When you join the Foreign Service, before you go overseas for the first time, you are required to take a course called Security Overseas Seminar, or as I have referred to it before, "Scaring Officers (and others) Silly."
Like everyone else in that class, and every SOS class, when I heard that 85% of Foreign Service officers and specialists will be the victim of crime over the course of their career, I vowed to be in the 15% who weren't. And I made it a year and a month after joining...or just two months after taking the class and making that vow...
Eight years ago in April, back when we were in Jerusalem, our apartment was robbed. The computer and cell phone were a pain to replace, but they were replaceable.
Not exactly replaceable were the ring I inherited from my mother and my and my wife's class rings.
My wife gave her class ring to me before we got married. I had stopped wearing it because we had gotten married and exchanged wedding rings, and so it was at home and there for the taking (insert expletives here about those who did it...I am STILL pissed).
I was particularly devastated by the loss of my mother's ring. She had loved that ring and wore it every day. She had always said she wanted me to have it when she died, but neither of us expected it to be while she was still so young.
The second most devastating loss was my wife's ring. I just felt like I had let her down by not having it with me (since she at the time was still stateside in language training).
Fast forward to January or February. My alumni association sends an announcement that it is time to order class rings. And reminds alumni that they too can order that ring they never got around to buying (or couldn't afford) back when they graduated.
And I thought, I wonder if they have my wife's school too. And they did! So I ordered replacements for both our rings...I remember it taking forever when I was in school, and I needed in time for my wife's birthday in May. And they got here in time...in fact, too early. Like March.
And I had to wait to wear my ring so I wouldn't spoil the surprise.
She was surprised. I didn't realize just how badly I continued to feel over it until I saw how much she liked it (and that she has worn it every day since!)
But I was surprised too, because she didn't tell me until she got it just how much it meant to her. Turns out she had worn it every day since graduating until she gave it to me. She gave it to me because it meant something, because I meant something. She was devastated, but didn't say anything because she knew how I felt about my mother's ring. she didn't want to add insult to injury.
She says I can never say she isn't romantic and sensitive ever again. Fair point.
And so basically everything that was taken has been replaced, except for my mother's ring. But I still have her memory. They can't take that.