I am not sure how much my personalities have in common. People in some professions move more often and maybe even farther from home, but Foreign Service Officers absorb more characteristics of our assignments. Diplomatic life is intense. Everyone knows who we are. We live our jobs to a greater extent than most people. We learn the language of our countries and adopt different personas to adapt to our surroundings. My Polish personality is different than my Norwegian personality and both are different than my Brazilian personality. My American core has become stronger over the years. I know a lot more about my country than I did when I came into the service, but the America I know and love is an ideal place. Now I am headed “home” to Boston, to a place I have never been before in the real America. I still can’t believe the State Department is giving me such a sweet deal. I can think of nothing that could make me happier, at least nothing I could reasonably expect to get. For all the complaining I sometimes do, this is really a great career.
It is fitting that we hang in the sky for several hours between incarnations and go down a long hall to get on and off the planes. The low roar of the jet engines creates a dreamlike atmosphere and the fact that one slips in and out of sleep during the nine-hour flight confirms it. Poland already seems like a dream. I am looking at the pictures I took of my garden on the day I left. I planted lots of trees during my time in Warsaw – tulip trees, oaks and beech – although only two in my own backyard . The garden is full of perennial plants and I improved the soil, so I expect my activities will survive my leaving for at least a couple of seasons. I will remember the good people of Poland and I hope that some of them will remember me, but we pass so quickly. I don’t think any of us leave deep footprints.
My latest American journey starts soon. We will drive all over the U.S. It should be fun. This is our fourth cross country trip, but the first one through the Southern states.
I am not sure what time it is. It doesn’t make much difference in this jet-lagging world. I think it would be morning in the U.S. and afternoon in Poland on June 27, 2003.
Both pictures are my garden in Warsaw. The ivy will eventually cover the walls and the trees will be big.