Thank you all for your input. After much thought, consideration and discussion with family, friends and the romance language heavies at FSI, I believe I’ve come to a solid decision. My favorite little pearl of wisdom came from my MIL, buried in a different post’s comments. She recommends that I “make the decision so that your life can be more centered and peaceful”. I need to write that on a scrap of paper and keep it folded in my change purse.
I also spoke with one of our fellow FSOs who will be in the position of GSO at the Luanda embassy. He was fairly confident that I would not be allowed to use the diplomatic pouch service for shipping related to the business. Without this benefit, there don’t seem to be many (if any) other options which are financially viable for operating an online enterprise of which shipping is a major part. Harumph.
Also, since I’ve been working like I’m preparing for a show (or 5), I have a lot of money tied up in stock and materials. Multiple skins of leather are very heavy as are my machines and mini die press. It seems like a good idea to unload several hundred pounds of leather goods before we ship everything to Luanda, only to have it sit there with us in our apartment unable to ship back to states. Cash is much lighter than leather.
I think I’ve got to make hay while the sun shines. Although I’ll be able to replenish, expand and develop my stock while in Luanda, there may not be many opportunities for sales.
I explored my options with the language classes at FSI. The teachers are all very supportive and although they encouraged me to stay, I believe I need to shift gears to the distance learning. I will work from home a few hours a day and have a consultation with a teacher for an hour each week. I am allowed to sit for the final test so if I decide to accept work at the embassy I’ll still get a little salary bump for proof of a level 3/3 fluency. I’ve also made plans to meet up with one of my classmates, a USAID worker headed to Mozambique, once a week to chat for an hour or so. Still working on getting Snakes to toss phrases around with me, slowly but surely when dealing with reptiles, I often remind myself.
On Friday, my last day at FSI, I had an assessment from my learning counselor. I was a point higher than I expected in speaking and on target with reading comprehension. I’m a smidge nervous about this decision because I recognize and appreciate (both on my own and through comments shared) the importance of fluency. Will I have the self discipline to continue my studies independently? Day 1= so far so good. Listening to Portuguese dialogue while sewing, gluing and cutting. Not sure this constitutes centered or peaceful, but I’d like to think I’ve at least pointed my self in that direction.