Today was the last day at post for one of my coworkers, who is the first FSO of this year’s summer transfer season to leave post for her next assignment. She and her husband, whom she met here in Juarez, are headed to a great job in a nice, European capital via Washington, DC for 8 months or so of language training. It’s bittersweet to see them go, since it’s sad to say goodbye but exciting to see them setting off on a new adventure in a great place.
It varies from post to post, but we have a really good FS community here in CDJ. I think that a lot of it has to do with the shared challenges of living and working here, but also the really great local and foreign service staff that we have here at post. I remember that one of the first social events I went to here in Juarez was a party at this officer’s house and thinking at the time about how much the great community of foreign service personnel and locally engaged staff here helped me feel welcome and get settled in after I arrived.
Saying goodbye is a constant theme in the foreign service and is one of the more difficult parts of it for me. I spent a lot of time with my A-100 classmates while I was in DC for A-100 ang language training but then had to say goodbye to almost all of them as we all went off to different posts, though a couple of awesome classmates were also posted to Juarez. Now, I’m starting to have to say goodbye to people who have been good friends and a great support system for the past year. Most tours are two or three years long and you will be saying goodbye to a lot of your coworkers over the course of those two or three years. Anyone who got to post before you will likely leave post before you do and then you leave post and say goodbye to the local staff and the foreign service officers and specialists who arrived at post after you did. It’s hard to get so close to people just to have to say goodbye to them after a year or two and to not know when you’ll see them again.
The good news is that I will likely cross paths with many of the foreign service officers and specialists again at some point. Many of us will end up serving together at posts or in DC, overlapping at FSI for language training, or just visiting each other at some point. So, it’s probably not saying goodbye forever in most cases. It’s still hard and still sucks a little though.