Tim asked a very good question: does the current post feel like a hardship assignment?
To be honest, I am not sure that 'real life' wouldn't feel equally like hardship. I've done this for what feels like so long (current stint 11 years) that I have forgotten what it might feel like to be settled.
When I am home in Australia staying with my elderly parents, I have to guard against my impulse to buy groceries as if facing the siege. Here, and on previous posts, groceries are problematical. Things appear in the shop in reasonable quantities and then disappear, never to be seen again. I remember once waiting for six months for worcestershire sauce to be restored to me. Although the varierty has improved, one French chain of supermarkets has enormous shops the size of hangers, with whole aisles, from foot to ceiling, ten or more metres, of the same thing: same brand, same size, same close-date-expiry. The worst is the search for edible fruit and vegetables ... but oh that has to be another post.
Marius has a great job, satisfying, demanding, interesting: world leading in his field. We've past the nest egg stage, and really, we are not into a wardrobe of fast cars, gold bangles and designer everything. We are very fortunate, financially, I know. We can afford to go on nice holidays and stay at decent places, but again we don't do much of the 5-star stuff.
We pay, emtionally, through the nose, as you would have gathered. The biggest external hardship though, is the medical system, and for me that is a real problem. I have an exceedingly rare (1-10 in 1 million) disease that nobody knows how to treat, and I have been in more hospitals and seen more doctors than you can count. The medical system here is good, virtually free and ... oh god, impossible. I have monthly infusions of immunoglobulin in a room that looks like a scene from a newscast about a suicide bombing, where they bring the dead and dying in on wheelbarrows, only without the blood and body parts. There are twenty of us packed into a four-bed room, some on stretchers, the sick ones in hospital beds (lucky me), in arm chairs, in wheel chairs and waiting room type chairs. I share a drip stand ... strangely, the room is mixed, with a dividing curtain. I have been promoted now and I usually get to be with the ladies. Waiting rooms for clinics, pathology, emergency, are all segregated, so if my husband brings me, we either stand together in a corridor, or he has to wait outside. If he ever has to bring me to emergency, we haven't worked out what we will do, because men are not allowed in to the ladies' emergency, at all.
Sorry, I'm ranting.
Yes, I guess you would call it a hardship posting, but there are much worse ones that I will never try: we have an agreement.