Tuesday, May 03, 2016
I love retirement but I also loved the work I did with the Foreign Service. Mandatory retirement hit July 1, 2014 for me and I've been a woman of leisure since then. But...good news! The State Department has offered me the opportunity to come out of retirement and work for a few months later this year. Of course I said yes! Last year I went to Singapore for 3 weeks and loved it. I worked in the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy there which was terrific since I spent all 6 years in the Foreign Service working in that section. I felt right at home even after being away from the job for over a year. This time I'm headed to Brunei. Just in case you aren't familiar with where Brunei is (and most of my friends scratch their head and say "Where?") I've added a map. It's on the northern coast of Malaysia, just east of the Philippines.
This temporary duty assignment is for around 5 months...a long time to be away from home. With that length of time, I will be calling it 'home' as soon as I arrive and love every minute. My last post before retirement was in Pakistan from 2012-2014 and if I can serve there, I can serve anywhere. Well, almost anywhere. But look at all the places around Brunei...the Philippines, Indonesia and just out of the picture...Australia! One of the many benefits of serving in the Foreign Service is regional travel. Well, that's second only to meeting and working with terrific people, both American and those from the host country. Hopefully I'll be able to swing a weekend in Australia snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef or South Vietnam or even China. Who knows what possibilities will come my way!
Last year when I went to Singapore, I had to ask a very good friend to come and water my yard twice a week on my assigned watering days (we were under water rationing). He was a real trooper since it involved moving the sprinkler from front to back yard. So, the end of last year I made a couple of improvements to my house. I now have a fully automatic sprinkler system so Dan, you are off the hook this year! I also installed an alarm system. Hind sight is 20/20 but foresight is an even better vision.
Being away for an extended period of time means lots of planning you might not otherwise have to do. My car won't be driven so I spoke with my insurance company and the coverage will be changed while I'm away to comprehensive only. I'll change my internet/mobile phone/cable service to the lowest plan possible and my mail will be forwarded to my friend Dan and his wife Delta. Most of it is junk mail anyway. Sorry Dan, you're not off the hook entirely. :o)
The process to get me there is moving right along. Yesterday I sent off the application for my new diplomatic passport and today I'll call and start the ball rolling on my flight itinerary. That should be fun...NOT! It's going to take me about 2 days to get there, with a layover in Hong Kong or Tokyo...not sure yet which one. I've never been one who could sleep on flights but I might take a couple of Benedryl to at least make me sleepy.
So, the adventure continues...and I'm so glad it does!