Zut alors! I was supposed to check in with this blog a week after the last post. Somehow the week turned into two, then three, then a month, then two.
Long story short: we’re back together. I finally live in the same country as my husband. It’s been a long year, but it’s over. We made it.
For those who haven’t been following the saga – in July 2011 I left Nicaragua, where my husband was posted, to accept an offer to join the Foreign Service. I was thrilled since this is something I’d wanted to do since I was a teenager. He stayed in Nicaragua to finish his first tour while I moved back to DC to start A-100. When Flag Day came in August, I was so relieved to get a one year domestic assignment working at Main State. The timing worked perfectly and the position was a great fit for me.
I found a cute studio apartment in the Woodley Park area and began my new life as a single-married-woman after 7 years of marriage. And I’ll be honest, there are some perks of living alone: Cooking whatever I want even if it doesn’t “go” together, reading in bed with the light on for as long as I want, watching every episode of Chopped and the Bachelorette, taking up the entire closet with my clothes.
But there are clear disadvantages. I missed my best friend. I missed planning activities together on the weekend, trying new restaurants, cooking for someone else, having someone to go with me to the gym, and just staying in with someone on a lazy Friday night after a long week.
Thankfully we saw each other 9 times over the year, making an average of about 6 weeks between visits. I visited Nicaragua twice, the rest he visited me in DC or we met up somewhere else. The shortest visit was our weekend rendezvous in NYC in early April. The longest visit was over Christmas and New Years. Because of the miracles of technology we were able to talk almost every day and use FaceTime to see each other.
The year certainly wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as hard as I expected. First of all, the time zones are very close. Half of the year we were only one hour different. I can’t imagine how much more complicated communication would be if he was outside of the Western Hemisphere. Talking to someone in Asia, or even in Europe, takes a lot more planning (and being awake at strange hours). Also, it helped that I knew what his life was like in Nicaragua, and he knew what I was going through in DC. The fact that we don’t have kids, and that we were both totally on board with the decision to be apart for one year certainly helped make things less difficult.
I know there are many separated tandem couples out there or couples split by an unaccompanied tour that are in much harder positions. This time apart has also given me a greater appreciation for my single colleagues. More hands really do make lighter work, and moving is hard all by yourself. Sometime you need to be in two places at once – at work in a meeting, and at home overseeing a pack out or getting the gas turned on. I’m sure singles get tired of asking people for help, even if people willingly say yes. It’s nice to have someone “built in” that is going to help tackle things together. If this year has taught me anything, it’s that each of us is fine apart, but we’re definitely better together.
So we finally made it. We started language training this month in preparation for heading to Haiti next summer (more on that later).