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I’m in a book

Updated: Jan 28

I would lie if I said I hadn’t thought about turning this blog into a book somehow. But as much as I’d like the idea of being an “author” I just don’t have the time and have long since concluded that there’s no point. Books are great, for those of us who like to buy books and invest some serious time in reading, but it’s not the right format for something like this. I like to write for anyone to see, not to restrict my content to those who purchase books. My content wouldn’t be findable online anymore, and I wouldn’t be able to update, change or remove anything.

But lo and behold, my writing has made it into a book! I was asked to submit some stories by an aspiring author who is a fellow foreign service officer, and I did. I couldn’t even remember I did, two years ago, which apparently happened to several of the contributors. Diplomatic life means endless change and I learned never to count on anything 100%, so this came as a nice surprise. I became a published writer at long last and it’s because of this blog, so that’s sort of the same thing.

The first thing that delighted me about the book Diplomats: Real Stories from Real Diplomats is that it features stories from women only, which is deeply satisfying to my feminist soul.

The second thing is that the women who contributed have amazing stories to tell. They have super diverse backgrounds and include admirable ambassadors who I love being associated with—even if only in print! The chapters give a good sense of how exhilarating diplomatic life is, and how the triumphs and adventures tend to outweigh the hardships.

Third, I was flattered that my stories featured twice! I love how my chapters added to the diversity of perspectives on diplomatic life. My first piece deals with the issue of how to align general, idealistic career goals with a career in the foreign service. I’m a consular coned officer, but that doesn’t mean I only focus on processing visas and passports for all of time. I have worked, and will continue to work, in the fascinating migration space, which includes many things like interpreting and applying laws, conducting research, formulating foreign  policy recommendations, and doing humanitarian work.

My second piece was more personal in nature: applying for the foreign service as a recently naturalized American, a woman, a wife, and a tandem couple. My challenges and experiences aren’t exclusively female but a lot of the intrinsic doubt, guilt, societal pressure and ‘delayed career’ issues are. How do you go from stay-at-home mom to becoming a diplomat? Mine is only the beginning of a story, but I think it’s important because hearing exclusively from already highly accomplished women can sometimes be more intimidating than helpful.

I recommend this book. Not for my own contributions, which you can basically find right here on this blog, but for the many stories of strong, determined women—often still wet behind the ears during the epic sagas they share—talking about Uganda, Jerusalem, Afghanistan, Russia, and other exotic places where most of us can only travel by book. And it costs only ten bucks on Kindle!


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