Friday, May 21, 2010


Yesterday around 3:45 p.m., my niece Isabella was born, and it marked the first time I did not make it to the hospital for one of my siblings' children's birth.

To be fair, I would not have made it to the hospital this time regardless if we were in the foreign service or not. This is only the second time I had a niece born since we moved to the D.C. area, and I was able to make it to the hospital in time last year out of a lucky twist of fate - I was able to stop in Cincinnati while returning from an eye surgeon conference in San Francisco just in time to visit my newborn niece and recovering sister-in-law in the hospital.

Moving from southeast Ohio to the D.C. area, a difference of about 350 miles, meant missing out some family events.

This nomadic lifestyle we begin this summer will guarantee I'll miss even more.

I've discussed already how family members view the foreign service decision. Without rehashing too much of it, this is a lifestyle many have a hard time understanding or, in some cases, even accepting. (These are general terms not specific to my family, though some definitely have a hard time understanding.)

And I can see a little better as to why they might feel this way. After all, I've pretty much guaranteed that I will be removing myself from family life even more so than I already have.

I'll mostly be watching my nieces and nephew grow up in pictures and a computer screen. In all likelihood, I won't be there for some seminal moments of their lives as they get older and I'm living in a remote location.

It is easy to think about the sacrifices we are making as we enter the foreign service because they are many. But we should also be aware of the sacrifices are family's also are making, and in all likelihood, they were never consulted about their opinion of these sacrifices. It is something we imposed on them.


  1. Good point about our families having to put up with the aftermath of our decisions.

  2. I absolutely agree that being apart from one's family is one of the hardest parts about living abroad. I missed weddings, funerals, births, really slamming bachelor parties. Being from a military family, my family is a bit more used to separations, but it's still difficult. Luckily, skype and other technological marvels allow for more connectivity (especially valuable now that we have kids).

  3. yep, this is a big downside for me. My husband is from the W coast and we live in NY, so we only see his family 1x/year anyway. But mine is much closer so it will be hard. Congrats on your new baby niece!!

  4. It's "our families," honey, not "are family's."

  5. Sorry, but in my Kentucky accent, "our" is pronounced "are."