50th-birthday-cakes

The Big Five-Oh

Yep, it’s here. The half-century mark. I am now vintage—halfway to antique! To my mild surprise, the AARP hasn’t found me yet. I suspect my husband may be tossing out their solicitations before he brings the mail home from the embassy. Smart husband What does it feel like to be 50? Pretty much the same…

moving day

Bits and Pieces

The curtailment thing has actually been in the works for a while, of course. We didn’t just wake up one day and decide to go home early! Facts were acquired, discussions were had, decisions were made. This took some time. So, throughout that process, I have been sporadically attempting to organize myself in advance of…

flying

It’s All Good

We got some big news this week. My husband’s curtailment request has been approved. We’ll be moving back to DC next summer, instead of in 2018 as originally scheduled. The Diplomat needs to go home because his parents have reached the stage at which they need more help. Of course, it’s more specific than that,…

Retirement plan

Taking The Road Less Traveled

Or How My Mid-Life Crisis Is Turning Out to Be Super Boring In a couple of months, I will turn fifty. Not sure how that happened, exactly, but there it is. Fifty. Five-oh. Half a century. Good grief. I guess I am now officially middle-aged! It’s OK, really. I don’t come from a family in which…

Poland

My Real Post Report on Warsaw

Real Post Reports are an awesome online resource for Foreign Service and expatriate families, with first-person reviews of life in cities all over the world. If you don’t know about the RPR website, check it out! I have just contributed a Real Post Report for Warsaw. I don’t think there is anything in it that…

anne-elk

I Just Have One of Those Faces

After living in eight foreign countries (and traveling to many more) I have developed several theories. Here’s one of my favorites. People and cultures can be characterized as open-faced or closed-faced. Open-faced people look around them while walking. They look others in the eye. They sometimes smile at strangers. They might, in very, extremely, friendly…

My great-grandmother, Palma Lee Lashley Bembry, on her farm.

Of Silk Purses and Sows’ Ears

I posted recently about how hobbies keep a lot of expat spouses sane. Since one of my hobbies is this blog, and I’ve resolved to post once a week, a bit more about that. (Also, Warsaw in late winter? If you can’t say something nice…) I have two categories of hobbies: creative stuff and genealogy.…

hometown2-6

In My Hometown

In my hometown, Johnny Cash welcomes you—right after you pass by the people drinking a morning beer at the airport version of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, and the bluegrass musicians playing in the arrivals hallway. Or sometimes, you are welcomed by a naked guy strolling through the airport. Here he is, in photos taken by a…

coffee

What Do Expat Spouses Do All Day?

Imagine, if you will, a world of single-income families in which one spouse of each couple does not have a full-time job. This is the bubble in which most expats live. The primary reason for this somewhat anachronistic scenario is the lack of availability of jobs for people who may not speak the local language, or…

nyhavn-15

2015: Year in Review

This is the post in which I sum up all the wonderful and exciting things I did over the last year, painting a glamorous picture of Foreign Service life that will make you jealous as hell. Or not. Expat life is a weird combination of exciting, stressful, and totally mundane. That was our 2015, right…

donald trump

World, Meet Our Crazy Uncle

Dear World, We were kind of hoping you wouldn’t have to meet him. But, it looks like he’s gone and introduced himself already. He’s that guy. That uncle that is a part of nearly every American family. (If you are white and from the southern half of the country, you’ve probably got two or three…

Photo from Amazon.

Winter is Coming: Let There Be Light!

Technically, winter is still three weeks away. But it is already cold and gray as all get-out here in Warsaw. The first few flakes of snow have fallen. Sure looks like winter to me. By the time winter is actually chronologically, here, it’s going to be colder still, with an average high temperature of 31 degrees…

Westminster Abbey.

Halfway Home

Last week we hopped a cheap flight to London to visit our son for his birthday. The trip was well-timed! I’m not a Third Culture Person, a global nomad, or whatever you want to call it. Though my country seems to be losing its collective mind and conscience lately, I still identify strongly as an…