Christmas in July!

Hooray – our consumables shipment arrived last week.  It truly felt like Christmas to open the boxes and find the items I had purchased back in April.  Even more important than delightful food and drinks for us, Abby’s crib and mattress arrived.

The first night we put her in there to sleep, we found her completely flipped around the next morning.  Apparently she enjoys the extra space!

abby crib

This was our second consumables shipment.   If you are at a post designated to receive consumables, you can ship up to 2500lbs in two separate shipments, as long as your second shipment is sent out before the start of your last year at post.   When we first shopped for consumables in May of 2013, it was a big guessing game, and I definitely got too excited about purchasing giant quantities at Sam’s Club. Which would explain why, more than a year later, we still have an almost full container of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce just hanging out in our fridge.

BBQ sauce

 

It’s not that easy to calculate how much of a given item you will need for an entire year (or more).   We’re also very lucky that we can order many food products from Amazon prime, and our Embassy opened a commisary last year so we can stock up on other essentials there.   Another lesson learned – expiration dates.  We purchased two large bottles of ibuprofen that are sitting unopened in our apartment.  They expire in September 2014.   Maybe we’ll have a lot of headaches in the next few months?

You also have to consider storage.  We don’t have a lot of extra space, so there are rubbermaid storage bins stacked tall all over our apartment.  Some have shampoo and conditioner, the aforementioned ibuprofen, and some other favorite things.

This shipment was a bit easier because I knew what we could get in Kosovo, and I knew what we missed the most.   For JR, that was beer.   There isn’t a lot of variety here, so I went to The Party Shop (8 months pregnant) and called him from the store to discuss prices and quantities.  The store owner was super helpful and he ordered everything I requested and had it boxed up for me to pick up a week later.

A sampling of the beer order:

beer

JR looked something like this as he opened the boxes:

carlton

 

My needs were very simple.  I am a Jif Peanut Butter fanatic.  I really think if I ever ran out of peanut butter, I’d have night terrors.   You can buy a small jar at the military base, and our commisary carries extra chunky -but WHO eats extra chunky PB?  It’s meant to be smooth and delicious.

peanut butter

We’ll see if that lasts me for the next year.

The other thing I really miss is cereal. (Well, that and ice cream, but you can’t ship ice cream, sadly).  And I don’t do grown up cereal, I want the sugary deliciousness of Froot Loops, Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charms and the like.   This is what $200 at Walmart will get you!

cereal 1 cereal 2

Any guesses on how long that cereal will last?   My goal is Thanksgiving!

It’s almost time to bid

In this crazy life we’re living, it’s hard to believe we’ve been calling Kosovo home for more than a year (well, a little less than that for me due to my maternity med evac stint in the US) and that our time here will end next summer.  And even though that is still a year away, it’s almost time to bid on our next assignment.

JR’s bidding process is probably different from State Department FSOs, so I can only speak to how it works for us.   We will receive a list of available positions and their locations, along with the length of each tour.   Most tours are four years.  Some locations, such as Kosovo, are considered hardship posts and are two year tours.  Finally, there are a few one year unaccompanied tours (UT), in locations that are considered too dangerous or unstable for your family to go with you.

We knew when we joined that JR would have to complete at least one UT during his career.  It’s really tough to think about spending a year apart, and it’s even harder to try to figure out when it would be best to do this.  Now, while Abigail is too little to remember him being gone?  Or when she is older and could Skype with him and look forward to his visits home?  Right now, we don’t feel ready to face a separation.  If we’re forced to, of course we’ll deal with it, but don’t expect him to pull a Katniss this bidding cycle.

katniss

Currently,  we’re in a weird waiting period because although we have some idea of what positions will be open, we really don’t know for sure.  All we can do is think about what factors are most important to us, and what locations might be a good fit.  And we also have to prepare ourselves to wind up somewhere unexpected and possibly undesirable.  Try as I might, I’ve been unable to convince anyone that the Bahamas or France are developing countries in need of US support.

Our considerations for bidding this time around are a bit different than last time.   We have Abby to consider, and if we end up at a 4 year post, she’ll be starting preschool there.  So now we find ourselves researching preschool options all over the world.   Two other major concerns are safety and medical – specifically with regard to malaria.  Malaria is a serious threat in many of the countries that we may serve in, and we would need to consider the risks of having Abby take anti-malarial medication daily for several years.  I’ve done a small amount of research on this already and we are very concerned about the possible long-term side effects.

Another major factor for us is the availability of spousal employment.   Many countries do not have bi-lateral work agreements that would allow me to find work on the local economy.  In countries where that may be an option, it’s unlikely that I would have the requisite foreign language skills needed and it’s also likely the pay would be significantly lower than what I would have recieved for the same job in the States.   Ideally, I’d like to find work at USAID or the Embassy.  I enjoy my current position in the Public Affairs office and it would be great if I could do something similar at our next post.   Another option is to consider some type of telework or web-based job.   I honestly wouldn’t know where to start.  And knowing myself, I would prefer a job that gets me out of the house and interacting with people on a daily basis.
Right now it’s a big guessing game.  Which posts might be open, who wants to go where, and which countries will be on the list we turn in for assignment?  As Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part.

 

 

 

Cat Sitting 101

One of the hardest things about leaving Pristina for 3 months was leaving our cat, Annabelle.  It’s a really long time to be away.  We considered multiple options but knowing our cat’s aversion to travel and conversations we had with our last vet, we decided to have someone look after her here in our home.  Annabelle is not a high maintenance cat, and we’ve been able to leave her alone for a few days at a time without any trouble.  Any longer and we usually have a friend stop in to refresh her food and water and check on her.   3 months felt like way too long to ask a friend to commit to, and I also wanted someone coming at least every other day so she wouldn’t get too lonely or feel abandoned.

Finding the right cat sitter proved to be a very difficult task.   Our housekeeper, Yllka, has checked on our cat previously.  She is perfectly capable of filling her food and getting her fresh water, but she is not really a pet person so she doesn’t interact with her.  By that I mean, she tries to to stay as far away from her as possible.   There is a young girl at post (we’ll call her E), I thought she was maybe 11, and I thought she seemed up for the job. I mean, I was babysitting kids at her age so surely she could handle a cat!  To make JR more comfortable I told a wee white lie and said she was 12.   That didn’t turn out so well for me when a few weeks later – after I hired her, of course – our young cat sitter revealed that she was 9.  NINE!

clueless gif

Feeling nervous about this lapse in judgment, I asked Yllka if she would also check on kitty when she came by to clean each week.    For my own comfort, I made Yllka and E (our not even a pre-teen cat sitter) each a calendar with clear instructions of which day each person should come to the apartment and spend time with the cat.

Even with that plan in place, I was sick with worry about leaving kitty for so long.  So we gave another set of keys to our friend Keri, who is totally dependable and great with cats.  She offered to come by occasionally for us and make sure Annabelle was doing okay.  She also agreed to be our “in case of emergency” contact and serve as a go-between if Yllka or E had questions.   So basically we had 3 different cat sitters.   Not exactly efficient.

I’m confident that Yllka and E both gave it their all, but there were a few minor issues.

One day, I e-mailed Yllka to see how things were going (shocker, the 9 year old does not have an email account).   It can be difficult to communicate with Yllka via text or e-mail.   She speaks English well, but relies on the help of translating programs on the internet when she needs to write to us.  Here was her reply:

“I hope you are well. Today was the place purified and pour fawn cat food and water every thing is okay., I would like you to go on 20 June for holiday turkey for 7 days after which you will go back to Kosovo on June 21 but i in time that you have given June 24 is the day you have to work or can I free this day and come to work after the holiday to come.”

It only took me a minute or two to realize she was just letting me know that the cat was doing fine and she would be headed to Turkey for a vacation.  She was also nice enough to attach a few pictures of Annabelle with her reply.

A few weeks later, Keri messaged me on FB to pass along a text she’d received from Yllka.

“Hi Kerri Sorry that I write to you in this time! To Jenni a shingle is finish to buy I can buy you for a cat is to because there is more in the box Thanks Yllka”

Smart lady that she is, Keri figured out that a shingle had something to do with needing more cat litter.  Yllka very generously purchased the litter for us and left us a receipt to reimburse her upon our return.

While the logistics were a bit tricky at times, Annabelle did just fine without us, and so far she hasn’t tried to eat the baby.  Yet.  🙂

 

 

 

Romance in Paralia?

No.  The answer is no.  But our hotel room really was intended for L-O-V-E.  Check out this bedspread in our suite!

photo 1 (8)

We decided to visit Paralia, Greece for the 4th of July weekend.  Paralia is pretty much the closest decent beach for us, about a 4 1/2 hour drive going through two borders, Macedonia and Greece.  That drive can be a bit longer if you make 3 2 wrong turns.  (I’m directionally challenged and we’re buying a GPS with a European chip).  Luckily for us, Abigail continues to be an excellent traveler.   We made a pit stop to feed and change her, and then continued on our way.  And to my absolute delight, the gas station in Macedonia sold Snicker’s Ice Cream bars!

The weather was beautiful and as always, we love the beach.  It was extremely crowded but still nice to get away!  This was the view from our hotel balcony.

photo 2 (2) photo 3 (10)

Oh, and there was a man selling donuts on the beach.  Let me repeat that for you.  This fellow (and many more just like him) walked around the beach selling fresh baked, big-as-your-face donuts for 1.50 euro.  Aces!

photo 3 (8) photo 2 (7)

On the recommendation of the hotel staff, we went to a restaurant a few blocks away called Poseidon.   We had a nice family dinner on the beach.  If you can’t tell, Abigail is hidden away in the carrier and she let us have a peaceful meal, for which we are very grateful.

photo 2 (1) photo 3 (9)

This was our first beach experience as a family and it was quite different than what JR and I are used to.  Usually JR and I are out all day enjoying the sun, water and drinks with a possible break in the afternoon for a short nap before dinner.   Like everything else now, Abigail dictates our schedule and we only stayed out a few hours during the day and underneath the umbrella for most of it.  Even though it was a very different experience, we loved sharing the beach with her for the first time.  JR took her to get her feet wet in the Aegean but got a little excited and put her in up to her chest.  She didn’t enjoy it as much as JR did, so the experience only lasted about 20 seconds.   We’ll do better next time.

And a few more cute pics of Abby at the beach.

photo 3 (7) photo 4 (6) photo 5 (3)

By the time we got home on Sunday, she was tuckered out.  But she can’t wait to visit Greece again!

photo 4 (8)

Sweating the small stuff

Yesterday I was catching up with a good friend from home (who shall remain nameless but is hopefully in labor!) and telling her that my boss had approved me working part-time for a few months to allow me to transition back from maternity leave.   She asked how that would impact the nanny (it won’t, we’re still keeping her regular hours and I’ll just send her home early most days) and whether or not we’ve asked her to clean or help around the house.  I was explaining that  I wanted to keep our housekeeper, so for now we’ve only asked the nanny to  help with baby stuff – bottles, her laundry, and straightening up toys and books.  I realized, to a non foreign service person, I sounded maybe a bit spoiled.

If only she knew where my night went after our chat.

JR and I went to dinner at one of our favorite places that just reopened, Pacific Rim.  We ordered a large bottled water, and the server brought out glasses with ice and poured them before we could say anything.  Now, normally I wouldn’t really think much of this, but as I was catching up on missed e-mails yesterday, I read an updated notice about the water in Pristina – reiterating that the tap water is not safe to drink.  And I think it’s safe to presume that the ice was made with tap water.  I wound up not drinking any of it, and JR just poured his water into a glass without ice.  I told him that the revised guidelines recommended bleaching raw fruits and vegetables, to protect from contamination.  Bleaching produce is not uncommon for FS folks living overseas, but I’ve certainly never had to do it.

While we were at dinner, he mentioned that his office offered him the chance to do a TDY (short-term work in another location) out of the country next week.  He was willing to pass it up, but it’s important that he has these opportunies for professional development and growth.  I told him he should absolutely go, and I would make do.  But I didn’t say it without reservations.  In my head I was remembering how difficult it was when he was in DC for two weeks, and that was while I was not working and had tons of family help around.   As it is, he is tentatively scheduled to make two  2-week trips back to DC in the near future without us. I know many, many people face separations from their spouses and families, but I hate it.  Sometimes I want to yell “I didn’t sign up for this!”  Except we did.

After dinner, we made our way home and started the bedtime and bath routine with Abby.  Our main bathroom (we have a second toilet in the laundry room) was again covered in ants.  Right beside the toilet and the bathtub.  I was so annoyed and disgusted.  Now, if I lived in Ohio, I would have immediately gone to Kroger or Walmart to buy Raid and ant traps.  Alas, not an option here.  In fact, I’m not certain where they would sell ant killer, and I also have doubts about my ability to purchase that on my own.   I’m afraid I’d buy something not safe for use indoors, and that’s not a risk I want to take with the baby and our cat in the house.  JR helped me hose down the bathroom (literally, we used our detachable shower head and sprayed all the ants down and into the drain on the floor) and we called it a night.

This morning, I had to visit no less than 3 different rooms in our house just to try to straighten my hair.  Some of our electronics can be plugged directly into the wall with the help of a small plastic adapter, making the prongs fit.  Other items must be plugged into a transformer, which is a heavy, unweildy box that sits on the ground.   Our house came with 4 transformers.  Those have served us reasonably well so far.  We use one in our living room for our TV, computer, and other electronics.  One in the kitchen for our toaster, blender, and other kitchn applicances.  There’s also the one in our bedroom which I use for my blow dryer and straightner.  We never really used the 4th one, although we moved it into the baby’s nursery assuming it would come in handy.

Well, it would come in handy if it worked.  The US plugs don’t stay in, they fall out or hang there precariously, causing whatever is plugged in to shut on and off constantly.  It seemed unsafe (not to mention incredibly annoying) so we moved that transformer out of Abby’s room and swapped it with the one in our bedroom.   Let me tell you how frustrating it is to try to do your hair when the applicance turns off every 5-10 seconds.  Eventually, I gave up and went to the kitchen to get that transformer, carried it to the bathroom, and used it there (ants and all).  I had to carry it back to the kitchen so I could use my toaster, which I can’t even keep on the counter anymore, because we now have a drying rack and bottles taking up valuable real estate in the kitchen.  If JR and I were picking our own apartment, this kitchen would not make the cut.

My one wall, 3 small countertops kitchen.

IMG_1065IMG_1067

Don’t get me started on trying to cook and prepare food with the limited space, but this morning all I wanted was some %$&* toast!    Assigned housing is a part of life in the FS.  I’m sure at some posts this is considered a really great kitchen, and for others it’s definitely on the small and inconvenient side.  (It’s important to add here that housing is one of the benefits that we receive in the FS, and JR feels very strongly that we should not complain about things we receive for free.)

As with everything in life, there are good things and bad, and you have to learn to take it all in stride.  I hesitated to post this, because the majority of the time, we are happy here and thankful for all of the opportunties that JR’s job brings us.  But I figure everyone is allowed to have a grumpy day, right?

And I always have JR to send me things like this.

britney

 

Leaving on a jet plane

This has been in my head all day.

Great movie, great scene. Anyway, no romantic goodbye with JR today because he’s on a beach in Thailand, no doubt missing me greatly. I can tell because he sends me pictures like this:

beach

Meanwhile, in Ohio, I’m pretty sure it’s snowing. Go figure.

I’m really looking forward to going home and spending time with friends and family (and eating all of my favorite healthy foods.) But it’s a strange feeling, leaving our apartment, our cat, my job, and all of our friends here for so long. I mentioned before that when we return this summer, some of our closest friends will have moved on to different posts, and there will be a group of new arrivals here. Oh, and we’ll have a baby with us, so that’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time!

baby 2

Next time I post I’ll be in the O-H-I-O!

Mardi Gras, TLD, and a surprise shower!

This past weekend was our last weekend together before JR heads off to training for work and I go back to Ohio for maternity leave. Mostly I appreciate that time is moving forward, but I’m not excited about being apart for so long, so I wanted to really enjoy our time together.

Friday night, the marines hosted a Mardi Gras party complete with gumbo, jambalaya, king cake and beads.   JR was in charge of the jambalaya and made a triple batch – an impressive feat considering the size of our kitchen.   It receieved rave reviews and the pots were emptied pretty quickly. Guests were encouraged to wear purple and gold, but I’m currently rotating about 4 different shirts that fit over my stomach, and they are not in those colors. Luckily no one seemed to mind.

Saturday was a very special Terrific Lady Day.   We started using this term after watching an episode of The League, when one of the characters tells his friends that he’s giving his wife a Terrific Lady Day where they do whatever she wants.  It’s a rare treat but I love TLD.

This is how I felt when I woke up early Saturday morning:

excited-baby

I laid out my vision for the day – first we’d go grocery shopping, and then come home and clean. JR was not impressed, but those things make me happy! He suggested that I schedule a massage appointment, and I was able to talk him into a couples’ massage. Halfway through TLD, I assume JR was thinking “never again.” We finished up the day with a delicious dinner and watching Dallas Buyer’s Club (highly, highly recommend that movie! I adore Matthew Mc-however you spell it, and teared up a bit during his Oscar acceptance speech. Also, you should watch True Detective on HBO.)

Sunday morning, Amy picked me up for a brunch at Jessica’s. Breakfast foods and brunching are very high on the list of things I miss about living at home, so when Jessica sent out an invitation for a brunch, I replied within seconds! Turns out, my very sweet, and very sneaky friends had planned a surprise shower for me! We had a great spread of food – homemade cinnamon rolls, meatballs, eggs, waffles, fruit, and french toast casserole. We played a quick game to try to figure out the baby’s sex, but it was a draw. Looks like we’ll have to wait until May (which is driving my poor mother CRAZY).

I wish I would have taken more pictures, and I particularly wish I would have remembered to skinny arm and strike a better pose when standing next to Jessica. I swear, I’m not that big. It’s just the most unflattering angle I could have picked, but I wanted to post a few anyway because she did such a great job of putting this together.

photo (3)

photo (4)

I’m not really ready to talk about it yet, but some of the great friends we’ve made in Kosovo won’t be here when we get back. That’s the norm for life in the foreign service, but it’s still new to me and I’m definitely not ready to say goodbye to these wonderful people who have helped make Kosovo our home for the past year.

Valentine’s Day in Bulgaria

We did Valentine’s Day a little bit differently this year.  We traveled to Bansko, Bulgaria, a popular ski resort town, for a weekend of fun with a group of friends.

Traditionally, JR and I make lasagna (truth, he normally makes it) and we watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  The first time we celebrated Valentine’s Day, we’d been together for about 4 months.  JR was not so much into making things official, so no girlfriend title had been bestowed upon me.   When he talked to his family about me, he was very casual and didn’t provide many details.  In fact, one of the only things he shared with them was that my favorite movie was Crossroads (not entirely true, but I do love that movie) and I’d never seen Lord of the Rings, so he didn’t see us staying together for very long (muahahha, little did he know!)

britany gif

Anyway, back to present day.   We got up Friday morning and picked up our friend Katie to make the drive to Bulgaria.  JR and I are always excited to add a new country to our list.  We only had a few problems with directions, and we only made two stops (this was a real feat considering Katie and I are both pregnant).

Stopped for food
pit stop

The drive there took about 6 hours.  We had lunch and then napped before meeting up with everyone else for dinner and drinks.  The next day, JR treated me to some quality time at the spa – I had a relaxing massage and facial.   We rode the gondola up to the top of the mountain to check out the view, which was beautiful. Even though we were at a ski resort, neither of us skied. Obviously, I couldn’t, and I’m not sure if JR chose to sit out in solidarity, or because these mountains looked a bit different than any ski resorts in Ohio.

view

Gondola ride up. Only the top of the mountain and the ski slopes had snow.
view 4

view 2

view 3

I had no idea paraskiing was a thing – looked terrifying!
paraskiing

Saturday night we had a big group dinner, complete with a birthday surprise for Katia!
birthday

We drove back on Sunday and didn’t get lost once. It was a really fun weekend and very cool to visit a new place.

I said the guitar is out of tune!

I’m a big fan of Garth Brooks. For years after his 1997 free concert in Central Park, my friend Allison and I would joke about how we missed the boat on that one and should have just driven to New York to see the show.  I don’t think either of us had a driver’s license at that point (and dear Allison lost her license almost immediately after she got it anyway and then remained license-free until 25 or something), but details and logistics were irrelevant.  We were very disappointed that we didn’t see that concert, or for that matter, any Garth Brooks concert.   On my list of performers I’d love to see live, Garth  is pretty high up there.   The list includes Guns N Roses, but only if it’s the original group and only if Axl looks like this:

axl 1

Instead of like this:

axl 2

That picture hurts me deep in my soul.  Anyway, back to Garth Brooks.  During law school, we watched the Best of Will Ferrell on SNL dvds more than a few times and the skit with Garth Brooks is fantastic. You should probably find it and watch it immediately. Will Ferrell plays Lucifer, trying to help Garth’s character write a hit song.  The only problem is that Lucifer lacks any musical talent and blames it on his guitar being out of tune.  Also, “Fred’s Slacks” is a winner!

I  saw something online the other day that mentioned Garth would be touring again soon.   Per his website, he’ll do a North American tour this fall, but first he’s going to have two big shows in Dublin, Ireland this summer.   Holy excitement, Batman.   How awesome would it be to finally see Garth Brooks in IRELAND of all places?  I immediately started looking up prices for flights and concert tickets.  Then I messaged JR about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Me:  Um, maybe we should try to go see Garth Brooks in Ireland this summer.
JR:  And the baby?
Me:  The baby will probably love Garth.
JR:  What about the noise?
Me:  We could just get a babysitter in Dublin.
JR:  You know a lot of people in Dublin to recommend a babysitter?
Me:  Or, you could just crush all of my dreams.

This happens a lot. Here’s another recent exchange about diaper bags. (In my defense, I really have done a lot of research online and people seem to LOVE this bag, AND I wouldn’t pay full price, I’d only buy it if I could find it at the outlet.)

Me:  Look, just hear me out and don’t make any judgments until I’m done.
JR:  This always ends well.
Me:  I’ve been researching online, and the best diaper bag on the market is a Kate Spade bag.  It’s highly recommended but it’s a tad pricey.
JR:  A Kate Spade diaper bag.  That’s funny.
Me:  It’s really practical.  Especially if we have a few kids, and we divide the price of the bag by the number of kids we have, then it kind of evens out to a normally priced bag.
JR:  You know a designer diaper bag is an oxymoron, right?
Me:  We can talk about this more later.

Anyway, tickets for the show in Ireland sold out in 90 minutes, so now I’m hanging all my hopes on the Kate Spade bag.

Med-what?

The first time I heard the term medevac (medical evacuation) we were having brunch with one of JR’s friends (R) who was, at the time, stationed in the newest country in the world, South Sudan. JR was still in the hiring process, and I was playing 20 million questions with her about the job, the lifestyle, and everything in between. R had some personal experience with medevac and was explaining some of the details to us. Essentially, if the medical officer at post determines that your illness/injury/whatever requires a level of care that is not accessible locally, you will be medically evacuated to your post’s designated medevac site. For many countries in this region, that’s London.

In my head I was picturing helicopters, flashing lights, emergency personnel and a rush to get the patient out of the country as quickly as possible. While I’m sure in some unfortunate instances it may happen like that, a medevac can also be an event that is planned for months in advance, such as when a woman returns to the US to have a baby.

It’s the general recommendation that FSOs and their EFMs give birth in the U.S. I believe if I were adamant about remaining here they would not force me to leave. However, JR and I are both comfortable following the recommendations of State and the doctors here, and they advise that I return to the U.S. by 34 weeks. So from the time we confirmed my pregnancy and due date, I had an expected departure date. I can choose to leave post earlier, and if I have any medical complications or there are concerns, post can decide to send me earlier.

I have the option of returning to anywhere in the U.S. to deliver. I will be there for about six weeks before the baby is born, and will remain there until the baby is six weeks old, at which point the baby will obtain his/her own medical clearance and passport, be offically added to JR’s travel orders, and we will return to Kosovo (if that sounds simple, let me assure you – it won’t be. The to-do list looks very complicated and we’ve heard it can be very time consuming and difficult to get this all processed within six weeks.) There was really no question that I would be going to Ohio. Now, if I were the FSO, I might opt to deliver in DC, because then I’d have the possibility of working up until the baby’s birth.

While you are on medevac, you are entitled to a per diem allowance for housing and food and miscellaneous expenses. Depending on the anticipated length of your medevac, you can choose to stay in a hotel or a short term rental, but the rate must meet the per diem amount or you will be responsible for the difference. If you have the option of staying with family and wish to do so, then you do not receive any housing allowance, but you do receive the food/miscellaneous portion of the per diem. Luckily for us, my grandparents have a basement apartment that is just waiting for me to move in (I’ve already started to refer to them as my roomies). You can look up any city’s per diem rates here: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877?utm_source=OGP&utm_medium=print-radio&utm_term=perdiem&utm_campaign=shortcuts

Additionally, my flight home and return flight are covered by the medevac, although techinically when I fly back with the baby, the baby will fly on JR’s travel orders, not on my medevac orders.  The baby will have his or her own plane ticket, which is nice so that I can bring an infant seat on the plane, but seems like it would be much more useful if they wanted to pay for my mom to have a plane ticket to fly back with me.  🙂  But before we can do that, we’ll go through the 30 step process of getting the baby cleared and permitted to travel. JR’s travel to join me for the baby’s birth is not paid for, so we will probably use his R&R ticket to cover that expense. We are still working out the details of his leave -how much time can he take, when should he fly back, and things like that.

Phew.  That is a LOT of information and probably more than anyone actually cares to know about this process.

bored