Serving overseas, the Fourth of July is a big deal. It is the Embassy’s largest public event – an opportunity to showcase our culture and celebrate our nation’s independence. Given how much work goes into putting the fete together, one forgets sometimes how the holiday is an even bigger deal back home. Parades in even the smallest of rural towns, fireworks displays, jets flying overhead. Being back in the United States to celebrate the Fourth of July for the first time in several years not only gave us a much greater appreciation for Independence Day, but also enabled us to steep ourselves in American culture in a way that is all but impossible overseas.
Posts tagged ‘Embassy’
We like to joke sometimes that home leave is the best part of the Foreign Service. Although the Congressional mandate amounts to an extra vacation on U.S. soil, we have also come to appreciate fully the reason for its existence. Living in another country is a constant exercise in assimilation, as the mind learns to integrate the peculiarities of a new culture into its everyday routine. After a certain point, when the odd becomes commonplace, some aspect of one’s own culture start seeming foreign. Congress was wise to require Foreign Service officers to spend some time at home in between overseas assignments to give them an opportunity to re-familiarize themselves with the United States.
Nearly 15 months into our first foray into parenthood, what’s surprised us most is how each time Munchkin enters a new phase it always seems better than the previous one. And by that we don’t mean that parenting has become easier. In fact, in many ways taking care of a toddler is much more demanding and exhausting work than caring for an infant. It’s just that with each developmental milestone, Munchkin finds new ways to bring us an indescribable amount of joy.
Tbilisi is not a beautiful city in the way that some European capitals are, but it has plenty of charm and is not to be missed if one plans to spend time in the Caucuses. By the time D had a chance to walk around and see the main sights, he had spent the better part of a week in the Georgian capital and developed a feel for the city, which is equal parts bustling metropolis and ancient reliquary ensconced in a crumbling post-Soviet shell.
In a former life, S was a dancer. She had majored in dance at college and even briefly considered pursuing a career in the arts before shifting course towards public health when she applied to graduate school. One of the surest – and saddest – signs of adulthood is when family life and work responsibilities crowd out one’s youthful passions, relegating them to the realm of memory and nostalgia. Sometimes though, at the most unanticipated of moments, life presents opportunities to relive one’s glory days. Just such an opportunity unexpectedly presented itself to S last month.
On Monday, the State Department issued handshakes for summer 2015 jobs, which means we now know where we’re headed after our tour in Moldova ends next year. Our onward assignment, with which we are quite happy, was the last in a string of good career news over the last several months.