Someone we met at the Embassy once likened us to Freshman in college — we arrive all doey-eyed and new, and in four years we’ll be running the place like Seniors. And the atmosphere is a bit collegiate: there are numerous events to get people together, excursions for large groups, a monthly newsletter, and a special office dedicated to helping families connect and get settled in. I remember those first few months of college just getting inundated with new people, new places, new clubs to join and parties to attend. There’s a lot less alcohol involved this go around — I mean, I do have two children to look after now — but I feel like I’m making friends faster here than anywhere else we’ve ever moved to, almost to an overwhelming degree. Which is great for my socialite personality, but also comes with its own challenges. Particularly for my introverted hubby. While I’m thriving in the go-go-go atmosphere of this place, I can tell he needs some time to himself. In fact, now that I think of it, his Freshman college experience was very different from my own: he lived at home, commuted to school and worked 40 hours a week at the bookstore. I lived in the dorms, joined student government and the ACLU (briefly), and went to parties every SINGLE weekend. Another thing I remember: I was usually EXHAUSTED. There was so much to do and see that many times I’d overdo it.
So that’s why I’m counting on the yin-yang aspect of our marriage to kick in here. I encourage James to get out and about, and he reminds me that we need some time to rest. He has agreed to attend the Ambassador’s Easter party and the Marine’s Trivia Night with me, but on the weekday evenings we always relax at home. We try our best to do sight-seeing on the weekends, but we also recognize when the kids need a break. Although Liam has surprised me — he’s introverted like his daddy, but he loves getting out to sight-see in the city. Especially when there’s a Metro train involved. He and James are having a special father-son outing today: Liam gets to ride the train and see the National Gardens while James hunts for another English-language bookstore. This one is a like a bloodhound with bookstores. I have no doubt he’ll find it….and buy way too many books.