AAFSW invites you to contribute to a virtual story-telling initiative documenting Foreign Service Life during the coronavirus pandemic.
We are asking AAFSW members to record their experiences in writing or art and share these chronicles with us. We’ll create a permanent feature on aafsw.org that we can all read, and which future generations of Foreign Service families can access to understand the unique challenges faced by our community during this time.
AAFSW President Lara Center shared her thoughts and experiences:
2020 was a year of the unexpected from ordered and authorized departures to travel restrictions,
from teleworking to online schooling, from partial lockdowns to wearing face masks and more
due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s crazy and wonderful at the same time that so much of our
lives and social interactions have become virtual. Who knew how many different online
platforms would take over – Zoom, MS Team, Google Hangout, FaceTime, and more. Since
March 2020, I have shared holidays and family celebrations on zoom. I have attended a funeral
and a bat mitzvah on zoom. I have participated in meetings with AAFSW, FLO, AFSA and
ADST virtually. Some days, I am zoomed out!
One of the most notable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was school for my children. Like
many of you, my children stopped attending school in person abruptly last Spring. Our school
district didn’t have a plan for four weeks. I found myself creating lesson plans, buying
workbooks from Amazon, scouring Pinterest for online learning options. We settled into a
routine with reading and math, found enjoyment tuning in to daily safaris with the Cincinnati
Zoo, followed along with online art classes with Booth Western Art Museum, learned about
science from Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and spent quality family time playing board
games. We are 100% online at the moment, possibly returning to in person instruction in March
2021. I am impressed with how well the school year is going. We now have designated spaces
for schoolwork and the schools provided laptops, which means I do not have to share my laptop
and my office with the kids! My children are engaged online with teachers and their classmates,
they are learning new material, working on projects and studying hard.
Please share with AASFSW your experiences! We look forward to creating a time capsule of
We’d love to hear it all — from your initial reactions to news about the virus, work and school closures, unexpected departure from post (and eventual return), PCS-ing during the pandemic, what happened with your pets, and more. You could record your daily experiences, such as what life was/is like in your neighborhood over a period of months, and how things have changed or improved. How has your school handled the virus? What was it like to arrive to post during a lockdown? How have things changed over the course of the year?
We’ll provide a list of prompts and questions to get you started, organized by topic. But if you wish to share a short essay, photo, poem or piece of art, we welcome those as well. Our hope is to show a broad sampling of life overseas and at home during this very singular year.
Submissions may be sent to email@example.com.
Work at Home Life
Life with Kids