Tag Archives: Bidlist

And the bids are in…

And we will be going to…


RIO DE JANEIRO January 2014!!!

(Yes, yes, our #1 bid!)

I’m so happy I almost peed myself!

Kind of odd thinking that’s still 2 years away, but that’s how this life works (and good to have a ton of notice this time!).  We’ll be in Manila until May of next year, then back in DC until it’s time to go to Rio!  (And we arrive on the year of the World Cup, woohoo!!!)

Now, who’s visiting?


Filed under Foreign Service

And it’s off… The bidlist, that is!

Yesterday (or today, if you happen to still be reading this on Monday – gotta love living in the future) our bidlist was due.  Of course, ours was out by Friday, because why keep staring at the same thing for another few days when we know we won’t change a thing?

It seems like now it will be two anxiety-filled weeks while we wait for the results (some of what we bid later on this post!).

(If you’re new around these parts and are wondering “what the hell is a bidlist?” – basically our bids for our future posting are out.  We get a list of positions available, check against our timing and requirements, if everything matches perfectly, you are allowed to bid in that position and create a “bidlist” – the State Department takes your preference into mind then places you where they want to place you – needs of service and all that – but if you’re lucky, you and State don’t disagree, no one else gives a better reason than you for going to a place and you get your top picks.)

The BAD:  Karl’s career is in management, but due to our timing with when we leave Manila and his language requirement, he could only bid in other consular jobs (basically, he will do the same job he does now, which won’t add anything to his future career/experience to make him more competitive when he’s bidding for mid-level jobs). 

As for the language requirement, since he’s only fluent in English, he needs to learn another language within the first two tours in order to get tenured – so that requires checking online language classes schedules at the training institute in DC, and only bid in those positions where the time we leave Manila and the time we arrive in DC coincide with the start of language classes, and the time language classes finish coincide with the time we would have to arrive at the future post. 

The NEUTRAL:  For his bidlist to be valid, he had to bid in 30 positions, but to be able to put 30 positions on his list, we pretty much had to bid in everything (save for 2 or 3) that was available to us.  We also had to get creative – we have 20 business days of home leave that he is required to take.  (For non-State people:  Home Leave is time spent in the US.  There’s a minimum time in between posts or 3 years, whichever is shorter, that you have to spend in the US – so you don’t lose your ties with the country — and time in training/work doesn’t count.  So it’s a vacation of sorts, except for folks like us who don’t own a place in the US, it means we either have to pay for a hotel for four weeks, or hop from friends and family place during that time.  In our case, Home Leave location is Seattle, which is where Karl is from – we can, however, spend home leave anywhere as long as it is within US borders, but State will only cover travel to what is your Home Leave state.)

Anyway, 20 business days of Home Leave is required, but if we did that, we would not get enough bids due to the odd timing, so we had to cut home leave in two parts – half after leaving Manila/before language training starts, half after language training starts/before arriving at post (second part being spent in DC, which is fine by us, since we both lived there well before Karl worked with State, so it’s also “home” for us).  That was the only way we could get 21 “perfect” bids (we had one that was already perfect, and you’re allowed 8 that is “imperfect” – where you either leave current post one month early/late or arrive in the future post one month early/late).

The GOOD:  The only reason “bidding in any and every single position available to us” was considered neutral is because what was available was not bad at all!  Sure, we all have preferences, and some of us would HATE to live in a place that others would love to go to (for example, I’d die in Moscow’s cold winter, but if you love the cold, that might be a dream come true place for you).  And at our final list?  Sure we’re not equally excited about every place, but up to #20 in our list, we’re pretty ok going there…  (And only one has a true winter – hi Canada, I’m looking at you!)

So what did we bid on after all?  Karl said I shouldn’t share the cities (he’s too afraid he’ll get in trouble for me oversharing in my blog), but I can share the countries!  (And I made an executive decision  — since it’s my blog and I’m NOT associated with the State Department, except on the “being a wife” thing – that two cities are ok for me to share, because my hometown is in the list, eeeeek!!!)

So here it goes!  We were able to bid in 6 (YES, 6!!!) positions in Brazil!  And Rio is included on that list!  Imagine, living near family?  (It’s been 15 years!  16 by the time we leave Manila!) Living near the (clean) ocean again?  Near the beach?  Having this as my backyard?


Getting to run here anytime I want to?


SPECIALLY when that background for me is HOME.  Considering how hard it’s been to make friends in Manila, and how we still don’t have a social circle (and I was one big social butterfly in DC), the thought of arriving in a place where I already have so many amazing friends, makes me way too happy!

Other places in Brazil were on the list too!  Brasilia was also in there, and though it’s nowhere even near the ocean, I also lived 7 years there during my teen years, and have kept in touch with lots of friends (some who even came to my wedding), so it would also be an instant-social life! 

And let’s not forget that Karl would learn Portuguese if we went to Brazil, and he would be able to talk to the rest of my family!  Our kids could grow up knowing Portuguese too if Karl could speak it as well!

So yes, though we have no idea how likely it is that we’ll end up in Brazil, it’s still exciting that it’s even a possibility!  (Please please please pray for us!)

For our other possible future locations?  Cape Verde!  (The only post in Africa we could bid on – but also another Portuguese-speaking country!)  Argentina!  (But seems like everyone and their dog wants to live there…)  Chile!  (Again, lots of people wanting to go to Chile, the skiing there is great after all.)  Honduras!  (It might be an odd country to put up top, but the reviews are great, everyone living there is happy and you have beaches nearby AND you get to live in a house, woot!)  Peru!  (It would be totally weird following Sarah’s footsteps from Manila to Peru, but living near the beach?  Yes, please!)  Nicaragua!  (Again, like Honduras, people are super-happy there.)  Mexico!  (Lots and lots of Mexico posts, but we were able to keep the most dangerous ones off our final list, and what’s left is not bad at all.)

There were a few other places we bid on, but the list above easily covers almost 20 bids of our list, if not more (again, lots of Mexico).  Let’s hope we won’t end up at the last 10 posts we bid on, but if we do, there’s nothing that we’re actually dreading, so we’re really really lucky about that.

As for the results, I *think* we should find out in 2-3 weeks.  Fingers crossed!

Anyone else from State bidding on this last cycle too?  What was YOUR top 5?  (Or 10!)  Feel free to email me the answers if you don’t want to make it public!


Filed under Foreign Service

Updates (without actually updating anything, really)

So after writing a post about how I rarely wear makeup, I, of course, put on makeup today.  Ha!


I even put on a suit!  And considering I haven’t been able to get those 20 pounds off, it was very very very uncomfortable, despite my smile for the camera.  (On the bright side, after writing that post in July, those 20 extra pounds quickly became 28 extra pounds, but we’re back at only 20 pounds extra now…  Yay, muay thai!)

So, my go-to suit did not fit (unless I had no plans on sitting or breathing the rest of the afternoon), so I went with a back up, and mismatched my gray skirt/black jacket, but whatever.  I can still pull off a suit!

The interview?  Went fine.  It was short, but it’s not like it’s brain surgery that I’m applying for, so what can they really ask?  So I have no idea if I’ll get picked or not, but then again, if I don’t, I’m not desperate to work, nor are we hurting for money, so it’s ok.  My ego will certainly be bruised, but I’ll get over it!  Whatever happens, is for the best, and that’s my motto right now!

Last night, we also finally (FINALLY!) heard back from DC, after 1.5 weeks of anxious waiting to hear whether our bidlist, where we were super creative with in order to even have any bids, was valid, and if can it be sent for final review.  And…

It’s valid!  And it’ll be final, which is good, as I’m happy going to about 24 of the 30 bids (and the other 6 are not so bad either).

After that, it’s another 2-3 weeks anxiously waiting the results of our next post.  It’ll be odd spending another year in Manila, already knowing where we will move to next, but the deadline will also make us start to appreciate even more all the good things here (like cheap travel! Closeness to other countries!  Two things we already know for sure the future post won’t provide).

Lastly, the hives are mostly gone!  Still have no idea what caused it, but this is the quickest they have disappeared, so I’ll take it!

Oh, and since I’m still super-addicted to my iphone, here is one of my favorite recent pictures:


(And editing everything with Camera+ on the iphone!  I love the picture effects they have!)


Filed under Foreign Service, Pictures, Random

Swimming with Whale Sharks!

YES!  Tomorrow, we’re off to Donsol to swim with these guys:


See that little scuba diver out there?  That’s how big whale sharks (or “butandings” as they’re called here in the Philippines) are!

Sadly for us (but good for them), they’re protected so we can’t actually scuba dive with them, but we get to snorkel while swimming a few feet from them, which may be terrifying enough (just kidding, I’m super-duper excited actually!).

Other things that happened around these parts this week?

We got our bidlist for our next post, but due to timing of when we leave Manila, and when language classes are available, we can technically only bid in one post (only one “perfect” bid), but the rules are that we must bid in 30 (with a maximum of 8 “imperfect” – meaning timing is off by a month), so we’ll see how that goes. 

On facebook people are telling me I should be grateful for options, but they are ignoring the fact that if timing doesn’t work, it is NOT an option (timing is NOT determined by us or by our preferences, but solely by the State Department – Karl MUST take language classes prior to the next post, but those classes are only offered at certain times of year, which don’t coincide with when we leave Manila). 

The good news?  A couple of the “imperfect bids” are in Brazil (pleasepleasepleaseplease let us have that, I miss my country and family so much it hurts).  The bad news?  Lots of the “imperfect bids” are Mexico border posts which, safety aside, to me it doesn’t really translate to “exciting life overseas.”  (I think if you can drive to the US and back on the same day, with no need to rush, you’re not really much overseas, are you?)  It would definitely be a change compared to Manila, that’s for sure!

And lastly…  I officially applied for a job at the embassy today.  Nothing too exciting or high paying (specially since it’s part time), but it’s only 2-3 days a week, so I thought, why not?  We can use the extra cash, since all these trips we’ve been taking = no savings.  Whether I’ll get the job is a whole other story…  Plus I need to get a secret clearance, and that can take ages, so I might be back in DC when it finally comes through.  But at least I’m trying!


Filed under Asia, Foreign Service, Philippines, Trips!