The Foreign Service Journal, May 2019

68 MAY 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL cicadas sing in the trees, we frequently make toasts to our “forever home.” The not-really-retired FSO has found a new job with travel opportunities that should keep him happy. My own career continues to be, shall we say, “non- linear.” However, I’ve decided to embrace the variety. Along with short-term website design contracts, I help teach English to immi- grants and have recently begun volun- teering at a charity thrift shop. It’s all part of finding a place in the community. This has been my job at every post; this time I can do it at my leisure, without another move looming on the horizon. It’s hard to imagine that, were we on a Foreign Service tour, I’d be halfway through it already! When we first announced that we were done with the Foreign Service, lots of people said I would soon want to move again. They were wrong. In fact, I’m not even interested in traveling yet. I love sleeping in my own bed! I have everything I need right here in this little house, in this town, on this continent. Travel will happen again one day, but I’m in no hurry to get there. I need to rest up first. Though I love my husband dearly, I feel a bit like I am recovering from a rocky marriage to the State Department. I divorced that guy—threw his crap out the window onto the lawn!—and I have no regrets. Though I wish my “ex” and his new partners all the best, I ammoving on with my own life. Still, I can’t escape entirely. Most of my friends are connected with the For- eign Service or expatriate community. My Facebook friends list looks like a roster at the United Nations. I enjoy the D.C. area in large part because of the international mix. It seems I actually want to hear three or four languages over the course of each day. I continually put myself in situations where I am bound to meet people from other cultures (such as the ESL classes), and I take every opportunity to speak Spanish, the one foreign language that “stuck.” Two decades spent overseas have clearly left their mark. Though the Foreign Service looks very small in that rearview mirror these days, it is apparently larger than it appears. n