Wednesday, December 25, 2013

My Final Christmas Abroad

Christmas is a time that is best spent with family and friends.  Serving in the Foreign Service, most of the time those friends are new friends, made at your current assignment.  This is good, but, as Dorothy once said, there's no place like home.

I don't know how people managed to do this work prior to the great internet.  I mean...they had to write a letter, put a stamp on it and then hope that there was some kind of postal service where they were serving. Then it probably took a month or more to get to the intended recipient.  Then another month or 2 to get a response.  And forget about calling on the phone!  Talk about making a sacrifice!

I've been fortunate to really enjoy the people I've worked with.  I mean, I have to admit that there were times when I had to really work to keep my mouth shut and just nod my head, but for the most part, I've loved my job for the past 6 years.  I don't know that I would change anything or anyone about it.  I've learned lots about security and more importantly, about myself in the process.  When you're in the comfort of your hometown of Anywhere, U.S.A., the thought of chucking it all and living in who knows where might intimidate most people.  I decided to do just that in 2007 and applied to the Department of State.  Best thing I ever did for myself.

About learning about myself...The people I've met, places I've seen and things I've experienced would have never ever happened if I had not taken this job. I've knocked so many things off my Bucket List!  I've discovered the adventurous side of myself and I'm going to have to work at not letting it fade once I retire in June.  I have a few things in mind to keep me busy when I'm no longer gainfully employed.

In the meantime, I look forward to more time with three grandsons.  That will mean seeing them more than just once a year on Home Leave.  Somewhere in my budgeting, I'll have to find room for a couple of trips to Hawaii a year to see them.

Next Christmas instead of saying Merry Christmas to my son, his wife and my grandsons on Facebook, I hope to be there Christmas morning watching them open the presents from Santa and me, Yaya. That thought will carry me for the next year as I sit here and celebrate my final Christmas overseas...and in of all places...Karachi.

Merry Christmas to you all!


Mick Harris said...


I’m interesting in joining the foreign service and working abroad in the future. I’m currently in Portland, OR with an undergraduate degree in Political Science and I’m considering some various grad school options. My uncle is a retired Foreign Service Officer and suggested I go to the AFSA website. I found your blog listed there and was hoping you might be available to answer some questions for me. I would have sent you an email, but I couldn’t track one down. I would be grateful for some first hand knowledge and insight. If there’s any chance you could respond to this and/or email me, my email is I appreciate your consideration and hope to hear back.

Many thanks,

Mick Harris

Debi said...

Hi Mick. I sent you an email. I'm happy to answer any questions I can for you. This is a terrific career you will never regret!