T-10 Days Until We Leave

Everyone in our DC family — Mark, Jack, and me — is having stomach troubles.

Mark’s theory is that it’s stress. I wonder if it’s something in water or food.

But since I arrived in DC last Sunday, we’ve been dealing with some stomach-churning issues: Putting the house on the market and accepting an offer; pursuing the visas we need to head to Mexico after assorted bureaucratic snafus; addressing teacher expectations at Jack’s school in advance of transferring to his new school soon; figuring out the timetable for our week-long cross country drive to Tijuana. The dangling details include what route to take, where to stay affordably with pets, and whether to buy a rooftop carrier (I now understand the whole Mitt Romney dog-on-the-roof-for-family-vacation temptation).

One big help has been commiserating with others in the same boat(s). I had lunch with the wife of one of Mark’s classmates who will also be relocating to Tijuana and we had much to talk about. Later the same day, I got to participate in a videoconference between Tijuana-goers here and folks who are already there. We addressed important questions such as whether you can get US Netflix in TJ (yes), the logistics of crossing the border (easier than it used to be), transportation to Jack’s school on Mexican holidays (we’ll be driving him), and parking at our various housing assignments (yes there’s room for a motorcycle).

Next up, Mark and I leave tomorrow for five days in “crash-bang” training, the euphemistic title for learning how to deal with dangerous situations. Jack won’t be coming, so the additional stressor has been figuring out whom he can contact here in Falls Church in case of a problem. And again, we’re saved by Mark’s buddies in the same boat (and apartment complex) who are happy to be his go-to folks while we’re gone.

So that’s what we’re learning — in this new world, being in the boat together has great advantages. My friend Tammy Woodburn, whose husband’s military career took them through 19 moves in 25 years, pointed this during our recent move: You will find yourself asking virtual strangers for help, and they will give it; they will also be asking you one day. And you will be eager to pay them back.


2 thoughts on “T-10 Days Until We Leave

  1. Hi Fran,
    I stumbled upon your blog today on the AFSA site, and thought I would reach out as I spent part of 3 years in Tijuana from 2009-2012 when my husband was assigned as CG in there. I traveling back and forth from there to Baltimore managing career and child custody. I started my own blog as we were departing post http://wendygblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/ which might give you a little insight (my retrospective) and also where we stopped/stayed cross-country (in the opposite direction) with our 65lb dog that we rescued in Tijuana. Good luck settling in. Let me know if I can answer any questions.


    • Hi Wendy,
      Thank you so much for reaching out! I just visited your blog, read about Tijuana, and followed you.

      I will certainly follow up with any questions. We are just starting our/Mark’s Foreign Service career in our early/mid-50s and, as two former journalists, are looking forward this great sea change. On the other hand, as you can imagine, I’m scared to death. So it’s great to read your reports on both the beauty and challenges of living in new places. I look forward to keeping up with you!


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