You might say I’m a unique individual

At least, I am unique at our current post.  I knew going into this weird lifestyle that trailing husbands were rare, but ho boy they weren’t kidding.  Here in Shenyang, I’m one of three trailing husbands. One of the others has a house full of kids he’s busy with.  And the third one just left post for a job opportunity.  So, I’m the sole trailing husband with no kids here.  Hey, at least I take care of our cat.

Now, Shenyang is a small post, less than 50 Americans work here.  Presumably the expat demographics in Brussels will be very different, but for now, I’m a man alone.  Not a big issue for me, I tend to be a loner anyway, and Diplowife and I have friends (her coworkers) that we socialize with regularly.  But you should know going in: don’t expect a lot of fellow childless husbands to hang out with.

On the bright side, back at FSI when I went to spouse orientation, there were a lot of other trailing husbands.  So, hopefully the Foreign Service’s demographics are shifting and one day we won’t be such a rarity.

Advertisements

Next, to where!

Sorry I kept you in suspense, busy times with the holidays and all.  Diplowife got her next assignment a couple months ago: we’re going to Brussels!  It was our top choice, head and shoulders above the other Management posts (especially Port Moresby, shudder).  It features our favorite kind of climate (wet, cool, grey), everybody speaks English and it’s a short train ride to most of Western Europe.  I could go on and on about this wonderful news, but I’d feel like I’m bragging.  Suffice it to say, this is as close to an ideal post that I can imagine.

But aside from the climate, culture and food, the subtler aspect to Brussels that agrees with me is the fact that Brussels is a rare “three mission” post.  That means there’s the US Embassy to Belgium, the EU mission, and our mission to NATO.  So the expat community will be huge, compared to Shenyang. So I may actually be able to socialize with other diplo-husbands!  Do others exist?  I’m skeptical.

Plus, the work situation will be far better in Brussels.  Belgium has a bilateral agreement for diplomatic spouses (unlike China), so I’ll be able to work on the local economy.  And the three missions all have jobs I can apply for.  IT jobs, even.  So, to prepare for finding work in Brussels, I’ve applied for work here in Shenyang, so I can get a security clearance (see: future blog post).  Hopefully I’ll have a clearance by the time we leave Shenyang, which may make it easier to find work in Brussels.

Now comes the hard part: spending another year plus in Shenyang, while dreaming of Brussels.