Hey folks, long time no talk. Sorry bout that. I wasn’t feeling it. But I’m back now, so that’s the good news.
So when we last talked we had just received our long-awaited assignment to Washington, DC. While that was a huge relief, the celebration was immediately replaced by a long to-do list of related action items.
First, our anticipated timeline. 2014 is going to look something like this:
- Nia and Sarah leave Lima in late March and head to Minnesota for Easter and the birth of Nia’s first cousin (Emily and Andrew’s first baby)
- Nick leaves Lima in May and we begin 4 weeks of home leave that are split between Minnesota and Bend, Oregon
- We arrive in DC sometime in June and go into temporary housing for 2 months while we find a home/apartment
- We move into our permanent home/apartment in August and receive our car and possessions
- In September we’ll all go to Minnesota for my sister Beth’s wedding and Nia will also start preschool/child care this month
Here’s the thing. Domestic assignments are RADICALLY different than overseas postings. We basically go from being someone really special overseas to ‘just another bureaucrat’ in DC. We lose all the support services that we’re used to having and housing is no longer provided for us (aka: paid for). This creates a huge change in our financial picture and makes money very tight for us due to the high cost of living in DC. Just to give you a frame of reference, $80,000 and below is considered low income and houses go from 500k and up. We’re looking for a 2 BR/1 Bath in a relatively safe neighborhood in or around DC and will need to spend between $2000-2500 to secure that.
We were previously allowed to keep an unlimited amount of things in storage but when you take a domestic assignment they require that you take back all of your possessions. We will be getting back all our furniture from our old life (we use govt furniture overseas) as well as useful things like my childhood art, keepsakes from my deceased Grandma and all our high school momentos. As you might imagine, with no basement or storage we’re going to have to get VERY CREATIVE with where we fit all of this stuff in a 2 BR apartment. Yay for new challenges!
We will also need to count on my income for the first time and will need to put Nia in childcare to do so. More on that in another post. Just wait until I tell you about the childcare application process!
While I trust that it will all come together, it’s a lot of change for us. Honestly, this feels so much harder to me than going to another foreign country (despite it being my home country) because we’re required to get settled without help and make decisions from a distance. Perhaps this will be good for us, as we’ve come to rely on the government to make our decisions (because there’s no other choice most times) and to fix things when we have a problem.
So there you have it. The Novaks are going to have a chance to flex some new muscles in the new year. Silly me for thinking that living in the States again would be easy! Onward and upward we go…