Today I had a lunch date with my husband at the swanky Foreign Service Institute cafeteria. And when I say swanky, I mean utilitarian. It was just like high school, minus the stench of hormones and plus lots of suits and ties. And guess what the only kind of lettuce was available at the salad bar? Icebergfreakinglettuce. Mitch said usually the salad bar is decent, but all the new kids must have eaten the good lettuce before I got there. Raise your hand if you want me to keep talking about lettuce!
The real reason I was there was to do some research in the Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) on some possible posts we may be assigned to. I spent a couple of hours poring over information about schools, safety, post reports, housing, climate, and food availability. And that's when I started hyperventilating. Bugs in the flour? Bleaching your produce? And that was at my top choice post. And there was no mention anywhere about Costco or Whole Foods or Trader Joe's (this is where you seasoned FS people can snicker at my naivete). I began to feel hot and sweaty and short of breath. When we first got here I was so preoccupied with getting a place to live and getting the kids settled that I didn't have time to really think about this huge thing we are doing. And at FSI, it's so, uh, Foreign Service-y (totally a word) that I felt like a bucket of cold reality water hit me in the face.
After being home for a few hours, though, I'm recalling all the cool things I read about today, so I'm going to focus on that. I also am going to acknowledge that I am, maybe, a tiny bit freaky and picky about food. In fact, I'm sure this whole experience will be so good for me that when we come back to the States I will be thrilled to eat an iceberg lettuce salad. Hold the diarrhea.