Sunday, November 28, 2010

New FS Blog: Former FS Brat writes about FS Brat 2.0

Four Globetrotters is "the (most likely) incoherent ramblings of a sleep-deprived single mother living overseas with her trio of kiddos." The blog is by a Foreign Service Officer who have almost 10 years with State, "currently live overseas in a country which for now shall remain unnamed." She also has the distinction of being a former FS brat (brat used in a good way) or third culture kid now looking at FS kids growing up in the white glare of the web 2.0 galaxy. Excerpt below:

Foreign Service Brats -- That Was Then, This Is Now

I'm an old school Foreign Service brat.

In some of the places where I grew up we only got mail every couple months.  We didn't have a telephone.  We didn't have cable.  We didn't have internet.

Our social lives consisted of other families at post and our classmates at school.  If we wanted to talk to each other we'd use our radio and everyone and their mother would listen in ("Gunsmoke Alpha, this is Cherry Bravo.  Would you like to come over for a Sierra Lima Echo Echo Papa Oscar Victor Echo Romeo, over?").
When I was a kid, you left post and you knew that was it.  You said your goodbyes, you grieved, and you moved on and focused on your next post, your next school, your next set of friends.  Now with the Internet, Skype, Vonage, Facebook, Twitter, APO/DPO, etc making it much easier to stay connected, you can maintain a virtual presence pretty much anywhere in the world.
What I'm seeing around me, both with my own children and the children of some of my colleagues, are much longer "transition periods".  Thanks to Facebook and Skype primarily, the FS Brat 2.0 clings to his or her past and refuses to see the possibilities in front of them.  They're bogged down in an information overload, emotions pulled between the past and the present -- loyalties are questioned.  Are you betraying your friends at post X by going out and building a life in post Y?

It's like pulling a bandaid off s-l-o-w-l-y and suffering the pain over a longer period of time.  Or to be even more dramatic, it's like dating again after your spouse has died.  Are you betraying your spouses' memory by going out and continuing to live your life?  Except in the case of the poor FS Brat 2.0 their "spouse" never dies; he or she just lingers on life support forever.
My heart really goes out to this new generation.  At least when I was a kid the bandaid was yanked off as soon as the plane went wheels up.

Radio? what's a radio?  She's a fun read.  See the whole thing here.

And while you're visiting her blog, do not/not miss reading her story on why you must be kind to your OMS.

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