The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JULY-AUGUST 2022 33 FS SINGLES HowWe See Things Naureen Nalia, the interim chair of the employee organization Singles at State, currently serves as a program officer in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She previously served in Trinidad and Tobago, India and Mexico. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she worked as a legal aid attorney in Central California. Single people over the age of 18 are a growing demographic, but that isn’t the only reason State should be more mindful of its single employees. BY NAUREEN NAL I A M y first tour was in India, and after about 20 hours of travel- ing, I arrived in the early hours of the morning. I remember stepping into my new apartment jetlagged, anxious about the new job, and worried about my chron- ically ill cat making it through the journey. I was also grieving for my grandmother, who had lived in the same apartment complex as me for my entire child- hood and whose recent loss had left me feeling unmoored. The apartment in India was beautiful, but there was no soap to wash my hands or to shower off the dirt, sweat and germs that come with travel. I had diligently arranged my own trans- portation; but unfortunately, I was told at the last minute the car would not be available for the first three or four days after my arrival, leaving me stranded in housing that was at least 45 minutes away from other officers. All the other entry-level officers were housed in the same complex, but I was alone in a distant suburb. I had no idea where to go on that first morning—the welcome book materials didn’t have any information about the area because I was the first per- son assigned to live there. But even if I had known, taxis were not recommended for women traveling alone. There had just been a horrific rape and murder of a woman on a bus, so that did not seem like a good option either. I was expected to be at work in a ON FS TRANSITIONS FOCUS JEFFMOORES