My Adventures as a U.S. Diplomat and Family Man

First Stop: Tel Aviv, Israel (July 2012)!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pleasant Living at Oakwood's Diploville

Don't get the wrong idea from my last blog. I'm still yearning to head out to my first overseas post but I really can't complain about life over the last eight months. Several experiences over the past couple weeks have reminded me how good my family and I have it at Oakwood's Falls Church facility.

The people we've met here have been one of the definite highlights. Yesterday was my son's birthday party and almost all of his friends who attended were kids of other Foreign Service Officers. It's to be expected that six-year old-boys will act like six-year-old boys at times but I couldn't help but notice how nice and well behaved they all were. Even though these kids enjoy many spoils both here and abroad, I'd bet that "diplo-brats" in the true sense of the word are few and far between. I'd like to think this has something to do with the parents rather than some genetic predisposition.

Speaking of which, my wife and I have also also become friends with a number of diplomats through Oakwood, most of whom are newbies like me but also a few seasoned veterans. It is quite an interesting social engineering experiment, come to think of it, to stick a collection of collegial cohorts within such a close vicinity. I can't think of any instances of drama that you would normally find in an apartment complex. No fights over tennis courts, parking spots or grilles. No raunchy behavior in the pool or hot tub (at least that I know of). There is no way a reality show about Foreign Service temporary housing could ever compete with the likes of "Jersey Shore" (this is a family-oriented blog so I didn't link to any racy YouTube clips of Snooki).

Is the "diplo-bubble" I'm describing starting to sound a little creepy--kinda like this scene from The Stepford Wives? I admit that living at Oakwood does feel like a compound and free donuts in the clubhouse every Sunday morning has become something of a religious calling for us. Rest assured though that the only cult the residents here subscribe to is a commitment to serving our country overseas in a professional way. There's a reason why we are called Foreign Service Officers

I've also witnessed a tremendous sense of determination and solidarity within the Foreign Service. On Friday I received a update from one of my A-100 classmates, who was diagnosed several months ago with a mango-sized tumor on her heart. She has already endured chemotherapy but now is about to face major surgery in hopes of removing it. I've been deeply moved not only by her perseverance but also the support she has received from others. So the very least I can do for her now would be to encourage other Foreign Service Officers who may be reading this blog to consider donating annual leave here (via the intranet) that she can use during for her long road ahead of treatment and recovery.

Sorry to end on that sober note. I'll be back in a month or so with a new blog as I wind down my language study. Mrs. DiploDad will also be finishing her language in the not-so-distant future. I'm still lobbying her to do a guest blog by the way. To get a sense of what she'll go through when she tests, read this funny blog by the spouse of another colleague.

Signing off from Pleasantville!        

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