A foreign service lifestyle is demanding and stressful. Many of us are moving to places we've never been too for, and in some cases, places we've never heard of before.
We are leaving behind our family, friends and much that is familiar to us.
It seems to me one of the few ways to remain sane (assuming we had some semblance of sanity before arriving - a large assumption in some cases, I suppose) is to make friends with the people at post, American or native.
If only it were that easy. Foreign service life is never that easy. There is always a curveball in store.
On Thursday morning, one of the families that we had become very close to moved back to the States.
The end of their tour will not mark the end of our friendship, but it highlights one of the frustrations of this lifestyle. During a short six-week period, we made new friends only to watch them leave.
I'm not trying to be overly dramatic about this. They weren't our only friends here, and they might not even have been our closest friends. But they are good friends to us, and having to say "See ya in a long later," after such a short period of getting to know each other hardly seems fair. It is enough to make you wonder what the point is sometimes. Should we only attempt friendships with those who arrive about the same time we did because we both will be here for a while. No time wasted in short acquaintances.
Of course not. Actually, I think that just goes to show how awesome this family was. When we arrived, they could have said, "Welcome, good luck, we're leaving in six weeks." They could have said even less than that.
But not only did they choose a different, more sociable route; they allowed themselves to make a connection with us. These are the type of people you want to make friends with.
I don't know when our paths will cross again. Probably not for a couple of years. Possibly longer. But I will miss them and look forward to a reunion. And this after just six weeks of knowing each other.