"Dear State Department: I LOVE my house. But could you please consider installing central heat & air throughout the house? I don't want to hide in my bedroom all summer. Sincerely, Aaron"
It was met with polite and sympathetic comments from a few of my friends, but one of my old friends from college, whom I have not seen since 2002 and have only exchanged the occasional polite Facebook or Myspace conversation with since, took it upon herself to express a rather strong, rather loud, rather uninformed opinion on the matter.
I will spare you the details, but let's just say it started with her sharing her unwillingness to have her taxes increased to further support my life of luxury, escalated into an accusation that I mooch off of my partner's success, and culminated with a chastising remark about my living the high life while surrounded by the poor citizens of a war-ravaged third world country.
Any attempt to explain the miniscule tax impact the Foreign Service has on American citizens, to remind her that I work full time and therefore do not "mooch," or to educate her on the fact that Mexico is neither war-ravaged nor third world, fell on deaf ears.
She found it easier to "defriend" me than to respect me. Oh well. I think I'll survive.
But this conversation did pose a few interesting questions.
1) Do my non-Foreign Service friends understand what it is that we're doing here? If not, is it because I didn't explain it very well? Did I not explain it at all? Did I explain it but you didn't listen? Did you ask so early in the process that *I* didn't even know what we'd be doing?
Well, if the answer is any of the above, I truly apologize. If you have any questions, ask me here, ask me in person, or shoot me an e-mail. I'll tell you whatever I can. Ill try to post more about the Foreign Service part of life from time to time. Just be patient and understanding. This life is full of interesting, frustrating, humorous things that, sometimes, are just not appropriate to share.
2) What happened to the introspection?
I used to blog about my thoughts and opinions, not just the activity-of-the-moment. Whatever happened to that? I guess I got wrapped up in playing tour guide. I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to see things that they might not otherwise. But maybe I forgot to share more of the day-to-day. This, too, can be worked on. Why, look! I'm doing it now!
3) Do I present an accurate picture of Mexico?
Well, yes and no. I certainly show you a lot of the fun stuff we do. But it's not like I've ever blogged about the street performers, window washers, or beggars that I see on every street corner. There haven't been any posts about the violence that occurs every so often, or the restrictions it places on our daily lives. I haven't shared any recipes (they're coming!), told you about my favorite restaurants, or expressed my awe that Wal-Mart could take over a country even more than it did the United States.
I suppose that's my fault. I wanted to only show the fun and exciting suff. But it's not an accurate representation, and I'll work on that.
I know for a fact that some of the officers that will be arriving at post soon have read this blog. I don't want anyone to think it's all fun and games. There's work. There's an element of danger. And, yes, there's a hell of a lot of adventure to be had. But mostly, life is the same as it was back home. It's all about finding a balance. I've found that balance in life...but maybe I haven't found that balance in print. But I think this is something I can work on, too.
Because I certainly do not want some uneducated fool to think I'm living the good life while everyone around me is dying on the streets.