24 May 2010

So much to do, maybe enough time?

Well, we're about 2 months out from becoming ex-pats. It's crazy. On one hand I'm so excited to leave this city and country behind and start our new life, but on the other I'm kinda nervous. I mean, will I like life in Santo Domingo? Is my Spanish good enough? Will I find a job I like? Will our house be nice? Will I make friends? All un-nerving questions, IMHO, because I won't really have a support network over there (with the exception of the wife and kid, of course). Though it's doubtful, I could end up hating the Diplomatic lifestyle all together.

We have about 342,579 things to get accomplished before we leave, and about that many things to do when we get there. A lot of them are meaningless busywork, some are extremely important, and all of them have to get done in order for our transition to be a smooth one.

Some examples:

1) Arrange for vaccinations for us and the dogs.
2) Arrange for boarding and transportation of the dogs, as they will not be traveling with us.
3) Purchase international auto insurance.
4) Arrange for shipment of our vehicle.
5) Arrange a date for pack-out (This is the process by which the Gov't places our stuff into boxes, then into crates, then onto boats, then ships it to us. This can take 2-3 months.).
6) Buy our plane tickets to the D.R. via Puerto Rico.
7) Say goodbye to our families and friends (with an open invite to come visit us).
8) Arrive in the D.R., get our bearings, settle in our new house.
9) Arrange for cable, internet, phone, and mobile phone service. Preferably all with one company.
10) Hire house help.

The list goes on. Unfortunately, since I am not in full-time training/class/obligations, I am going to be responsible for most of this. It's funny how our roles have reversed since my wife got this job. She used to handle all of the finances and busy-work (since she's more detail-oriented), but I've kind of sidled into that role as of late. I don't think my wife has a clue to our bank account's balance now (except that it's a little lower than we'd like).

We also have lives: my son and I are going to Cape Cod for 12 days in late June, my wife and I are going to a wedding on July 4th weekend, my wife has to go out to Seattle to scatter her Mom's ashes in Puget Sound, etc. All of these factors make the task of moving overseas particularly daunting. Why does the adventure of a lifetime have to be SO MUCH WORK?

I have given myself the task of parsing down our belongings here in temporary housing. I can really only think of like 10-12 items that we've acquired since November as "indispensable." The rest will be sorted into "keep" or "toss" and dealt with accordingly. Then we need to look at winter clothes... do we bring them with us to a place where the lowest EVER recorded temperature was like 70° F. Don't think I'm going to be needing that wool jacket or my stockpile of wool sweaters. North Face shell is coming with me b/c it's the most waterproof jacket I've ever owned. Might need that during rainy season.

What I'm really looking forward to is the return of my audio gear. Those of you reading this who know me know I loves me some stereo gear. I've been without my stereo set-up for 7 months now, and I still have like 5 months until I see it again. These little Klipsch speakers I'm using now are quite good for computer speakers, but I really want to listen to my vinyl on my vintage gear again. I can't wait.

Overall, I'm beginning to feel a little impatient and a lot nervous about our move. Mostly, it's about the little things, but the big picture is looming in the wings. I think we're all tired of being in this "holding pattern." Getting a set departure date will help, but I still see myself freaking out a little until we land safely in Santo Domingo. Come on August... I can't wait to see you!

1 comment:

Vince said...

Hi there,

I’m writing from the team that manages INTERNational Connections, a State Department career networking site for Department interns and employees. We’d love to feature some content from your blog on as it provides some valuable insight into the steps towards joining the State Department and life as a Department employee. If you’re interested in letting use some of your posts, please contact us at internconnect@state.gov ASAP for more information. Thanks!