10.27.2010

I thought I knew.

When I was in the eleventh grade (16 years old), my dad had at temporary assignment in Moscow, Russia.  During the four months he was away, it was decided that it was going to be a permanent gig.  I was told that we would be leaving for Russia as soon as possible and I probably would not finish the school year.  I was thrilled and couldn't wait to leave.  I mean, I had my friends, but I was ready to move on.  Up to that point my family had moved six times, and starting over was something I looked forward to.  Moving to another country was even more exciting.  I couldn't wait.

I absolutely loved living in Moscow.  I made a lot of friends, had fun exploring Moscow, and loved all of the travelling I was able to do.  I was old enough to appreciate the experiences I had, and old enough to know that we lived without a few of the comforts of home (although I didn't see it that way).  I have always considered myself quite adventurous and willing to try new things and go and live anywhere.

I was the one that suggested this job for Ben.  It was a dream job for Ben, and a great job that would allow me to be able to stay home with the kids and see the world.  A year from the time Ben applied online, he was in training.  Ben's first assignment was to the New York Field Office; we lived in New Jersey.  After a year in New Jersey, we took this assignment to Tijuana.  I felt fully prepared for living outside the United States, since I had done it already.  Besides, we were going to be on the border.  How hard could it be?  Well, I discovered living outside of the United States as a kid and as an adult/parent are two totally different experiences.  Good and bad, it is completely different. 

I am still grateful for this job, but I have realized that I am not as daring as I thought.

I wasn't expecting my reaction.  I never thought I would become less adventurous.  It has been a most humbling experience.  An experience that helped me become a little less judgmental and a little more understanding. 
I really admire those that really are more adventurous and more daring.  Here's to you.  Maybe someday I can be more like you.

I tried to find a picture of Moscow, but most of my pictures are in storage. I found this one of me and my sisters from one of our vacations when we lived in Moscow.

14 comments:

Daniela Swider said...

I think this is the case with most people. We lose some of our adventure spirit as we get older. That's even more pronounced, if we have kids.

But don't be discouraged because the FS folks are a way more adventurous than the average person, so we are far from hopeless, haha!

Jessica said...

I have experienced this kind of enlightenment too. Moving and living in many different countries was exciting while I was growing up. I have tons of wonderful memories and when my hubbie and I first got married I thought I wanted to move around and have the same experience.

But its very different to be the parent in that situation. What I saw as exciting, adventurous and fun as a child, now looks overwhelming, dangerous and isolating. I know that its not something I want to do anymore. It also makes me appreciate my parents even more and it makes my mom seem even more amazing to me!

Lisa said...

I have just started reading a book called Diplomatic Baggage. It's written by a trailing spouse, and it is laugh-out-loud funny. I think you'd enjoy it, since she writes about all the emotions and feelings of isolation that come with following your husband around the world. So, if you're looking for a new book, you should totally read it.

I think it takes a greater sense of adventure to say yes to this career than it does to go because your parents told you to go. So, kudos to you for that. You still got it, girl!

Anja said...

I agree with the comment from Daniele, as we get older and have kids, we are less daring and I think we find comfort in familiarity because it's sometimes better for our kids. Personally, I found myself this past month telling Tim I wanted to go to a haunted house (I used to love that stuff) and then chickened out! Even though it's not really adventurous, things just change. It's not bad, although I do want to get out of this stupid town i'm living in now, but probably to somewhere else in the USA would be nice :)

Tracy said...

I have always thought of you as a daring, adventurous person and always will. You made all those long boring missionary days so much more fun with your spontaneous personality!

A Daring Adventure said...

Look at you! Look at adorably cute little you!!!

Do you know that you look just the same? Seriously. I looked at the picture before I read what you wrote, and I honestly thought that picture was taken very recently.

You are SO YOUNG! :)

p.s. Don't know what you're talking about. You are VERY adventurous. Hello, zip line in the middle of Mexico with no litigation- backed safety laws?! For real?!?!

Brooke said...

Ahh, I have this fear that I will arrive in Casablanca and say "Oh my heck. I'm a wimp. Where's the mall?"

But I totally concur with Daniela - think about the "average" life and then reflect on your adventurousness. Just keep on chugging along :)

Jill said...

Adventure is all about what you make of it. I'd say you're very adventurous ... just look at all your postings from this past year. The move, the vacations, the outings, your recent trip sans kids.

But even more important, is knowing when the adventure is fun or when it's becoming a burden. Knowing when to say when is just an important adventure. Heck, I cried uncle 9 months ago and look at the adventure I'm on now...

Becky said...

I love your writing here for so many reasons. You captured my feelings really well. I have always been pretty adventurous but being here, at this post now, with all its weird situations and things has been really humbling. It has been difficult to live the life we envisioned when we joined the FS but it has been good in lots of ways too. Among them, as you mentioned, I think I have learned some compassion for how hard it can be to get dragged somewhere you don't want to be at first and to build a life anyway.
I hope that when someone is having a hard time, I'll be the first to reach out a hand to lift or offer a shoulder to cry on. And the absolute last to pass judgment on how someone is handling things.

Becky said...

Your post has been included in the weekly State Department Blog Round Up
at:

http://smallbitsfs.blogspot.com/2010/10/i-never-knew-state-department-round-up.html


Thanks for your wonderful contribution!

Becky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Connie said...

There is much we did NOT do when in Egypt when the kids were small. We did a lot, tons!, but we also skipped a lot. People are sometimes shocked and judgmental... but too bad, my opinion is that those relics have been there for 1000's of years, and my kids... not so long and they are a bit more fragile and special to me than old rocks and bricks. If it's fated, we'll go back. As it stands now, we're only a ferry ride away...

spectrummymummy said...

Wonderful post! I crave adventure and moving, but seeing things through my kids' eyes is making me panic a little at the thought of another move. Definitely the places I would have been okay with before kids have turned into a "hell no"! We'll see what happens next!

JCooper said...

You are way more adventurous than me! Just embrace the differences because some day you'll look back on this experience with fond memories. Live it up! :)

BLOG DESIGN BY DESIGNER BLOGS