I just had a rather cranky few days. No, not because of that! Although, there is a cyclical thing going on.
We are a few weeks from moving to Warsaw. So, it’s time to make lists. Time to start using up the contents of the kitchen cupboards. Time to make those last appointments with the doctor, the optician, the vet. Time to open the door to the jam-packed, totally chaotic closet in the second bedroom every few days—then turn around and walk away. Because there isn’t really anything I can do about it yet.
I know that this is probably going to be the easiest move we will ever make. Both kids are settled on their own. We only have luggage, a UAB (air freight) shipment and a small HHE (sea freight) shipment to deal with. When we leave this corporate apartment, we will just drop off the key on the way to the airport. No house to prep for resale or rental. We do have two cats to deal with, but we’ve done that before (so many times!). Easy-peasy!
And Warsaw? it’s my third Central European post. I’ve visited there, and I know its not going to be all that different. Except for the winters, it’s an easy post by any Foreign Service standard. It’s clean, modern, relatively safe, and there are no weird tropical diseases to deal with. I’ve got a bit of the language now, and anyway, as even my Polish teacher tells me, English will be widely spoken. This time, the Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll even arrive at the same time as my near-fluent officer.
So, why was I feeling so cranky?
It finally hit me—after I startled my husband by snapping at him over dinner because he suggested I might need to get a job to “stay busy” in Warsaw.
It’s NOT easy. Not at all!
I’m in my late forties, for heavens’ sake. Most people my age are settled into houses and communities they’ve lived in for decades, puttering in their gardens on the weekends, maybe traveling once or twice a year.
They are certainly not living out of suitcases, learning a fourth language in order to move to a seventh foreign country, and thinking about how to remake themselves for the gazillionth time.
Over the last few months, I have felt the pull of this alternate life, like a powerful magnet. I’m not crazy about living in a tiny apartment (with no garden–this is killing me in the spring!), but I like the DC area. I’ve been plenty busy here, exploring parks and museums, enjoying seeing old friends and making new ones. I’m not dreading going back overseas, by any means, but I don’t feel like I really need to, either. I like being home.
But here I am: about to give all that up to find my way around a new city in a new language, make an entirely new home, find new friends, and figure out what to do with myself. Again.
As I sheepishly told my husband (after nearly biting his head off) he doesn’t need to worry about me. This posting was at least as much my idea as his. I own that decision, as I always have, even when it landed us in much more uncomfortable places. I know what I am doing and everything will be fine in the end. He doesn’t need to “fix” anything.
But while experience does help, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a really tough job. The years give us wisdom, but I think they may take some energy in return. I have to unpack all my sh** again? Really? Just thinking about it makes me tired.
I am feeling much better now. Sometimes, identifying the problem really does help. I know that this, too, will pass. In about six months, we’ll be settled again and I will have my equilibrium back again. Because I always do.
But, this time, I may not unpack all my sh** after all.
I can completely identify with this feeling, the pull of the “other life” that so often flairs up when making big changes in the FS. Best of luck to you and your husband on this next chapter, I’ll be reading!
Oh lordy – I’m married to an academic and I’m being uprooted to move again at just 26. And the thought of this being my life forevermore – moving, no job stability, never knowing where I’ll end up – exhausts me. Best of luck to you. New reader here, I’ll be following your journey.
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