To everything (turn, turn, turn) there is a season. As I write this, I have 12 days left in Brussels. I’ve had to say à bientôt to a few people in the last few days, and will say the same to many more in the coming ones. Such is the life of the Foreign Service. But with every ending comes a new beginning.
This summer I’ll be going back to the U.S. for home leave and training before I run off to the sandbox. Yes, my next post is Baghdad. I’m always interested in people’s reactions when they ask where I’m going next. Some don’t react – most of those are women. The women, especially ones that have served in posts like Baghdad, understand. For many the conversation goes like this:
“Wow! Did you volunteer for that? Why?? Won’t you have to wear a burqa all the time?”
The answer is yes, I bid for this position and was selected from a number of applicants. Believe me, if I hadn’t taken it, someone else would have. And no, I won’t have to wear a burqa. As far as why? There are a number of reasons. The need to challenge myself is one. The incentive pay is another. The close-knit community in places like that is a big reason too. And, let’s face it – it’s not easy being a single woman in the Foreign Service, so the fact that the male to female ratio skews in my favor doesn’t hurt either. Do I expect someone to sweep me off my feet? No. Do I expect some companionship? Yes.
I look forward to my next 12 days in Brussels. I’ll miss friends that I leave behind, as well as friends that scatter to other parts of the world. I’ll miss my lunch buddy, and my co-workers, my neighbors, and the smell of the waffle trucks parked on the sidewalks. But as this chapter ends, a new one begins. I look forward to new experiences, new challenges, and new friends. Here’s to fond farewells and new beginnings!