Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Bid List Jitters

After much deliberation, we finalized and submitted our bid list on Monday 4/12, a day before it was due.  There were 103 posts on our list and 93 people in Paul’s class, so there were a few extra posts. We bid high on  57  of the 103 posts on the list, which is unusual – most people had 5-10 highs. Our medium bids were 18, and the low 28.

So, our part with the bid list process is done. It’s all out of our control now but we all know that I get a little bajigity when I am not in control. As a result, I have been in the doldrums for the last couple of days – worried sick about our first post.

Where will they send us? When would we have to leave? Would we have to learn a new language (which would be cool)? What would life be like at post? Will it be interesting? Safe? Polluted? Overcrowded? Buggy? Will we get a decent home? Do I need to worry about the water, malaria, healthcare? What about schools? Will I have to home school, which I will do if I absolutely have to but I’d rather not because want to be “nice mommy” and I just don’t think I will be “nice mommy” if I have to home school. Will there be anything meaningful for me to do there (other than home school)? Is there anything else that I should worry about?

All kinds of crazy scenarios are spinning in my head – some very neat, some outright scary. So I have to do periodic sanity checks. Read every Foreign Service blog I can get my hands on. They all seem to suggest that we’ll be just fine. Look at our bid list for the zillionth time. Did we miss anything? Will we be OK at any of our high bids? Based on our research, yes. How about the medium ones? Yeah, those will be fine too. The lows? Hmmm, those will take some serious getting used to but we can make the best of them too.

So, why am I so verklempt? You would think that I would find all this information reassuring and calm down until we find out where we are going next Friday (aka Flag Day). Not so much. Because there’s no closure until we get that little flag next week.

We talked to Paul’s Career Development Officer (CDO) last week. Very nice lady. She referred to me as Paul’s Peace Corps “souvenir” from Bulgaria. I didn’t terribly mind, in fact I thought it was kinda cute. Paul was not amused.

Anyway, Paul’s CDO was trying to sell us on Mexico. She said she served there and loved it. And don’t get me wrong, we think Mexico is a wonderful place too – we’d love to learn Spanish and experience all the culture, history and food one day. Just not now. All the drug-related violence there is making us both extremely nervous. And there are 14 Mexico posts on our list, 10 of which are along the infamous border. She told us to pick one of the border posts that we were OK with and let her know which it was, in case they need to send us to the border. That kinda sent chills down my spine but what are ya gonna do? They need to fill those spots and we have repeatedly said we are worldwide available.

Oh, I almost forgot, the CDO didn’t think we were “Paris people”! I had a total Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment at that!!! True, we don’t speak French but that is not required for one of the Paris positions. Plus, we can so totally be Paris people! She did not seem convinced…(Mental note to self : Persuasion skills – rusty. Need to practice!)

So now you know why I am still fretting, and obsessing, and nail biting and pen chewing.

This has been a hard post to write under the circumstances but now that I have spilled my guts, I feel better. Whew!

Maybe this blogging instead of therapy thing is working after all…


  1. Your CDO sounds like a gem. She needs to attend some workshops. I don't blame you for being antsy. I'd be too. It's a big deal, where you'll be for the next 2 years. Especially when the person whose hands that is in thinks she "knows your type" and you are a "souvenir".

  2. hi there, just found your blog and will enjoy hearing about your adventures and especially your Flag Day! How interesting that despite 57 highs, she still wanted you to pick a Mexican post. I wonder if they ask that of everyone. But who's going to say Juarez? Good luck!! I'm going to link to your blog from mine.

  3. Thanks for posting your experience. We read it this morning and enjoyed comparing your and our previous experiences. Love "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," will need to use that!

    I am impressed that you had so many highs. We believe we were one of the few that had Kolkata high and had the profile they believe fits well there, so if you are able to swap bid lists highs with others, you may be able to figure out a short list - if you haven't already done so!

    To me, the wait between turning in the list and that moment at Flag Day when you learn your post, is the hardest wait in the foreign service, to date.

  4. Thank you for the moral support, ladies! It's much appreciated!

    As to the number of highs we had, we are pretty open people. The only thing we didn't want was a war zone, because we have a child. So when we learned that we won't be going to Iraq or Afghanistan, we were truly relieved. But as far as I am concerned the Mexican border posts are a war zone, that's why they are low on our list. There are a few other posts that we bid low - adults only posts such as Sanaa, Beirut and Khartoom. Other than that we are really flexible.

    We are hoping that having so many highs is not a bad thing.

  5. Hm. Sounds like your interview went somewhat like our interview. Only we were pushed to DC multiple times (thankfully not Juarez). See you Friday!

  6. Hi Greta,

    We'll take DC before the Mexican border. As a matter of fact, there are a couple of PD positions in DC that we bid high on. The rest of the DC positions were medium for us. Best of luck on Friday!

  7. I'm impressed by how many highs you guys had! Best of luck on Friday!


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