Page 28 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2012

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F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / A P R I L 2 0 1 2
fering advice on everything fromWeb
site content to plans for expansion. I
was quickly nominated to the school
board and by the following fall, was a
fully indoctrinated volunteer. The
school was growing quickly, though,
and I was asked to do more than just
help out: they wanted to pay me for
my efforts.
Despite the fact that Iceland and the U.S. had a de facto
bilateral work agreement, no diplomatic American citizen
spouse had ever worked on the local economy. So no one
knew exactly how to get a work permit, since it had never
happened before. As luck would have it, the new human
resources assistant at the embassy was not only willing to
help, but felt (as did I) that success would set a precedent
for future U.S. citizen Eligible Family Members at post.
Six long months later, I had my Icelandic work permit
and could officially receive my paycheck from the school. I
was able to teach English as a Second Language at a school
that now had 47 registered students,
as well as substitute when other
teachers were absent.
The irony? I ended up leaving
my position after working full time
for just one semester. I was eight
months pregnant withmy third child
and wanted the full Icelandic birth
experience and bonding time with
our little guy, Nicholas.
By far, my Icelandic employment was the most difficult
experience in many respects. While the job was mine the
minute I wanted it, the permit process was much more
challenging to complete. However, I have learned that
even the impossible is yours if you truly want it and refuse
to give up.
I’m not working right now for a variety of reasons, but I
do know this much. If I desire a job at our next post, my 14
years as an Eligible Family Member has given me the pa-
tience and tenacity to see it through.
No diplomatic American
citizen spouse had ever
worked on the local
economy before me.