All of Foreign Service life is a game of musical chairs. Every few years we all walk around the world and end up sitting down in one of the chairs for a few years. Perhaps your chair is in Fiji, maybe France, perhaps the Phillipines.
But I’ve found there is another, smaller game of musical chairs played every holiday, where we try to get together with friends, family and old post-mates only to discover they are traveling to meet with other friends, family and old post-mates elsewhere. So, Labor Day came and went, and in spite of a bunch of old Cotonou friends being back inthe US, and my making it a five day weekend, I had no luck getting together with any of them. Fortunately, there was still family.
The other reason I had to have the prius “Carry me back to Ol’ Virginny” is that it was due for its annual inspection, and I have an ulterior motive for keeping it in good standing in the Old Dominion. back when I bought my Prius, you could get special license plates for hybrids which allowed you to drive solo on the HOV lanes in-state, for example, I-66 inside the Beltway during rush hour. They’ve discontinued the practice for new hybrids, but us oldies are grandfathered in (for now). So, I’ve been very careful to keep my driver’s license and registration current in Virginia. It means paying insurance in the US and Canada, but if I’m ever commuting into DC or nearby again, its worth it.
For those of you overseas with the Foreign Service who have a home in Virginia, it is possible to keep your Virginia drivers’ license. Unlike many benefits, this is one where we fall under the same law as the military. Try http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/general/outsideva/diplomat.asp.
Looking for that, I also found we veterans can get a Virginia ID card, although I don’t know exactly what benefits it bestows. Try http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/citizen/id/vet_id.asp. Now I just need to find my DD-214.
It was interesting to be in a “swing state” for a few days, which meant wall to wall political ads. I’m happy to be away from them now (although if Michigan again becomes a swing state, we get some of our US TV out of Detroit).