Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pregnant Woman vs. Bid List

Last evening started out like any other in our household. We read books with Nia and put her to bed around 8 p.m. The house got nice and quiet, so I decided to check my email and read my blog faves. I was struggling to stay awake, as has become my habit since I got knocked up pregnant. All the baby-production going on in my body is making me exhausted and sooooo sleepy, so I was nodding off at the laptop, when I heard Paul say, “Wanna see the bid list?” I was like “Huh?”

It took my sleepy, pregnant brain a moment to register what he was saying but the realization sent a mega dose of dopamine throughout my brain and all of a sudden I was fully awake and my mind was going 100 miles an hour, “The bid list’s here!!! OMG! OMG! OMG! Are you kidding me - of course, I want to see it. We’ve been waiting for that thing FOR, like, EVER!”

So we sat down and stared at it. My mother realized something was up, so she came over and started asking questions. We explained what was going on. Around 9:30 p.m. my mom had had enough and went to bed. At 10 p.m. Paul called it a day too. Not me. I was way too excited and anxious to go to bed because for the first time in a long time we had something specific to look at that narrowed down the number of possibilities for our second post. I was on a mission and not at all interested in sleeping anymore.

A little background (in case you are new to this blog): In order to get tenured, Paul is required to serve in a consular position and learn a language in the first 5 years with the Foreign Service. He is in the Public Diplomacy cone. His first post – eDiplomacy in DC doesn’t satisfy either of the tenure requirements, so the second post has to.

Back to the bid list. First, I removed all the posts that were not consular. Then of those that were, I had to say a teary Buh Bye to lovely posts like Johannesburg, Sydney, Auckland and a few others because they didn’t require a language (damn!). That left me with 171 consular posts that require language, to play with. Of them, we have to bid on 20, in order of preference.

And this is when I let my imagination run wild and created multiple top 20 versions. I know some of you are dying to know, so here’s the spoiler alert - a few of our favorite posts, for which we may or may not qualify due to timing constraints: Casablanca, Istanbul, Skopje, Prague, Moscow, Havana, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Bangkok, Athens, Beijing, Taipei, Almaty, Amman, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Budapest, Rio, Berlin, San Jose and more but I better stop before I get in trouble. Oh, yeah, there were no posts in Bulgaria, again, but that’s OK. Guess it wasn’t meant to be…

I was missing a key piece of information in order to do any meaningful prioritization: namely, the length of time Paul will be in mandatory functional training. Knowing that is crucial because you have to submit 20 realistic bids, which means that the date you are done with all your training (language and functional) can’t be more than 2 months apart from the date your 20 desired posts start. Figuring that out can be tricky because even though all posts are consular, some require different training, so the length of training will vary. So, as much as I would have liked to, I was not in a position to complete the exercise. Not that I really had to. Our top 20 list is not due for weeks.

Anywho, around 1 a.m. my body crashed and I decided to go to bed. But my brain was still in serious overdrive, so I kept tossing ant turning and thinking about various posts. I must have finally zonked around 3 a.m. but at 4:30 a.m. Paul woke up and so did I. It’s around noon now and I am in desperate need of some Zs but it’s just not happening.

I was a mess with our first bid list too but nothing like this and I am not quite sure why…

In any case, in this battle of Crazy Pregnant Woman vs. Bid List, the Bid List won.

Stay tuned for more bid list drama…


  1. Any preference about what language Paul will learn? So exciting! I peaked at the list today. Seems like there are a lot of good options!

  2. Oh man do I know your pain. It was a sleepless night for me too! Chin up, we will get through this without going crazy...

  3. Oh yes, the infamous bid list. Best of luck as you narrow down your selections - and go to a place that you hope to enjoy! This is by far my least favorite time in the State Dept!

  4. Thanks, Ladies!

    Alex, Paul wanted to learn French and was hoping to go to Sub-Saharan Africa but there's nothing in Sub-Saharan Africa on our list and only 5 French-speaking posts, of which Toronto and Bern won't work because of the timing and Port Au Prince is adults only. That leaves us with Casablanca and Ottawa. We'll bid both but may not get them, so we are thinking about other languages he'd like to learn. He's not interested in Spanish but perhaps, Russian, Macedonian and Portuguese.

  5. oh, what fun, I can't wait to hear how it all pans out.

  6. I have heard that this bid list is absolutely fantastic!! I hope when it comes time for us to bid, we get a good one too. Make sure to keep us posted on where you are going to go!!!

  7. Almaty would be interesting. Skopje would be ... well ... awesome. Hopefully we'll see you there. :)


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