Pass The Tissues

The tears.  They just keep falling.  And the ugly cry?  With the runny nose and the big heaving sobs?   Oh yes.  We Perl Girls have no problem showing our emotional side.

I hate goodbyes.  It's one of my least favorite things in this Foreign Service lifestyle.  Especially here in the States where many of our friends are living in their forever homes, and our short Stateside tour near them is on borrowed time.

In less than 6 hours we will be on a plane to El Salvador.  The culmination of 18 months of planning coming to an abrupt end in far fewer hours than a 5-year old child's attempt at a good night sleep.  As much as we are all looking forward to our new adventures, these past 24 hours with so many of our nearest and dearest friends have reminded us how lucky we have truly been. 

From a rockin' dinner and sleepover with Riley's bestest friends and their families, to a friend who opened her house while she was out of town for me to do our stinky camp laundry, to endless friends stopping by our hotel to give us hugs and wish us well, to an angel of a girlie who helped me deliver Matt's car to its new owner and pack several bags while I laid on the floor for 2 hours with a splitting headache, to our last supper with Grady's group of preschool friends and their families who have become my dearest circle of girlfriends. 

Despite being ready to go for so very long, it is always hard to leave.  Especially when you see your daughters' fiercely hug their besties goodbye while the tears of love and friendship, sadness and apprehension fall from their cheeks.  There is no way to adequately describe the roller coaster of emotions we are all feeling tonight. 

Thankfully this isn't goodbye.  Only until we meet again ...


This ...

... THIS makes my waiting ... my anxiousness ... my loneliness worth it.

The smiles on their faces.  The pure joy.  The unabashed exuberance visible in every picture of them I see. 

As we prepare to take them away once again from a house they called home, a community in which they were entwined, and friends who were like family.  The one constant they have is this.

Memories for them that will last a lifetime.  Or at least until next summer.



The hardest part about moving is the waiting period. 

It starts once you submit your bid list, then you wait ... until you're paneled by DS.  You wait to be HR paneled.  You wait to hear from post; for a housing assignment, a social sponsor, employment opportunities and information about schools.

You wait for your Travel Orders, your airline tickets, your seat assignments.  For your Travel Tech to coordinate your pack-out, the movers to pack up your house and ship your belongings.

You put your house on the market and you wait for it to sell.  You wait for the inspection to be complete, for the radon mitigation system to be installed, for the buyers to agree to a mutually beneficial closing date.

You wait to finish language school, for your two sets of passports to be completed, for the information in the USG computer system to be updated.

You wait for your girls to finish school, for sleep-away camp to begin, for sleep-away camp to end, for the minutes to pass by as you sit by yourself in your tiny hotel room, while your husband has already been at your new post, in your new home for three weeks. 

On November 9, 2012 we learned we'd be moving to San Salvador for our next three year assignment.  One year and 9 months ago to the date ... and I am STILL in limbo of our next adventure.

The waiting period has never been this long.  After completing his unaccompanied tour in Afghanistan, home leave, seven months of language training and time-filling bridge assignments, we've had 21 months where our future has been (so-to-speak) on hold.  I'm anxious.  I'm irritable.  I'm lonely.

It isn't the same as when Matt returned to Herat after his three-week R&R.  But rather, it's the out-of-body experience of watching my life being lived as I'm in 'no-mans-land' waiting.

My Foreign Service and Expat friends understand. We all know what the transition period is like.  From when a person finds out where they're moving until they clean out their fridge and give you the frozen Butterball Turkey they've been hoarding, because they KNEW you couldn't find one and you needed it for next Thanksgiving.  How the summer cycle moves are never really goodbye, but rather, "until we meet again," as you're sure to do ... like when you visited your friends in Budapest, in Barbados, in Kuwait, in Dubai.  Or when your family and friends visited you in Oman, in Israel, and of course, in India

Here in Virginia.  In Ashburn.  It's been a different experience.  The bevy of questions about our move starting in February.  The calls, texts, Facebook comments and invitations slowly dwindling by June as the friends pull away and invest their time in someone local.  The Wisteria Lane neighbors caring more about how much our house sold for rather than offering any help. 

While the girls are off at camp, making friends and building memories, in this studio 'home-tel' room I wait.  Rather impatiently.  For 11 more days.  As I dream of our impending future.  The short plane ride.  Clearing customs.  The drive to our new home and new life.

Though I enjoy Chubby Checker's Limbo Rock, I look forward to the next song coming on the radio, for I'm just about as low as I can go.  


And Then There Were TWO ...

We coordinated her bunk requests and our arrival to camp with Sheridan's BFF.  After checking in, unpacking her bags, and snapping a bunch of photos, she bid me a quick farewell.  With nary a kiss goodbye. 

I think know she's going to thrive these next two weeks.  I only wish I could be the fly on the wall to watch her soar.   

 Rachel, Annie and Sheridan.  Three musketeers from the last two years at Camp Louise!

Two weeks left for everyone.  For Sheridan and Riley at camp.  For Grady and I at the hotel.  Two weeks.  So close, yet still so very far away ...


And Then There Were Three ...

This girl.  She amazes me.  

Two years ago she went away to an all-girls, Jewish sleep away camp for three weeks, bunking with two girls from school.  She came home beaming from ear to ear, begging to go back the next summer.

Last year she went to her all-girls, Jewish sleep away camp for three weeks, knowing a few girls from camp, but no one in her bunk.   She came home beaming from ear to ear, begging to go back the next summer.

This summer?  She left for four weeks, not knowing anyone at camp, as all of her friends are going for the three week session at the end of July.  She said she'd be fine as she'd have no problem making new friends and building new memories.

There is just something so cool about sending your daughter away to sleep away camp and allowing her to spread her wings. Why yes, four weeks is a wicked long time. But when I check the camp website every morning, (religiously at 9:30 am ...) see all the amazing activities they're doing and then find the photos of her smiling and hugging new friends, I get verklempt. 

Fly baby fly.  And don't forget to write your momma!!


Slowly But Surely, Everything Is Heading South And Falling Into Place!

First our belongings were sent.

Then our car left town.

Last Wednesday morning, at O'dark thirty, Matt got on a plane and left for El Salvador a month ahead of us.  We miss him already.  

And thank goodness I had the foresight when I bought Matt's Jeep to register it in my name.  Who knew I'd be stuck selling it on my own a year later (um ... aside from me).  This ad on our Foreign Service Facebook Group and Craigslist seemed to do the trick.  Car sold in less than 6 hours!

2013 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited

Moving to or in the surrounding DC area and want a wicked fun car to drive this summer and beyond? Our move to San Salvador next month is YOUR gain. This excellent condition, black, 4-door Jeep has 14,600 miles and was purchased just 13 months ago as a gift for my husband's completion of a 2nd Unaccompanied Tour. The Jeep was driven to/from FSI for language training and a bridge assignment in Rosslyn, and since my husband passed his class after listening to Spanish Podcasts on the drive, this Jeep comes with extra Mojo!

The hard top comes off in 3 pieces ... two of them over the drivers seats as an "extended sunroof", which takes less then 3 minutes to undo (with or without your spouse). The rest of the top comes off with a little help from a friend or two and can easily be stored in a garage (when it's not raining outside and you can actually enjoy the weather). Though I digress ... I should also mention that it seats 3 kids (with at least 1 in a car seat) perfectly in the back row, and the rear view mirror easily tilts so you can see your kids when you're disciplining them through clenched teeth.

Kelly Blue Book values this Jeep anywhere between $33K - $33,900K, but can be yours for the no haggle price of $32K.  Email Jill at mjperlman@me.com if you're interested. Serious buyers only please as I'm hotel bound with 3 kids while my husband has already departed to post. Lucky SOB.


NY, Muscat, Tel Aviv, Chennai, Baghdad (ISMA in CA), DC, Herat (ISMA in DC), FSI, San Salvador (in 4ish weeks - though not soon enough).

Let the countdown begin!


The Sexy Side Of Hotel Living

Too much cr*p crammed into a small room.

Breakfast is provided every morning and dinner, which includes 2 FREE cocktails, is provided Monday - Thursday evening.  #Imayneverwanttoleave

We go to breakfast in our robes and PJs everyday.  We know every family staying here with pets!

We even eat ice cream in bed and watch cr*p TV at night.  #shhhh #don'ttelldad #bestmomever

We swim in the hotel pool ... sometimes twice a day. 
It's always fun taking your son into the girls bathroom where he notoriously belts out a LOUD question or three.  Today's were, "Hey mom, what is a tampon for?"  Followed up with, "I can't reach the paper towels, but I see a napkin here.  Hey mom, do you have money for a napkin?"

Gotta love a 5 year old who is excited to have his own bed.  Thankfully he doesn't care that it's just a couch in the sitting area in between the two bedrooms ... and he can sleep through all the commotion of us out and about.

Got passports?  We sure do ... and in 3 weeks I know we'll be ready to use them!

Blog Designed by: NW Designs