A funny thing happens when you take a bunch of intelligent and capable men & women, throw them into a foreign country or situation and then unite them through the blogosphere. They write! They compare stories. They ask questions. They seek confirmation that the choices they’ve made for them and their families are good ones. They become girlfriends. .
This is how a woman in New Zealand becomes girlfriends with a woman in Benin, whom she has never met, may never meet, but feels bonded to. This is how a woman, new to her brick and mortar community in America, can seek reassurance from her virtual community while undergoing a life altering change. We’ve adapted and carved out for ourselves a sense of belonging that all of us miss due to our nomadic lifestyle. So when one of our girlfriend's blogs was recently removed from the State Department's website for not being relevant enough after discussing her recent bout with breast cancer, we took offense
By sharing our experiences with each other, whether it’s finding cake mix in Mauritania or a good dentist in Dhaka, we can commiserate with each success or failure and not feel like it is only happening to us. Some of our stories have nothing specifically to do with the Foreign Service but are a result of our life in the Foreign Service. Everyone living this lifestyle has different reasons for being in the Foreign Service. Some do it out of a sense of duty. Some do it for the adventure. Some do it because they are passionate about promoting America. And, some do it because they fell in love with someone who does it. Our reasons are as varied as we are and we seek information from anywhere and everywhere we can get it. We need to know we are going into this with our eyes wide open.
We need to know how hard this lifestyle can be whether it’s a bombing, flooding, earthquake, illness or crime. We desperately need to know that our situation isn’t out of the ordinary and that what we are feeling is normal and that someone else has been through it and can help us. We need to know we are not alone even though we are living in a house in Africa with razor wire holding us in or on a small island with almost no diplomatic presence and our spouse works 60 hours a week. Anyone considering this lifestyle should have access to real life stories, the good ones and bad ones uncensored.
We are all relevant.