Sunday, September 11, 2011

The downside of the Foreign Service

Through my twenties, the foreign service was always a dream deferred.  It seemed like it was never the right time to pursue this particular dream, and as time went by and milestones added up -- getting married, going to war, graduate school, turning thirty, kids, buying a house -- the dream seemed to get further and further away. Passing the test, and then the orals, was one of the highlights of my life.  I couldn't wait to get in and get overseas where adventure surely awaited.  I'm here in Maseru now, and I wouldn't trade my life now for anyone else's in the world.  The foreign service is everything I thought it would be. I love my job, and I love the fact that I get to serve my country again.

Some of my friends back home may not believe this, but there are downsides to serving overseas.  My wonderful 79 year old mother was as healthy as an ox when I left the States just two short months ago.  Sometime since then, she started to get really tired all the time, and so she went to the doctor.  They told her she was going to need open heart surgery.  While this particular type of surgery is pretty routine these days, it is still terrifying to think of them opening up my mother's heart, while I was 8000 miles away and unable to be there for her.  She has always been there for me, and it killed me not to be there for her.  I knew getting into the foreign service that these types of situations (or worse) could arise, but still it has been difficult to deal with.  I am relieved to say that mother made it through like a champ, and the doctor said she'll have a full recovery.  Thank God for that.  But I have been sick with worry for about a week as the surgery approached.  I can only imagine how terrified my mother must have been.

The bottom line is that for all the benefits that you gain by joining the foreign service, and they are many, you make a lot of sacrifices as well.  I have a pretty big, pretty close knit family, most of whom all live within 10 miles of where I grew up.  I am now 8000 miles away, and I am going to miss a lot of the good times and the bad times of the Maguire clan.  

1 comment:

Becky said...

I agree. It can be really tough being overseas. I am so glad your mom made it through okay.