Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

In Which I Finally Admit I'm Not Doing So Awesome

It's been a bit of a roller coaster for me, personally, these past few months.

I hate to be a downer in my writing, and I keep trying to look at things in the positive, but in less than a month, I'll be leaving our Cairo post to return to the U.S., without my family.  For six months.  And while it is definitely the best choice for us, it is still heartbreaking.

Just a sweet moment with my favorite toddler.
Sure, I've outlined it all before.  My speciality RN certifications are expiring in April and I can't get them all renewed outside of the U.S.  My elusive arthritis diagnosis - received in November - means I need a specialist.  And time.  Time to get on the right meds,  time for follow-up appointments, time for additional testing. But what I don't have here is time.  The longer I wait, the worse it gets.  I need to sort through the diagnosis with a specialist and make decisions about the treatments sooner rather than later.  And of course, my Army Reserve annual training needs to be completed before we move to D.C. in August (the fab hubby's next assignment is in D.C.).

As an added bonus, my early return to the U.S. creates a financial safety net for our family.  Most of us in the Foreign Service know what a money suck the D.C. area can be for families.  My returning solo to the U.S. to accomplish the above also allows me the opportunity to accept a pretty lucrative RN contract assignment.  Which means we'll be able to pad up the savings account for the costs associated with our upcoming move, home leave time, and the impending cost of living in D.C.  We need some furniture.  We need another vehicle.  Cell phones, winter clothes, all sorts of things that we've not needed overseas. We've all be in this predicament, right?  Every move - EVERY move - means $$$ out the door, hand over fist, no matter how much of it is covered by our travel orders.  Our family is just lucky enough to be able to proactively do something about it.

It's all awesome, right, how things are just coming together?  Kids and the fab hubby will finish up the assignment here.  The big kids will have completed two full continuous years at the same school, a first for them (we moved every single year 2008-2010).  We have amazing friends here to help out.  We have household help.  It will still be hard for the hubby, but manageable.  And in August, we all hook back up in D.C.

All I have to do is just get through six months.  Working a job I love (ER).  In my favoritist place in the world (I totally love L.A. more than anywhere else I've been.).

But I have to do it alone.

See?  Once you throw that itty bitty, seemingly harmless word out in the mix, the whole entire thing seems awful.  Alone.

It's not that I don't have the support to do this, because I definitely do.  The fab hubby, the kids, our family, and our friends - especially our very understanding FS and military friends - are completely supportive.  I even have some friends who live in L.A. who have been amazingly supportive, and friends who plan to visit me while I'm there.

But I just can't shake this awful aching feeling that for six months, six very long months, I won't see the kids or my amazing husband.  That no matter how great the entire situation is - how lucky we are to even have this kind of option - I'm still sad about it.  Heartbroken.

I hate that doing the right thing right now means that I have to leave them for a bit.  I try not to focus on it - but it's hard.  I know I can do it, and I know that we'll all get through it.  But it doesn't change the fact that it will be hard - and not just for me.  The kids are resilient - they've been through this kind of shindig before.  But I know it's tough for them.  I especially worry about our toddler -because he's just a bit too young to understand really what's going on.  As for me and the hubby?  We've done this before, and we know how incredibly strong we are.  We also know all too well how painful - but not impossible - this is.

And so I'm struggling with it - trying to come to terms, acceptance, of all it.   In the end, we'll all be better off for it.  And our time in D.C. (two whole years together as a family!) will certainly be easier because of it.  But it doesn't change how hard this is going to be.

I've got just a bit over three weeks before I leave.  I've signed an RN contact with an agency and I'll be working for the same hospital I worked at when we last lived in L.A.  I've got some leads on a vehicle and an apartment.  All the organizing minutia of this move is going well - Embassy HR has been awesome at working to get me orders and hopefully soon, I'll have plane tickets.  That kind of stuff is coming together just fine.  (Thankfully, because every one in the FS knows how easy it is for that kind of stuff to go awry.  Truthfully, until I'm holding airline tickets in my hand, I'll still waiting for it to do so...)

This morning, the fab hubby and I took the big kids to see "The Hobbit" at the theater.  Owen was particularly excited because at the concession stand, you could buy slushies.  He said: "Mom! Egypt is getting more modern!  They sell slushies!"  I had no idea that slushies were a sign of modernity, but whatever.  It was a great moment and time with my kid.  Abby clung on to me during the scary parts of the movie and shared some popcorn with me.  The fab hubby was a bit cheeky and held my hand.  I totally love that we've been married 14 years, and we still hold hands.

Cherishing every moment I can, no matter how small.  But then I realize it IS the small moments we cherish the most...

Crazy hair.  Crazy smile.  Dang, I love him.

Cold Stone Creamery in Cairo?  Yes, please!

And our almost- tween trying to look cool while
digging into his Cold Stone treat.


  1. Ohh I just wish I could give you a big hug from across the internet right now!

  2. What a tough spot to be in, knowing it is for the best but still being sad. I think this too is part of the FS, but knowing that others have gone and will go through separations doesn't make it any easier. Hugs!

  3. One day at a time. August will be here before you know it and think of how sweet that family reunion is gonna be! Sending hugs to you and your family. So happy for all the wonderful support you all are getting.

  4. Thinking about you a lot lady - and know that this can't be an easy decision. Of course, I also know that you are one tough cookie ... and despite the miles and the separation, that both you AND your family will survive this mini separation just fine! Sending lots of love. And as much sanity as I'm willing to share ... xx

  5. I've been thinking of you tons, like Jill. And I'll admit, I'm a teensy bit jealous. The idea of living alone? In LA? With NO KIDS? And no husband? And no one to take care of but myself. Ummmm....you want a roommate?! Haha! But, maybe we could visit?!

    Are you going to try to visit Cairo at the halfway point or anything? Or come to DC for a house hunting trip? If so, DEF let me know and I'll make a plan with Jill and Jen and we'll all have a meal or drinks or both. You're going to make it. You're going to see a great team of doctors and you're going to start feeling better. You get to go RUNNING. In LA. You can do RACES and not feel guilty about leaving your family. You can join a gym! You can eat cereal for dinner!

    Seriously - I'm a good roommate! I'm a good cook! ;-)