02 October 2015

Book Review: Am I Going to Starve to Death?

This is my review as it appeared on Goodreads.

Am I Going to Starve to Death?: A Survival Guide for the Foreign Service SpouseAm I Going to Starve to Death?: A Survival Guide for the Foreign Service Spouse by Donna Scaramastra Gorman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For anyone interested in living overseas at all, this book is valuable even if some of the agency specifics don’t apply. There are questions you have to ask yourself and discuss with your partner and family before making the decision to live and work overseas. Although I don’t agree with every single piece of advice, Ms. Gorman is honest and it’s important to hear what worked and what didn’t work for others if nothing else than to know you’re not alone.

We are ten-year veterans with the Foreign Service, so this book was less how-to for me and more nodding my head with recognition. Mix up with my birth control prescription causing me to go without for several months? Resulted in a wonderful daughter a few years before we’d planned to have kids, plus the fun of being pregnant in Burundi.

My wedding ring accidentally packed into the shipment for the slow boat? When my husband went to training and I decided to spend the summer at the beach with our daughter instead of hot and humid D.C., single dads practically fell out of the sky every time I appeared in public.

Losing a pet overseas? That happened to us, too.

Watching my husband pack a bag before leaving for work in case he had to sleep at the consulate because local authorities wanted to arrest him for doing his job? Living in fear that we’d be PNG’d any day because he continued to do his job, even after they decided not to arrest him?

Worrying about terrorist attacks, malaria, ebola, food riots, etc., have all become so much a part of my daily life that I’m almost completely desensitized to them. When they happen (when, not if, in the countries we live in) we’ll deal with it. Oh, and have you heard of acid bugs?

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro? Seeing the Taj Mahal? Taking a three-year-old hiking through Bhutan? Having a five-year-old whose French is better than mine? Eating great new foods? Making friends all over the world? Yup, all that great stuff happens, too. (We’ve also wrangled three assignments in a row on or near the equator, so the endless summer is pretty nice, too.)

These are the experiences that happen to all of us and you can either learn to roll with them or not. You’ll be happier if you relax and roll. I eventually learned that I’m going to make a fool of myself somehow every time I go out so I may as well be resigned to it.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

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