Monday, March 21, 2011

Doing What We Love

This weekend was one of celebration here at Chez R.  After one of the longest days of our lives, John called with the awesome news that he passed the Foreign Service Orals on Friday!
It all began at 5 a.m., with John falling down the stairs and waking me up.  I was far too nervous to go back to sleep, so I helped him get ready and watched him head off into the sunrise in a cab at 6 a.m.  When he texted me around 1 p.m. to say that things had gone "good, but not great" I was a little concerned.  When another two hours passed and he still hadn't called, I started to freak out.  Fortunately, John called just a few minutes later to share the good news.  He's not 100 percent satisfied with his score, but considering he was the only person who passed that day (and considering how impressive some of the other applicants were), I think he feels genuinely blessed to have made it through.  When he said to me last night that he can't think of any other career that will be as fulfilling as he anticipates a career in the Foreign Service will be, I knew I'd made the right decision letting him go for it.

Okay, that last part might sound a bit odd, but hear me out.

For the past ten years (the entire time I've been with John) the Marine Corps has pretty much owned us.  We've lived in some truly hellacious places, I've made some serious sacrifices to my career, and we've been through two deployments and one near-death experience.  Of course I realize that many families have had it worse than us, and I am sincerely grateful that John's career has gone as well as it has, but regardless, it hasn't always been easy.  When John and I embarked on this journey, part of the deal was that I'd get to choose where we lived once John got out of the Marines.  And when we first moved to D.C., and John started hinting about taking the Foreign Service exam, my hackles were instantly raised.
We'd just gotten settled into our new place, I was finally living close to Sarah, and I was damn sick of moving.  Wisely, John kept his mouth shut.  For a while.
After a year and a half or so, John mentioned the Foreign Service again, and how it really was his dream career.  By that time, I was just starting to feel the Two Year Itch (that niggling feeling that perhaps it was time to relocate again).  The odds of actually getting into the Foreign Service were teeny tiny, John assured me.  Surely it couldn't hurt to take the test?  Visions of exotic tropical paradises drifted across my brain.  Adventures beyond anything I was likely to encounter in Alexandria, Virginia, started to sound appealing.  And before I knew it, John had passed the exam, then the essay portion, and was on his way to orals.  I looked at a map of possible postings.  Suddenly, things didn't look quite so promising.

The idea that the government will now own us for the next twenty years or so isn't exactly comforting, but I know John, and he won't be happy unless he's following his passion.  And how can I blame him?  He's been nothing but supportive of my far more ludicrous dream of becoming an author.  Fortunately, I can write from anywhere.  And perhaps we won't end up in some tiny village at the end of the world.  And even if we do, I know we'll make the most of it.  We're surprisingly resilient.

Oh, and as for the title of this post, Sarah and I recently contributed to a fabulous blog, Do What You Love, and our stories just went up today.  Check us out!

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