Flag Day at FSI in June 2011.
Today marks the five-year-anniversary of our joining the Foreign Service!! It’s been long and slow and short and fast all at the same time. A lot of hurry up and wait followed by some pretty amazing experiences. We are now at our third post, and this is what I have to say about this life so far.
Our first post was Belize. Belize was low on our bid list, so we were less than thrilled to be going there. But having low expectations made it a little easier to spend two years there. The housing compound was gorgeous. The embassy staff was good. We made some good friends that I’m still in touch with. Our son had an absolutely fantastic nanny that loved him and treated him so well. The Mayan ruins and the hand crank car ferry were adventurous and interesting, and there were a few animal highlights like random iguana farms, the jaguar rescue program at the local zoo and dolphins in Mexico. The reef was my favorite part…snorkeling or diving…fresh lionfish ceviche and some of the best piña coladas I’ve ever had. But it was far too hot and humid and corrupt and criminal, so I would probably never go back. But it did give us a bit of bidding equity!
Daddy and A getting ready to tackle Xunantunich.
Me and a friend at the San Ignacio Iguana Farm.
So our next post was London! And what do I really need to say about London?? It’s awesome, and it always has been. By the time we left, we were ready to go just because there were so many people. But I LOVED being in London. I loved our little apartment near Abbey Road studios with the big windows and the garden. I loved walking to the embassy from A’s nursery school in the fall watching all the leaves on the plane trees change colors and the daffodils come out in the spring. I loved being surrounded by so much history and architecture and life and beautiful Christmas decorations on the shopping streets. I loved playdates with our new friends in the park and afternoon tea. I loved going behind the scenes at the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London and the Ambassador’s Residence in Regent’s Park for work events. I loved watching celebrities perform in local theatres and seeing a little bit of glamour every now and then. Traveling to Scotland, Russia and the Netherlands. Even though our next post was number one on our bid list, my heart is very much still in the UK, and it might be there for some time.
The Ambassador’s credentials ceremony in London.
Daddy and A at Hever Castle.
But now we are in Iceland! And I’m quite happy here. We’re almost one year into our three years…what?? A has just finished Kindergarten…his first year at big boy school. He has good teachers, and the friends are coming and going. The dog we acquired here is almost eight months old, finally potty trained and with such a happy disposition. The cat is no longer pulling her fur out after quarantine, but she is now diabetic and quite large. The reason for coming here was to spend more time outdoors as a family and create a stronger home life, and we’re still working on that. But we’re enjoying small town life, trying all the local restaurants and walking on the beach with the dog.
Thorfinn at the beach.
But there are downsides. Each time we transition, you’d think it would get easier, but I hate it just a little bit more. The packing, the moving, the flying, being forced to go on home leave, moving the animals, all the stress and the expense. Our son was very emotional this last move, which made it harder on everyone. Even when you’re in one place for three years you still feel like your life is slightly accelerated, and it’s all speeding toward your next departure. For some reason, my heart is weary. Perhaps it’s just been a rough year with the personal losses in my family, which is another downside…being far away from people when they need you.
Just when I think I might’ve had enough…I’ll start looking at jobs in the States and thinking of a life in one place…but that doesn’t fit either. So my challenge is to be able to take things one day at a time and continue to enjoy the special moments with the wonderful people that take the time to come visit and the amazing ones that have chosen to share this life with me. And I must say that slowing down is just a little bit easier during a long dark snowy winter in Iceland.
View of the park from our house in Reykjavik in December.