Sunday, June 20, 2010

Re-learning America

Posted in Foreign Service Life, Generalities, In DC at 4:54 pm by graceandpoise

Home Leave is over, and we’re back in DC.  We’ve completed our first 2 weeks at our new jobs and are starting to settle in.  Over the past month or so we’ve both added 2 new states to our lists of “been there,” and we’ve spent some quality time with both sides of the family and with friends from all kinds of categories, but now it’s time to start trying to get re-accustomed to “real life.”

It turns out that living in difficult conditions in foreign countries for so long makes you end up going “Oh yeah! In America you can [insert otherwise common-sensical thing here]!” an awful lot.  For instance, one of the things we’re re-learning is the convenience of being able to stop by a store on the way home from work.  Gosh, what a novelty!  And you don’t even have to have exact change in cash – they all take credit cards!  Another thing: the far-more-equal status of men and women here.  In India, it was inadvisable for me to wander around alone much, and wearing a tank-top was just an invitation for lasciviousness of the highest order from anyone you might happen to pass on the street.  Now that I’m back in America, it’s taking me a while to become comfortable again with wearing tank tops or skirts that hit above the knee, or with going on a late-night solo trip to pick up something from the 7-eleven (a store that’s actually open late at night – wow!).  Ordinary things, I know, but my life’s been so different for so long that they’re now truly remarkable.

So what’s next?  Well, we’ve got to start looking for someplace to live from August onwards (we love our temporary place, but it’s too small, too expensive, and too already-furnished).  We’ve also got to replenish some things that didn’t make it out of India (many pairs of shoes, about half our work-worthy clothes, our entire spices and baking ingredients collection, the list goes on…) so we’ve been doing lots of shopping.  Once we get a place (probably renting rather than buying, at least for a while), I’m sure there will be plenty of stuff to do to make it feel like a home.  I sure am looking forward to that, though, and to becoming a “real American” again.

Also: photos from Home Leave will be coming, I promise.  Stay tuned!


  1. valdysses said,

    It’s Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)


  2. Amy said,

    I f you would like to contribute any photos to please feel free. The current theme is ‘hardship’

  3. International Connections 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 ASAP for more information. Thanks!

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