After nearly two full years without a job (or at least one I get paid for), I'm officially back to work.
It's kind of weird to get dressed in "real" clothes in the morning and head out with John to the office. It's also incredibly difficult to say goodbye to Jack, who has been particularly clingy since the nanny started working for us. I understand it's been a very tough transition for him, and it's not easy for me either. But I've gotta say, it's kind of nice to spend at least part of my day around adults.
In the Foreign Service, there are generally a handful of positions available to EFMs (Eligible Family Members - hence the title of this blog). In Yekaterinburg, there were two: CLO coordinator (Community Liaison Office) and a biometrics clerk position (fingerprinting and data entry for visas). I chose the CLO position not so much because of what it offers in this post - since there are only eight Americans here, soon to be nine including me, there's not a ton to do - but for what it means for me in the future. Getting a CLO job at a large post is competitive, and this will give me an advantage if I want to do this further down the road. (In my dream scenario, I'd be working as an author, of course.) I also like the idea of bringing the community together, even if it is a tiny one, and finding out as much as I can about the current Yekaterinburg, since most of the information hasn't been updated in years. That's part of the reason I was so pleasantly surprised when I got here - Yekat has changed a lot recently, mostly for the better.
Since we've been without a CLO for at least six years here, I have a bit of a challenge facing me. I'm starting from scratch with a newsletter, updating post reports with the most up-to-date info I can provide, and doing my own research into schools and childcare options, since there wasn't any information available to me when I found out we were coming here, and it's very important to me as a parent. I'm also going to try to get some activities started, but there's a fine line between providing people with options, and making people feel pressured to hang out together, even if they don't want to. I'm curious what other CLOs at small posts have to say on the matter. If you're out there, let me know!
Mostly, though, I'm excited to be doing something productive with my time. And the good news is it's only 20 hours a week, so I still have plenty of time to write. Sure, my office is in the emergency exit hallway, but as I told Sarah, I literally had a broom closet for an office once, so things could be worse. I also get to go to Moscow next week with John for training, which means two flights without Jack. I picture myself reading a magazine for two blissful uninterrupted hours. (What can I say, I like to dream big, people. I wouldn't be surprised if I take a nap in there somewhere, too.) And the fact that I get to spend more time with John every day, walking to work and getting lunch in the cafeteria together? Well, that's just the icing on the cake.