I’ve been blogging for so long now that I feel like I’ve written quite a few “And Our Next Post Is” posts. (And I have! Big reveals for Jerusalem, Morocco, Algiers). I’ve even done polls on where my blog readers think we should go. None of that this time. I’ll just come out and tell you: When we’re done with our Algeria posting in summer of 2022, we’ll be moving to Princeton, New Jersey for a year.
Not exactly the exotic overseas postings that you’d expect from a foreign service couple?
The State Department has a program where mid-level Foreign Service Officers can get a public policy Master’s degree from Princeton University. Princeton normally reserves two slots in this program for State Department-nominated candidates. Adam set his sights on this goal, and in typical him fashion, diligently went through all the steps to get there, which included studying for and taking the GRE some months ago. I’m super proud he got in and excited for him that he gets a break from daily office work to be a student. I loved being in graduate school for creative writing so very much that if I could just permanently be a student in various creative fields, I would. He’s gonna love it.
It also feels like a big deal that we’ll actually live in the United States of America again. It’s been a while. I moved from DC to Yemen in 2012, and while we did have a few months back in the U.S. for various trainings, and that time we lived in New York City for three months, this will be for a longer period and the time feels right for it. For one, I’ll be a quick plane ride away from my family in Michigan. It’s insane to me that in the past 10 years, I went from having little baby nieces and nephew to real kid nieces and nephew, one whom is almost a teenager. (I’m also so disappointed that our plan to have the kiddos visit us at Camp Fun Aunt & Uncle every summer just never panned out). It’ll also be great to be in the same time zone as my parents and sister, which will make phone calls and texts easier and more timely. And I’m very much looking forward to being a part of the daily lives of my group of girlfriends, most of whom I’ve remained close with despite not-very-frequent phone calls and time differences and significant life changes. If being abroad has taught me anything, it’s that while having acquaintances is fine and dandy, having intimate friendships is far more nourishing. And there’s my awesome in-laws and sister-in-law, both of whom are on the East Coast. And so many good friends. Really, as I type this all out, it feels a little mad to me that we’ve lived so far away from the people we’ve loved for a decade.
I will embrace so many other things about America too: The big fresh salads, tacos, TJ Maxx, Humbolt Fog on a cracker with fig jam, shrimp cocktail, being able to understand all the conversation on which I eavesdrop, nature trails, city blocks with sidewalks, all the walking, walking, walking.
And what will I be doing during our year in Princeton, as Adam studies? I’m plan to work on my soon-to-be-revealed business, which I’m currently operating as a side hustle to my Embassy job here in Algiers. Also, I really love a good lecture, so I’m going to be sneaking in to a number of those and I will probably be lurking in literary coffee shops and pretending I’m a student. Princeton as a city looks adorable. Of course I’m already a leetle worried about moving out of our four-bedroom Algiers house with a patio and yard and into likely a one-bedroom apartment in Princeton. Where will all our stuff go?! (The answer is the government pays for storage, but it’s still going to be tricky to figure out just what to bring. Probs not our massive Most Beautiful Sofa in the World.
This Algiers tour was three years, and I maintain that a three-year post is the sweet spot. A one-year post, like Rabat, is just too short. Where to after the year in Princeton is still up on the air, but we might know more on that soon.
Until then, there’s lots more of Algeria to enjoy.
To graduate school!