Welcome to my blog!! For those of you who are not familiar with the term “Trailing Spouse,” it refers to a person who follows their spouse (or significant other) for a job opportunity. In my case, I will be following my husband for the adventure of a lifetime – traveling the world together!!
We found out this month that he was offered the position of an Information Management Specialist with the State Department. At this time, we do not know where we are headed – we will find out in December. All I can say is that this process has been loooong (over 2 years since he applied!!). My husband has lived in quite a few countries, so he is familiar with expat life abroad. I, on the other hand, have lived in the U.S. my entire life so this is brand new to me. To prepare myself, I have been reading blogs of other trailing spouses and Foreign Service Officers to get an idea of what life might be like living abroad. Those blogs have been tremendously helpful and have eased my anxiety (somewhat) of living the life of a trailing spouse. This is the reason I started this blog – to share my experiences as a trailing spouse living abroad (in addition to giving friends and family updates on our lives of course).
Some of the challenges of being a Trailing Spouse are moving every 2-3 years (check, for all of my adult life this has been the norm), not knowing where you are headed to next (check, I have not planned a move more than 6 months in advance, so this is the norm), and living in a country where you most likely do not speak the language or know the social norms/culture (ummm well does South Florida count? j/k ).
Of course nothing can truly prepare you for life as an expat trailing spouse, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that my experiences thus far in my 37 years of life have given me an idea of what life is like living abroad. My dad is from South America, I grew up and have lived in areas with a fairly diverse population, I have traveled to Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Central America. I have lived in dry and mild climates (California), hot and humid climates (South Florida), as well as climates with four seasons (Boston). South Florida in particular has prepared me as most of the population is from another country, so it is common to hear Spanish, French, and Russian in my local grocery store and apartment building. My husband’s family also lived abroad in a similar situation moving every 2-3 years for 20+ years, so I have been soaking up advice from them.
My husband is a little over a month away from leaving for A-100 training, so we have lots to do – sell items we do not wish to keep, figure out what we intend to keep, and figure out where the items we intend to keep go (storage, HHE, or UAB). We have been looking up the best banks to have an account with overseas, hustling to get as much debt paid off as we can before leaving, and much more. Since I need to work until the packout date (which can be anywhere from January to June, from what I can gather), it will be very difficult for me to keep focused at work because all I want to do is start this new adventure already!! Stay tuned for the real, awkward, and funny tales of an expat living abroad.