Neither Here Nor There

That’s where we are right now. In a few weeks we find out:

1.) Whether we will still be in the Foreign Service by next summer.

2.) Whether we will be going back to DC or to another overseas post.

#1 is a prerequisite for #2, but is by no means any guarantee of it. The Husband has placed several bids, but since both the promotion and assignment systems at State work pretty much like this, as far as I can tell…

lottery…I am not exactly holding my breath, here!

This all hit home after we got back from our Excellent Welsh Adventure and looked at the calendar. Yes, we are at one year and counting down in Vienna. Wham!

For my part, I will be happy wherever we end up. It’s fun to think about doing one overseas tour as a couple. I got pregnant on our first overseas tour, so after that year, there’s never been a time when it was just us. And now we aren’t flat broke and paying student loans so it should be lot more fun!

But it’s also fun to consider moving back home; being close to kids, family and friends, and fixing up that little house we bought a couple of years ago–which fortunately, we can afford to live in on a federal pension alone for a while if need be. We’ll be OK, either way.

I am getting a little too old to enjoy not knowing where I’m going to be living in a year. I try, very hard, to live in the moment. But, it bothers me, underneath the skin, like an itch. And I know it bugs the Husband, too. He has all the same uncertainty that I do, plus he has no idea if he might need to start looking for a job soon.

We also have a teenager who is neither here nor there. Neither a child, nor could you realistically call him a young adult yet. School started last week, and we’ve already received several emails from a teacher and one phone call from the IB coordinator. I mean, seriously, it’s been three days. Sigh. 

He has no intention of going directly to college, and we completely support that decision. He needs a break from school, and the educational system needs a break from him. I am pretty sure he will graduate high school, one way or another, in the spring. But then what? I guess if we end up in <insert post here> he’ll just have to figure something out. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it doesn’t exactly improve the situation.

For the moment, I am taking good care of myself, starting with lots of exercise to reduce stress. I’m even trying to lose that last five pounds. It may not work, but hey, I figure the worst that can happen is that I eat really healthy, right? Can’t hurt.

I am allowing myself to plan a new kitchen. In my house. Because that’s what normal people do! Sometimes, I even plan a garden. I like to design, and plan, and build. It’s my thing. And it doesn’t play well with permanent uncertainty! So, it has never been easy for me consign my fate to the State Department.

OK, I really hate it.  A lot.

I think no matter what happens in the next few weeks, it will be good just to know. Once I know, then I can move on. Yep, I can do that.


  1. there is a life after the foreign service, although the first little while is bruising – should it come to that. ten years later i’ve managed to recreate myself as an expert on the u.s. and international relations without any ghost of suspicion on me for having been a former employee of uncle sugar. my wife is in her home country of south africa and pleased to be here – and threatens never to leave again. and so it can go…


  2. This doesn’t help, but it’s actually good for your brain to embrace uncertainty, ambiguity, and generally not knowing. Those neural pathways are spreading!


  3. We’re in the middle of bidding right now too, for the first time as a family of four (I, too, gave birth overseas during our first tour as a married couple). I love how you described the process – I told my husband recently that it feels like we’re throwing chips at a Plinko board. Sigh. Good luck!


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