If we were to discuss what sucks most about the Foreign Service lifestyle, the majority of Foreign Service Officers would agree missing holidays or special occasions with family back home ranks near the top of the list.
Last December I went to the west coast to see my parents for Christmas. It marked our first Christmas holiday together since 2014 when I got a few days’ reprieve from full-time, mandatory Russian language training and flew with V to my mom’s for Christmas. If someone would have told me back then I wouldn’t come back for Christmas until 2022, I would’ve been dumbfounded.
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As I mentioned in my Road Trips 2022 roundup post last December, I not only drove by myself from northern Virginia to the west coast in June, but also in November to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. I left at the end of a busy work day the Thursday before the holiday, fighting my way through rush-hour traffic on the beltway to get a head start on my journey.
And as usual when you’re trying to leave the office for a couple of weeks at a time, I had an active international parental child abduction case with two children returning to the United States from Venezuela in-progress that very afternoon. Thanks to the help of my excellent colleagues, I was able to track the return up until I needed to walk out the door, and then hand the case off to my backup. As I crossed my first mountain pass in Pennsylvania’s Alleghenies against pelting snow, she worked to monitor the landing of the children’s flight in Miami and update our leadership on their reunification with the left-behind parent. When I finally checked into my motel in Ohio and caught up with my work emails very late at night, I was elated to see all was well that ended well. Fortunately for me, my road trip went just as smoothly.
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