Believe it or not, fair readers, the Pernal-Cossitt clan has A LITTLE MORE THAN FOUR MONTHS LEFT AT POST. Holy crap, where did the last 18 months go?
Since we arrived at post, we have:
- Celebrated 2 Christmases away from family;
- Celebrated Son’s 3rd and 4th birthdays;
- As of tomorrow will have celebrated our 2nd and 3rd wedding anniversaries here;
- Watched Son transform from a toddler into a kid;
- Missed countless family birthdays, milestones, events, etc.;
- Immersed ourselves in a foreign culture, and become proficient in a foreign language;
- Enjoyed our time traveling around the island and had some really fun experiences;
- Missed the United States like nobody’s business;
- Cursed the Dominican Republic for a variety of things that shave hours off our lives each time they occur; and
- Met and said goodbye to some fantastic people with whom I hope we’ll stay in touch.
It’s hard to believe that we’re the short-timers now. Sure, friends of ours are leaving before we do, but we’re firmly on the “ten FSOs who are leaving soonest” list, and it feels great.
However, in the next 4-plus months we need to:
- Figure out how the hell we’re going to get two dogs back to the United States with all of the restrictions, policy changes, fare hikes, etc. that have happened in the last 2 years;
- Literally HALVE our belongings (it’s a great excuse to throw shit out, this Foreign Service life), since if we don’t do it now, we’re going to become like those crazies on “Hoarders” after a few tours;
- Do a 3-week TDY in London in May (I know, bummer, right?);
- Sell our car (anyone want an FJ Cruiser in the DR?);
- Get to fixing all the incidental wear-and-tear stuff in the house, lest we get billed for it;
- Say goodbye to a lot of great people we’ve met along the way;
- Pack out, check out, and get the heck out; and
- Say “Hasta luego” to the Dominican Republic and get ready for a month on the Maine coast and several months in D.C.
It’s a little bittersweet… to be this close to leaving and only feeling like we’re just getting comfortable. There are numerous things I will not miss about this post that I will not get into here, lest the tigers are reading, but there are a lot of good people here, and once you get outside of the city, the Dominican Republic is downright beautiful. I will look back on our time here fondly, I believe, but not until I’m looking back on the island from the window of an airplane.
I’m not saying all is bad here…. it isn’t. We have a good quality of life that would be otherwise out of reach if we lived in the States. Son is well on his way to becoming bilingual (I sure do hope he keeps up on his Spanish in D.C… any suggestions?), my Spanish has improved immensely, and my wife has had some truly awesome opportunities in the Consular Section and has kicked ass and taken names. I have had the opportunity to do something I love (The Expat Chef), and even made a little money doing it. Basically, for a first tour, this post has kicked some serious ass despite all the little headaches. I’m grateful we had this opportunity, and didn’t end up in Farawayistan, China, or Mexico.
This said, I cannot wait to get back home for a little while. I want to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family, I want to eat Chic-Fil-A, Popeye’s, Waffle House, cheese steaks, good beef, and countless other things I’ve missed. I want to have 200 choices presented to me when I go buy a six-pack (instead of 6), have 100 choices when I want to pick up some cheese (instead of 10, most of which are not very good), be able to get good bread, meats, hardy greens, ASPARAGUS, veggies, sweet potatoes, and ginger ale (notice a food-related trend here?).
Living abroad with the Foreign Service has a lot of ups and downs. The best part of it, however, is heading home. And we’re in the home stretch.