months we'll be living in this apartment for two years, and as every FS GSO knows, housing is a very personal matter.

Dogs
Before we arrived here we were concerned about Julie adapting to apartment life, but were pleased to discover that the people in the metro DC area value green spaces. The parks in Northern Virginia are beautiful, and the dogs are getting more outdoor exercise here than they did in Florida. We have been getting mixed reports about the availability of dog-friendly green space in Manila, not to mention references to aso being a delicacy in the provinces north of Manila. Fortunately the American compound is said to have green space where we can walk the dogs, and if you've ever met a Vizsla who hasn't had a long walk recently, you know why we're concerned.

Career Goals
I left my job behind in Florida, and once I gave myself permission to relax, have been enjoying my time off. Not working has given me mental space to reflect on my priorities, and has helped me understand what I want out of a career. Ironically, our joining the foreign service could end up being a boost for my career, as not being obligated to work at a full time job has allowed to consider options that would have been financially risky in Florida. However, when we get to Manila I will need to start acting on my ideas, which is much harder than just thinking about them.

Distance from Friends and Family
The south pacific is a bit farther from Florida than DC. However, I'm grateful for Skype and email, and at least a twelve hour time difference will be easy to calculate.

Although we worried about these changes before we left Florida, we settled into our DC life easily and comfortably, and I hope that our transition to Manila will also be similarly smooth. Of course, moving to a foreign country will require additional adaptations, but I have enough to think about right now without additions.



Suspecting her of wanting to disrupt her comfort, Grace gives Julie the stink eye.


Poetry inspired by House of Pain


                And the next day .........




Grace's suspicion is validated!

1 comment:

  1. Your doggies are so adorable. I hope they have ample green space so that there is much happiness all around at post. :)

    ReplyDelete