Friday, July 11, 2014

Going Away Parties

Life in the Foreign Service has a lot of strains that just aren't that frequent in 'normal life'. Living overseas is the most obvious, but generally speaking, we're people who joined specifically for that reason... so it naturally doesn't seem so bad. However, a byproduct of moving around so much is the lack of a stable work environment (pretty obvious right?). Having previously worked as a contractor, I never really stayed in the same position for much longer than a year at a time. I thought that would help prepare me for the constant moving in the FS, but now I'm finding that there's a lot more to it than that. Every time I've moved in the past, I was still within easy driving distance of my former coworkers. If I made friends... I'd keep them. The next time I change positions it'll be to another country, possibly even another hemisphere. The chances of regularly seeing any friends I make here is pretty slim for other FSOs and almost nil for LES.

Anyway, I bring this up because of the sheer volume of farewell parties going on around here. I came very early in the transfer season - just in time to watch 50% of the post leave! In the two weeks since I arrived, I've seen several farewell parties of varying formalities. Last week, the IMS I'm replacing threw a pizza party to say goodbye/thanks to LES in our section (and to introduce me to them). This week the LES in our section threw a goodbye/thanks tea party (complete with going away presents) for my predecessor. This week also saw an unofficial going away party at the Consulate General's Residence (CGR), under the guise of "come drink the wine the CG can't bring with her when she departs post this weekend." Finally, we also had the official "Hail / Farewell" party sponsored by the CLO, to welcome the new comers (like me) and say farewell to those leaving this week. Needless to say, I've seen more teary eyes and heard more heartfelt speeches in the last two weeks than I'd been expecting!

Note: The picture is of the spread from the tea party. Out of frame, there is masala chai and extra samosas and chips. They were pretty darn delicious.

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