I took a speech class many moons ago, and the one thing that really stuck with me was a lesson on visualization. Our instructor was pointing out the importance of practicing your speech and seeing yourself giving the presentation, which would assist your mental and psychological preparedness. She talked about how it’s much easier to attain a goal or accomplish a task when it’s already part of your subconscious routine. Your mind has accepted it as a potential reality.

I took that little gem of wisdom to heart and have used it on many occasions. When I became serious about joining the Foreign Service, I inundated my poor psyche with every book, blog and photo that I could find. I had such a strong image of what FS life would be like that I probably created an alternate universe somewhere.

When it comes to visualization, they say the more detailed the better. The details that I liked to really focus on were the personal ones that would describe daily life. Like what the housing would look like. Or whether or not there were pets around. I had a few pictures that I’d found that really summed these things up for me.

One of them was of an orange and white tabby cat asleep on a chair…in the living room of a townhouse in the housing compound in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It was such a domestic scene. So easy to picture yourself in that setting. So easy to picture our own orange and white tabby cat curled up on that government furniture.

So here we are a year or two since coming across those images. And now I have one for you.

Our cat, Sasha, in the housing compound in Belize.