I've come to realize I may have put the cart ahead of the horse a little and skipped this topic. Or at the very least, I only hinted at or made some implications as to why I was agreeable to Natalie taking up a career with the foreign service.
I found myself thinking this over in great detail after reading a post by I'll Take Mine...To Go, Please! about talking disapproving or concerned parents/family members about this different lifestyle.
Along with the regular suspects of questions about where and when we leave for Mexico and what we will be doing comes the other biggie, "Why?"
Of course, part of this question is brought on by the fact that we are moving to Mexico. If we were telling friends and family we were moving to some western European capital, it would be easy to turn that question around and ask "Why not?" (But isn't just hilarious to tell people you are moving to Mexico to get a job?)
But even before Flag Day, or as I like to call it, A-100 Lottery Day, friends and family really couldn't understand why we would sign up for a life that would require us to move to anywhere in the world every two years or so. (Where I'm from, we joke [these were jokes, right?] that if you want to cross the Ohio River, you need a passport...such is how well I was equipped for culture shock.) After all, even if we were sent to a Caribbean paradise one time, we could end up in civil war-torn hell hole the next.
I can't speak to Natalie's frame of mind when she decided to apply. Besides, that's kind of out of this blog's scope anyway. I'm here to talk about why spouses would be OK with moving away from friends and family and likely ditching a career as well.
For me, at least, the career thing wasn't a big deal, because as I believe I've made clear, my career wasn't really going anywhere.
But that obviously doesn't answer the question about "Why the foreign service?" After all, I could just quit my old job. And if a change of venue was also part of the answer, this is a large country with plenty of places to relocate.
The easiest answer is that this is what Natalie wants to do, I love her, so I support her.
I have my selfish reasons, too. I do want to see the world, and this definitely lends itself to that.
Professionally speaking, I fancy myself a writer. As such, I believe that writers write from personal experience. This life offers an abundance of experiences I would not likely face in the United States alone.
So to come back to ITMTGP's question about talking to family and friends about this choice, perhaps the main points that should be made is why you want such a life. Our family and friends just want what's best for us, so maybe once they know why we think this life is best for us, that might help them to cope with adjustment.
And don't expect anyone to understand either. This is a nation that has done pretty well throughout history subscribing to isolationism, so wanting to leave the Land of the Free to live else where is an entirely foreign concept to most Americans. I think the key to putting others' minds at ease is getting them to understand that this is a decision that was not made lightly, pros and cons were weighed, and ultimately you reached the decision that this is a lifestyle that is best for you.
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