It’s been 77 days since we found out where our adventure is to be on the infamous Flag Day. My husband has joined the Diplomatic Corps with the State Department and Flag Day is the day that concludes one life and simultaneously begins the next one.
A room with the 100 candidates plus about 150 other friends and family is full, sort of stuffy, and filled with anxiety. The candidates walked in as my sister and I, along with our three children under the age of three sit on the back row, ready to escape if needed.
The candidates walk in, then later enters a panel of officers bearing a tray of 8″ flags from every country… to be distributed one by one to the men and women in suits.
The preparation for this day on my part was to support my husband and to research the cities that were on the list. Our goal was to group the available posts into categories: high, medium, and low…where do you want to go? The cities had names I had barely heard of, the countries were a bit more familiar. Researching the livability of each one was eye opening….and I was sure that we were bound for Africa.
And so the announcements commenced and one at a time the counselors were called to the front by name and the flag for the country was raised, determining our fate. People were happy and sad…openly thrilled and quietly hiding awe at where they were posted.
The person in charge of the list was about 70 percent through the list and my husband’s name still hadn’t been called. I glanced at the spreadsheet in my lap, where I had been feverishly marking off the posts where others were assigned and it became clear that what remained was either Africa or Brazil. I whispered these two options to my sister and we raised our eyebrows in tandem.
Then, they called my husband’s name and Recife, Brazil, was attached to us….a green and yellow flag coming down the aisle.
Recife is not the town most people think of in Brazil, including me. My husband came and kissed me and said that he thought it was a beach town. Little did we know in that moment of bliss and optimism that we were going to one of the posts in the State Dept. that offers beach front living….oh what a wonderful way to start our globetrotting adventure!
At the time, I was simply relieved as the departure date was convenient and Brazil was not on our “low” list. That is all I knew.
I called my boss, who was waiting with bated breath, then posted to Facebook and texted my closest friends. Recife, Brazil, here we come.
Now it’s been 77 days and I’m sitting in my house in Atlanta, hoping it will sell soon. My husband is in Portuguese training in D.C., and my daughter and I are joining him in a couple of weeks.
It is surreal to think about going to Brazil to live there.
It is surreal to leave a home I love.
It is surreal to leave a job that I created for myself.
It is surreal to leave my support system and my cherished friends.
It’s been 77 days since Flag Day. In 77 days, I’ll be in D.C., on a new routine, in a new life, making new friends, ready to welcome a new member to our family, and still dreaming of living far away in a beautiful place.