Friday, February 5, 2010

Globetrotting and rollercoasters

I went to the Harlem Globetrotters last night with the kids and hubbie. It was a cub scout activity. The game is really superfluous. The dancing, acrobatics and music are the main draw. The event could be half as long and I'd be happy. The guy getting his pants pulled down while preparing for a foul shot still makes the kids howl. Go figure.

My husband joined the register yesterday, awaiting a spot in an A-100 class. There is a chance we will become globetrotters as well. There was a time when I thought it was nuts to consider this life, this vagabond, nomadic existence for my family and me. I was nervous and still am. The unknown scared me. But now that it's a real possibility and there is also a chance that he could NOT get a spot, I realize that I really want this. I really do.

Maybe part of it has to do with today's activities. I helped out at the elementary school's winter olympics. I showed up in snow pants, warm boots, hat, ski mittens and a ski jacket. I was ready to get into it! There were way too many moms there who had on heels and no hat and cute little navy peacoats. They were happy to just stand around on the sidelines and chit-chat and gossip about...well, really about nothing. Who has a new house, what color they should paint the foyer, who's teacher said what, who is in what sport. I wasn't totally antisocial. I did chat and try to be friendly. But I gotta tell ya, I was so bored with their discussion, the thought of jabbing myself in the eye with a ski pole sounded more fun. One woman, who knows about the FS because she was interviewed by a Dip Security agent about us for the clearance, asked me about the FS and why in the world I would want to do that. Move? All of a sudden I had a flash-forward vision of my life and my kid's lives boiled down into this petty, insular, inane existence. And it scared me.

I used to be fun and exciting. I was an exchange student in high school to Chile. I studied abroad in college. I took off after undergrad and drove across country, sleeping in a tent, with no real itinerary. I've travelled in Europe. I worked summers in Canada at a Quaker Camp.

But then I got comfortable. I have enjoyed the security of the planned neighborhood. The bike paths and community pool. The reassuring monotone earth pallette of approved house paint colors.

It reminds me of the movie Parenthood, with Steve Martin. Funny movie. The old grandmother is describing the rollercoaster of life, with all it's ups and downs, and says she has always liked the rollercoaster much more than the merry-go-round.

I'm ready for the adrenaline and thrill of the rollercoaster. And I'd rather get it from globetrotting in the Foreign Service than from a ski pole to the eye.


carrie said...

Well said. When we were 99% sure that we would say 'yes' to the job offer and leave everything behind, a family member said to me "What do you think it is about you that would make you want to do something like this?". I took it as a disapproval. A friend said to us during the process that there would soon come a time when we were 'in' that we would question how we could have ever hesitated. She was absolutely right, and we have only been in for 3 weeks. Hang in there, and don't worry about the details...they will be insignificant once you get going.

Crystal said...

That was very well said and written!

I can completely identify with the moment helping out at your children's school. I had those moments as well. People who were fine with life in the same town they grew up in. I too could picture my life in fast forward and I didn't want that. We (my Husband and I) wanted our kids to see the world and come to understand a little better how it works outside the American middle class suburban bubble.

I am not picking on those that live that life and for them it is perfect. I knew I needed the rollar coaster, like you said. I do thrive on some level of unpredictability and the excitement of new experiences. I am amazed at how many people share our interests in the FS. I am finally meeting people who have traveled so much and love it. I realize now that I never found these people back in the states(the merry go round) because they were already out on the Rollar Coaster (the FS). You are going to love it!!! Maybe not every minute, but I ope most of it : )

LeesOnTheGo said...

I completely agree with what you've so very wittily written! Somehow when the WHOLE WORLD gets opened up to you as a place to live, staying put in a basic American suburb seems like the wasting of a perfectly good life.

We'll all keep our fingers crossed for you that you are part of the next A-100 class that comes around so that you can join us all in this globally nomadic life! It's completely worth all of the preparation it takes to get here. (Including the awkward conversations with suburbanite neighbors who don't "get it").

PS~Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm becoming a follower of yours so will look forward to hearing more about your journey.

Anonymous said...

Remember that there are all sorts of people everywhere. The FS will also have the people who don't get you and are shockingly insulated and comfortable within the expat community. Others will be kindred spirits who prefer snowpants to peacoats.

good luck, and schedule the phone test. it doesnt hurt and can only help. ive only heard of people regretting not testing, not vice versa.