It’s a cruel irony of this Foreign Service life that coming back to the U.S. – home – often seems like the hardest transition we make. I’m not gonna lie, I thought was READY to leave Australia. I felt like I was ready almost before we got there. I cried when we got the assignment and somehow managed to convince myself that my initial disappointment in the posting should translate into two years of, basically, waiting to get home.
And now, here we are and I have come to the realization that our time in Canberra came to an end without me ever noticing how good it was until it was over.
My excuse for not writing for almost the entire time we were in Australia was that I didn’t want to be a negative Nelly. I didn’t want my posts to repeatedly devolve into a list of complaints about how Australia was “just” America light, or “Southern Hemisphere Canada,” and how I couldn’t wait to get back Stateside.
And then, all of a sudden, it was over and we were winging our (long, long) way back across the Pacific. I didn’t shed a single tear when we took off from Sydney. By contrast I bawled from the moment we left our house in Kinshasa until we were well over Gabon.
But now, almost 6 months after getting my American legs back under me I find myself pining for Canberra far more often than I pined for Kinshasa.
I suspect part of what I’m feeling is that in retrospect I’ve realized our Australian tour was wonderful in a million different ways that I was too stubborn to acknowledge while we were in the middle of it. But, in addition to that, I am desperate to get back to feeling “settled.”
Despite my near constant desire to get “home” while we were 10,000 miles away, now that we are back it feels less like a “home” and more like a rest stop.
And, really, that is what this is for us – and for all our FS compatriots who are not officially “posted” to Washington. We are technically on “TDY” (Temporary DutY) in DC. Most of our “stuff” is either in storage or waiting patiently for us in (or near) Istanbul. We are living in a furnished corporate apartment – our second since we arrived in August – and we constantly have one eye on the calendar, the news and the things we need to do before we get to Turkey in the summer of 2020.
Oh yeah, in case I haven’t mentioned, our next post – starting at some point in August or September 2020 is Istanbul, Turkey.
So right now, our jobs are, quite literally, to learn Turkish. Every day B and I walk to a building in Arlington and spend 5-6 hours speaking, reading and listening to Turkish. It is çok iyi. But that’s a hikaye for another post.