Sunday, November 29, 2009

Maria on the Hardest Part about Coming Back to Washington

“My husband and I work for the State Department. We’ve been posted in Germany, Australia. Tanzania, Bolivia and Guatemala. This is our third tour back in Washington. My husband has had the career that makes us travel and I find something to do in those places, either at the Embassy or outside of the communities that we’ve lived in. I am a choreographer by training. I have tried to keep up with the dance community while traveling. I want to pursue it more now that I am in Washington. Every time I hear music, I can’t sit still. Music makes most people relax, but not me. I can’t relax, I instantly start thinking of choreographing movement to the music.

“We have four kids, all were born in Alexandria, Virginia, but raised around the world. The youngest two are seniors in high school so their essays for college involve living overseas and how it changed them positively. Their experience makes them look at America differently and appreciate what we have, but also what other countries have to offer us all. My kids all speak Spanish. When we were in Tanzania, they learned Swahili also. My strengths in languages are not so much in speaking, but in listening and reading. The more languages I learn, the more mixed up I get. I want to speak German and Spanish comes out!

“The hardest thing to get used to is when you are posted in a poorer economy and living in large home with a staff. I never had a ‘staff’ before, but as diplomats, you are encouraged to help the local economy. To be honest, we’ve had the best people in every place we’ve been. They become part of your family and help raise your kids. Not everyone feels the same way about it, but we came to really appreciate those relationships and it helped us appreciate the people and the country in the places we’ve lived so much more. It might sound elitist, but it is not like that. There is not much opportunity for people in these countries and working for diplomats is considered a great job. I have to say though that it is hard coming back here and realizing that I have to do the laundry or rake the leaves myself now! We were so spoiled living abroad.”

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