A couple of weekends ago we went to the zoo with several other Foreign Service families from John's A-100 class. Last weekend, we had a family get-together with some of the other FSOs with kids. Tonight we're going to a happy hour with a bunch of John's other classmates. You know what I've discovered so far?
They're all normal.
Up until now, I was a little freaked out about what the other Foreign Service folks - wives, in particular - would be like. I've made some amazing military-wife friends over the years, but you do have to do some hunting to find kindred spirits (which I suppose is true in the real world, too...). But some of the Foreign Services wives I've met prior to this have been a little...testy. Like they all have some sort of chip on their shoulder, that they've been through this (generally one or two posts) and I don't have a clue what I'm in for. That may be true. In fact, I'm almost sure it is. But that doesn't mean people need to be snarky. For the record, I'm not talking about the genuinely wonderful wives I've become friends with recently (through other friends). I'm talking about random run-ins on the playground mostly. They left a bad taste in my mouth for what I might encounter at post. Fortunately, all of the ladies of the 165th A-100 class that I've met so far are awesome.
When we went to the zoo, I was expecting to be the odd man out (remind me to tell you some time about the fact that I literally am the odd man out, at least according to the Myers & Briggs personality test). I thought the other women would be way tougher than I am - the kinds of girls who don't wear makeup just to prove a point. Fortunately, they all seemed as terrified of this process as I am. I know that a lot of you think I'm either a) really brave and supportive or b) insane. It's nice to know that there are other people out there who, like me, are probably a little of both. Even speaking to some of the FSOs last weekend, I gleaned that they, too, are completely overwhelmed by this whole thing. I think we all know that while we have our definite preferences, we're entirely at the mercy of a higher power, and we could end up at any post on the list. And I think it's safe to say that if we end up at one of the Mexico border posts, we won't be the only ones freaking out.
One thing is for sure - one week from today, we'll all be in the same position, wondering where on earth the next two years are going to take us. Literally. (The term "where on earth" takes on a whole new meaning in the Foreign Service.) At the end of the day, it's easy to be supportive of your spouse when you believe in him unconditionally. And it's easy to be brave when you have no idea what you're getting yourself into.
But when you've just signed yourself up for the most ridiculous adventure of your life, I'm willing to bet that a little bit of crazy doesn't hurt, either.