Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hosting The Weekly State Department Blog RoundUp

(This blog entry and the next two are intended for the State Department/Foreign Service blogger community. If you are not part of that community, you may not find these entries useful or interesting.)

So after contemplating it for months, I finally volunteered to host the Weekly State Department Blog RoundUp. If I had two functioning brain cells left, I would have done it before the baby came but it’s one of those woulda, coulda, shoulda kinda things. Guess I am a glutton for punishment, cause there’s nothing like sleeplessness and hormones to motivate me, so here I am hosting the RoundUp this Friday.

I even have an optional theme (or topic) for it. I am actually not a big fan of themes for the RoundUp as more often than not I don’t have much to say on the themes but I was inspired by two wonderful blog entries (that you can read here and here), written by Sarah over at Novakistan last week. Sarah’s current post is Manila and she wrote a two-part piece  about the best things in Manila from food and services to travel and entertainment. Reading those blog entries  made me want to live in Manila but it also got me thinking – wouldn’t it be nice if we had this kind of information for every post out there. It would be so helpful when we bid on posts, get ready to go to a post and once we get to a new post. Now, I know that similar information is provided by the Transition Center at FSI but it’s a pain in the neck to access. This would not be replacing what’s already provided by State but it would complement it nicely because it would be more personal and you could ask questions of the blogger and get a good understanding of what you are getting yourself into. Plus, we could add a gazillion pictures…

So the theme for this week’s RoundUp is Best of (your current or past post, if you are in DC). If you are new to the Foreign Service but have lived overseas, perhaps you can write about that country/city. For example, we have yet to go to our first overseas post (New Delhi) with the Foreign Service but I am originally from Bulgaria and spent the first 25 years of my life there, so I am thinking about writing a blog entry on the Best of Bulgaria, hoping it would help the people bidding on Sofia.

In my hormonal delirium head I was also envisioning a marriage between this Best of idea and Kolbi’s State Department Blogger Map, so that when you click on a pin on the map, you could see the Best of blog entry for that post. Kolbi and Sarah liked the idea, so we’ll try to make it happen.

Last but not least, while I love how positive and uplifting Sara’s two-part piece was, I know that most of us need a true picture of each post, which may include information that’s not necessarily positive. So if there’s something at your post that you wish you had known before you got there because it would have helped you make a more informed bidding decision, please include that too. Whether it’s lack of activities for children, or high price of gasoline, or air pollution, I am sure most of us would appreciate knowing the kinds of things no one from the official sources tells you before we get to post.

Please leave me a link to your Best of post in the comments below.

Happy blogging!

P. S. If you are interested in hosting the RoundUp in the future, you can sign up here.


  1. Here's mine. Thanks for hosting!

  2. I just rewrote it and updated it so hopefully if fits the OTP. I should probably list the link eh?

  3. Love this! Can't wait to see what places are featured!

  4. Daniela - since I'm now back in the States and don't write much about live overseas, please forgive me for not participating! I'll just look forward to reading all about everyone else's adventures!

  5. Mines up although I opted out of the optional talking point. I can't wait to see what everyone else writes.
    Thanks for hosting!

  6. Here's my best of DC post, since that's where we are right now.


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