Work as a Foreign Service Spouse

The most recent big life change: my last day at work was November 20th. It is strange to be done after being with the company for almost six years! Working there was one of the most important learning experiences of my life and I will miss my great co-workers. I am, however, gleefully saying goodbye to the long commute. DC traffic might be number one on the list of things I will not miss!

Someone asked me if I was going to spend the next five weeks sitting on the couch until moving day. I laughed. Since leaving work I’ve already hosted Thanksgiving for 9 people. I’ve scrubbed the house and met with a rental property management agent. I’m attending courses on Protocol (how to address dignitaries and determine what fork to use at fancy dinners), Security Overseas, and Counter Threat Training (which is a week long trip to another part of the state and involves “advanced vehicle handling” and explosives). My Portuguese course ends in a few weeks (É muito divertido!). I’m organizing and taking inventory of all our belongings and identifying shipments for the moving company. I’ll be making at least one trip down to my parents’ to move some storage. I’ve finished all my rounds of recommended vaccines but still need to wrap up physical therapy and final doctor’s appointments. My car needs to be cleaned up and sold; we need to buy a car that can handle safaris and monsoons. We’ll be spending a few days at my grandfather’s for Christmas, and we have family birthdays to celebrate. And I’m seeing the new Star Wars movie, obviously.

All of these things are good, it means we’re making changes and moving forward. This isn’t a list of complaints, just one of many Josh and I are constantly updating to keep track of our tasks. I know that in a month, when I am sitting in a hotel room the last few days before we leave for Africa, I will wonder where the time went and how anything was accomplished.

Leaving work was necessary to prepare for our departure but it was definitely nerve-wracking to know that my paychecks would soon stop and I no longer had a responsibility to be somewhere every day. As the dependent spouse I have no guarantee of work overseas. That is pretty scary, and not all dependents are able to find work. State has a few programs – including the Family Liaison Office, which assists in all aspects of family and social life overseas – to advocate for spousal employment and offer resources and advice. They can help you get certifications that make you more desirable for embassy/consulate jobs, have partnerships with various schools to obtain teaching degrees, and can assist with remote work options. Mozambique allows spouses and family members of State employees to be employed within the country which meant a likelihood of more opportunities for me. The Peace Corps has a presence in Maputo along with a few other NGOs, and there are multiple international schools. I started by applying for jobs at the embassy and had an interview a few weeks ago. Fortunately – and amazingly! – I was offered the job last week. Details have not yet been determined but now I can relax a little. I will be employed again! I’m so looking forward to diving in to and being a part of the community. 39 dias antes de viajar para Moçambique!