Monday, July 31, 2006

“Thank you for your service.”

Posted in Foreign Service Life, Generalities, Home at 4:53 pm by graceandpoise

It’s finally happening. I have run for and missed my last FSI shuttle bus. I’ve said farewell to David, my favorite apartment building concierge, for the last time. I’ve watched all of my worldly possessions get packed away and sent off to various places (with more than a little moral support from our friend Diplodocus). And, via the most circuitous route I’ve ever taken for such a journey, I’ve come home to Seattle. Next week: Korea.

It’s funny how just seeing a certain thing or being in a certain place can make a person feel so good inside – so relaxed and happy. A friend of mine asked me why I ever left the Pacific Northwest if that was how I felt about it. Sometimes I wonder the same thing myself, but I always come back to the idea that there is something bigger out there that I am supposed to do, some greater purpose I’m supposed to serve. I feel like the potential to help others is so much greater in this job than in most of the things I could be doing if I had stayed in Seattle. That doesn’t mean I might not eventually return to Seattle to work for some NGO that provides humanitarian aid or something, but for now I think this is where I should be.

On my wandering journey the other day from DC to Seattle, I ate lunch with a pilot in Chicago. We had a long conversation about all sorts of things about the Foreign Service and living a life of constant travelling. He asked me if it was hard not to be able to go home at night to a place you’re really comfortable in where there are people who really know you. I told him I couldn’t deny that it was hard, but I said I might find it more difficult to be a pilot, having responsibility for hundreds of lives at a time and never really knowing where you’re going to end up the next week. When I had to leave to catch my next flight, he said to me, “Thank you for your service.” It almost brought tears to my eyes.

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