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Life at Post

  • Life as a DCM's Spouse
    If you’ve been in this game long enough to be bidding on DCM jobs, you know something about the position and why your spouse is interested in bidding on it. But this particular job also generates real labor for you, the spouse. Whether it’s making sure the staff can handle events at your house several [...]
  • An Easy Solution to Online Payments
    Send Payments to Anyone Online Having recently moved back overseas, I have been reminded of how crucial a tool the Internet can be. From organizing the move itself, to paying bills on my phone via our bank application, I am very lucky that we do not have to stress about mail delays or worries that [...]
  • Dealing with Winter Blues
    It’s that time of year again. In northern latitudes, the days are now getting shorter and colder. Some people love the onset of winter, but others dread the coming months. For those of us with Seasonal Affective Disorder, AKA “winter blues,” the changing seasons mean months of fighting off lethargy, aches and pains, and crankiness. [...]
  • 10 Ways to Adjust Faster to a New Post
    If you moved this summer, you might find some of the following tips useful. Share your own on AAFSW’s Facebook page, or send them to me at! 1. Strike a balance between exploring and recovering. To move forward in your adjustment, you need to get out and meet people, explore, try new things … [...]
  • Bringing a Newsletter into the 21st Century
    In March of 2012, Katie Torrence, the co-Community Liaison Office Coordinator at US Embassy Brasilia, happened across the Kalemegdan Khronicle, a blog run by the Belgrade CLO. Katie contacted the Belgrade CLO for advice on her excellent online resource, and approached Morgan Loosli, the Brasilia embassy newsletter editor at the time, regarding setting up a [...]
  • Build a Community Website with WordPress
    Does your overseas post need a community website? A place where useful links and English-language advice can be easily shared among all members of the community–including all the spouses/partners at post who do not have ready access to the intranet? If you are (very) lucky, then your post has already done the work for you. [...]
  • Why You Need a Virtual Private Network
    When my in-laws moved to Bangladesh for their first Foreign Service assignment in 1977, leaving America meant leaving everything–from family to financial institutions–behind. Back then, people used telegrams, handwritten letters and long-distance phone calls to manage their affairs and to keep in touch with loved ones in the US. Unfortunately, even with home leave to [...]
  • Social Networking at Post
    A Great Idea We’d Like to Share Foreign Service family member Liz Amen has written up her experience of starting an Embassy community Facebook page in Brasilia for our newsletter, Global Link. We think it is such a good idea that we decided to share her article online as well, in hopes that it will [...]
  • Singles Speak Out
    We asked and you answered! The Family Liaison Office’s (FLO) first ever survey of singles in the Department clearly struck a chord, as evidenced by the 973 responses received over a period of two weeks. The survey was designed by FLO’s Crisis Management and Support Officer to assess singles’ use of and satisfaction with Community [...]
  • Using Taxis Safely Overseas
    Taking a taxi overseas can be a serious security risk. Gone are the days when a friendly cabbie would eagerly take you safely to your destination. Today many cab drivers are part of criminal gangs that prey on unsuspecting expatriates and tourists. Crimes committed can include armed robberies, physical assaults and kidnappings. Single female victims [...]
  • Unicycles, Rubber Chickens and Kilns
    The Makings of a Foreign Service Home By Leslie Ashby Whoever thought to tell a man by his shoes never checked out his Household Effects (HHE) or Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB). Foreign Service families like us are on the move every few years, and with us, most of our stuff. What we chose to bring [...]
  • Get Your Household Into Shape for the New Year!
    “Lose weight” is a typical New Year’s resolution. It carries special significance in the Foreign Service. In just a few months, many of us will be packing up to move. Will your shipment weigh in under the limit? Will you be moving from a spacious tropical house to a tiny European apartment or DC-area townhouse?  [...]
  • Overcoming Jet Lag
    by Kate Goggin It’s 2 AM and jet lag has hit me squarely between the eyes. Wide-awake with a raging headache, it suddenly seems the perfect time to write my column. After some cursory research, I learn I am not alone at this hour. Around the world travelers are trying all sorts of measures to [...]
  • Playgroup with a Purpose
    By Jan Fischer Bachman You’ve been posted overseas, and the only preschool with acceptable standards costs $15,000 a year. Other than take out a second mortgage, what can you do? The Nassau Home School Preschool In The Bahamas we joined the “Home School Preschool,” which had already been functioning for a number of years. The [...]
  • Coping with Nonstop House Guests
    by Patricia Linderman Dear Personal and Confidential, We are at an attractive post and have non-stop guests — and I am going crazy! It’s expensive to feed and entertain everyone, and we’re all irritable and exhausted. Help! --Crazy in the Caribbean Dear Crazy: I sympathize with you completely. The main problem here, unfortunately, is a [...]
  • Home Leave is No Vacation
    by Kate Goggin I’m going home for a visit this summer and the anxiety levels are already rising. How do we visit both sets of grandparents when they live 960 km apart? Where will we stay and how will we get around since we sold our house and shipped our car? And how will we [...]
  • Dealing with that Awful Moving Feeling
    by Patricia Linderman Dear Personal and Confidential: We’re not moving to another country until this summer, about four months from now, but I’m already a nervous wreck. I lie awake at night with my head full of all the things I still have to do (sell our car, enroll the kids in their new school, [...]
  • What to Take to the Tropics
    by Patricia Linderman The wintry weather at my current post has me reminiscing about the five years I spent in the tropics. The sun, the colorful birds and flowers, the beaches … the mildew, the bugs, the constant heat rash … Luckily, you can minimize the negative aspects of the tropics and make the most [...]
  • Tips for Really Long Distance Travel with Kids
    As a Foreign Service spouse serving in Africa and Latin America, I have traveled all over the world with my children.  Articles about travel with small children in mainstream publications can have their merits, but usually are aimed at the typical American family making a short domestic flight.  This is clearly not in the same [...]
  • Hardship Posts for Beginners
    Hardship Posts for Beginners By Patricia Linderman A hardship post. The idea can conjure up frightening images. By definition, hardship posts present "unusually difficult or unhealthful conditions or severe physical hardships." These may include crime or other violence, pollution, isolation, a harsh climate, scarcity of goods on the local market, and other problems. These hardships [...]
  • How to Survive and Thrive as an FS Spouse
    Tips to Survive and Thrive as a Foreign Service Spouse Collected by Pat Olsen, veteran econ officer spouse, still surviving after 17 years, 3 boys, 3 pets, and 5 countries. BE SOMEONE. Maintain your professional self – or develop a new one. Most of us have learned first hand the lack of availability of spouse [...]

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