Last month, JR and I volunteered to act as social sponsors for a new couple that would be arriving at post. I was excited to have something to do, and started e-mailing with them right away. As a social sponsor, you reach out to your people before they arrive to see if they have any questions, offer to get some groceries for them to have when they get here, pick them up at the airport, make sure their house is in good shape, and things like that.
I know that I asked our social sponsor about 200 questions before we came. K and L, our social sponsorees, seemed very laid back and relaxed, not a lot of questions before we met. I asked if I could pick up some food for them, and they asked for milk, yogurt, and fruits and vegetables. Now, I don’t really eat vegetables. So when I went to the store to shop for them, I stood there staring at the produce section for a while trying to think what they might want. A person doesn’t just eat a raw onion, right? It never dawned on me that you might just pick up a tomato and eat it. I bought them some carrots. And then I moved on to the fruit. I do better with fruit.
I coordinated with the Embassy’s Motor Pool to have a driver meet me at the airport to pick them up (to make sure we had room for all of their luggage). Since I didn’t know what they looked like, the driver made a sign with their names on it. I felt very official waiting for them! Once they arrived, we loaded the bags into the Embassy van, and I took them to their new home. They have an awesome house, and it’s located pretty close to us. That night, I took them out to dinner and some other friends joined us to welcome them to post.
We made plans to visit Skopje, Macedonia that Saturday. I’ve been through Macedonia when we traveled to Greece, but we did not have a chance to explore the city. We had a nice day just walking around, there are tons of little shops, cafes, and a strange amount of statues. Everywhere. One store had old military items like coats, helmets, and weapons. They also had a very cool collection of old currency. JR and I are planning to go back soon. It’s definitely a place where he could spend some time.
I’m glad we were able to sign up as social sponsors, and get some new friends out of it, too. It’s really nice to have someone helping you through the transition of arriving at a new post, and I’m happy we could pay it forward!