Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Sisterhood

I am new to the FS blogging world, but thankfully for the blogging rock star behind Life After Jerusalem, I am "meeting" more and more women like myself. And yes, more men and officers. But for me, right now, it is reading the words of other wives and mothers that help me feel part of this sisterhood. A sisterhood that now helps to sustain me.

This past Friday was Flag Day for the 156th (the day where first post assignments are announced), and I checked in on some blogs to see where people were being sent. When I got to A Diplomat's Wife entry, I was crushed. I think it is fair to say that she was less than excited and quite shocked about their assignment.

Dear A Diplomat's Wife -

I don't know you, but on the day our husbands took their first (unofficial) oath, we joined a sisterhood of sorts. One of trailing spouses. One where we are always introduced as so-and-so's wife. Throw a kid or two (or more??) into the mix and then you become so-and-so's mom. Our identities muddled, murkier than before. Not worse, just different.

I want to sit down with you tonight and hold your hand. Or pour you a stiff drink or coffee, maybe? Perhaps you would care for some cookie dough...raw? It will get better, I promise.

I remember absolutely everything about my own Flag Day. I remember thinking we were heading one way, and having the wind knocked out of me to learn they had turned the plane around and I was now heading into (for me) uncharted territories. I was terrified. I knew little to nothing about our post and feigned a smile and excitement for the rest of the day when everyone kept telling me how much I would love Vietnam.

I kept thinking...where is Vietnam again? Will they have organic milk or any milk at all there? What about sandwich bread and dentists? What if there are no Christmas trees or internet?

I felt the same terror when I exited the Saigon airport this past May with my toddler and 9 week old. The heat and humidity left me breathless, and even though I had researched and packed and prepared, I was still stunned. I couldn't believe where I was standing.

And now, five months in, this territory is no longer completely uncharted, and I did, as everyone warned me, fall in love with Vietnam, and our post in particular. (And if you are curious, there is awesome, free-range organic milk, french bread galore, good dentists, Christmas trees and quite nice internet).

I am by no means an expert on this whole FS life, and I know we each have to find our own way, but I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. And I really do think that you will look back on this Flag Day post in one year and be amazed at how much you have accomplished in a year. And I will remain hopeful and confident you will thrive there, as I am thriving here.

Welcome to the sisterhood - I really do think you will like it here with us, and in your future home.

Love, Meredith


  1. this is so kind. I have been thinking of her tonight, too.

  2. I am sure she'll soon find out that it all works out in the end somehow. As long as you have your family and friends, you can make anywhere home.

  3. Meredith you are such a treasure and your words could not be more perfect....I too find such solace in knowing we are in this together! And from a spouse that forgot that our hardship post was even on the list...amazingly, somehow, it really does all work out for the best! (Miss you M!) xoxo

  4. Thank you. This was exactly what I needed to hear. We are doing well here and are getting excited for our move. But what a shock and I'm sure it will hit me a few more times before we get settled in there. Thank you again.

  5. Love this post! I was terrified when I stepped out of the airport in Manila when we arrived too. Scared to leave our apartment for the first week. Two and a half years later tears come to my eyes thinking about having to move away from the Philippines. Milk is my top priority as well. We will not have milk at our next post in Ethiopia so I'm normal. I'm sure I'll learn to love it there too.

    Amen for the sisterhood!

  6. I love you for being a sister to so many of us who need you so desperately. You are wonderful, my dear "sister", and I am so very lucky to know you.