Pirates and Tigers and Maoists - oh my!

Well, our bid list came out yesterday and reality really is a humdinger.  The infamous bid list, in our case, has about 100 locations that we need to organize into high, medium, and low preference.  Along with the prioritized list we need to submit a list of preferences that have informed our choices and will hopefully inform the choices of those above who actually get to select where we go :)

Max and I have been working out our "preferences" and they mostly have to do with quality of work life for him.  What type of job will he be doing? Will he get to learn a new language or practice his Arabic, Hebrew, Portuguese or Spanish?  How will this effect his career?  What is the general morale like at post...is that even determinable before casting our lots?  We've been told that unaccompanied posts are not an option for first timers (can I get a yay!?) so with that out of the way my only real preference would be a place where any of the following are reasonable accessible to me: history/archeology/nature/museums/people/wonder in general.  I don't really care if I have to wear a head scarf, or say goodbye to hamburgers and spices for two years, or bring a fur hat or a lava lava, or go without television, paved roads, and to some extent modern health care. (Don't tell Shawn I said that, Jenn.)  But I am interesting in learning about another culture and another place.  So those are my only two cents really.   I'm not set on working, but I would if the opportunity presented itself.  I'll have my Masters to finish and the world of books to make and read. 

Having signed on to be "worldwide available" and Max's uncanny ability to pick up languages - Arabic included - will put us in some precarious situations, I understand that.  So I think we are keeping pretty realistic about things.  You get an idea of glamor and adventure then you read something like this from a possible post:        

"Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions."

Adventure? Yes.  Glamor? Maybe not.  But then again I'm no Mariner.

So all in all we are excited, but I think we are also as aware of the realities of what being a foreign service officer means as we can be at this point.  I was in a similar place before we went to the Middle East for the first time.  I wasn't stuck in Lawrence-of-Arabia-Land, but I was very much looking forward to new experiences and challenges.  It's a bit of optimistic pessimism, if there can be such a thing.  I've said this before, but preparing for the worst has left me with almost entirely positive experiences abroad.  When I heard people complain about a late bus in Jerusalem I thought instead "Wow, these buses are actually taking me where I want to go!  That's awesome."  When  I got ripped off in by a taxi driver in Jordan I thought "Well, I only lost about 5 dollars and not 10.  What could be nicer?"  It's kind of silly, I know.  I can call a spade a spade, but traveling requires a certain level of flexibility and...well, insanity.  To be elated when things are pleasant and prepared when they are not has been a very successful travel philosophy for me so far.  It has made me more grateful.  But enough of that mushy stuff for today.


  1. You are cool. Why? Because you've been to crazy places and are willing to go back! How great to have so many options and how wonderful that they all seem to be below the Artic circle. :) That is how I rate the new places I'm willing to live: Weather forecasts and average daylight. Although I am curious to see how flexible you're willing to be once you start having kids. :) I was much more willing before kids and traveling with kids and schools became a factor. So fun for you!

  2. Rin, you are right about kids probably. But that's why we have to be crazy now! Right?

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  4. Oooooooh the bid list! It's almost overwhelming until you start to think about what your bidding preferences are. I can't believe flag day is still weeks away. We'll all go some place cool, with a list like that it would be hard not to!

  5. I miss working with you. But you are really having adventures!

  6. Don't worry, my lips are sealed :) But Shawn does read your blog occasionally. Can't wait to see where you end up. Hope you are doing good in DC.

  7. Yay! (For no unaccompanied posts...)

    Also, pirates? Really? I had a hard time shoving Johnny Depp (Jack Sparrow) out of my mind when I read that. I know. I'm sad.

    Please call me soon. I want to talk to you and hear more details. Do you have the same cell as a few weeks ago?

  8. Best of luck on organizing your bid list. I know how difficult it all can be - so here's hoping you get something you really want...

  9. how I wish you could name names....but you can't, so I'll have to use my imagination. Would love to hear more about your preferences. Will be crossing fingers for you.