Saturday, August 22, 2009

The List, Narrowed Down

A while back I posted the long list of choices on our current bid list. Choices! That makes it sounds as if we look at the list, decide where we think would be cool, and then off we go. Ha! If only! The bidding process is long and complicated. It would help if you think of the bid list as a list of job openings for which we may apply. So you get this long list, then you decide maybe I would like to go to....hmmm.....we'll pick Paris. Then you research Paris, things to do, schools (if you have kids), housing, quality of life.....the research goes on and on. You start to dream of walking through the streets of Paris. This is usually my job. I get to do the research and decide if this is someplace we could live.

Next comes submitting the bid and lobbying for the position. Lobbying actually had more to do with who you know than any thing else. Networking it is a must! David gets to do the lobbying since he is the employee. And then you wait. And wait. And wait some more.

Oh, did I mention that while this is going on David is up for a promotion and if it comes through we will have redo our bids. So much fun. There is a more concise explanation of the bidding process over at Life After Jerusalem and another over at Email from the Embassy. I am not going to try to explain all the intricacies of bidding when others have already done a fine job of it.

Here is our short list. This is the list of places to which we submitted bids.

Lilongwe Malawi
Harare Zimbabwe
Kathmandu Nepal
Maputo Mozambique
Hanoi Vietnam
Dar Es Salaam Tanzania
Vientiane Laos
Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

You may be thinking what happened to Paris? Well lots of things. First housing in Paris is apartments. We have 4 kids and are in an apartment now. It sucks. Kids need space to run and play with out worrying about bothering the people downstairs so Paris will have to wait. Second there are lots of people bidding on Paris and only one is getting the job. Then there is this notion of differentials. A differential is extra pay to offset the difficulties of living someplace difficult. All of the posts we bid on this cycle have a high differential. In addition there is this thing called fair share bidding in which you have to bid on a high differential post once in every 8 years and you have to continue to bid until you have served at a high differential post which resets your clock for another 8 years. Just the foreign service's way of making sure that people bid on places like Yaounde and Bujumbura. Confused yet? Don't worry me too. And finally we are ready for a change, a new adventure, something different. Africa would be a great adventure!


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear about the promotion! I hope Africa, too!

Anonymous said...

Cool :) i agree that kids need space to stretch out.

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Susan said...

Wow, very exotic list! That is very interesting about the bidding process. If you get to go to Africa, that would be so interesting!

Donna said...

Hey - are you sure you're not just copying my blog? I have four kids, a long bid list, a husband waiting on a promotion list to come out... and we decided against Paris! It's like looking in a mirror. Thanks for linking to me and good luck with the bidding process. If you decide to bid on Beijing, let me know and I'll fill you in on it. We also loved Yerevan when we were there (I think it was on your original list) but I wouldn't go with school-aged kids - not after the great schools we have here.

Danny said...

I thinkI would like to see Lilongwe. I looks interesting.

Jenn said...

Africa!!!! Africa!!! Africa!!! I might come live with you for a whole summer!!!

Kate Husband said...

If you come to Africa, you can learn to ride! We have friends who really liked Maputo (with kids) and friends who loved Lilongwe (but have grown kids, so I don't know about the school). Of course, we are looking at Europe.... Oh well! Maybe someday we will be on the same continent!

Jill said...

Oh the joys of bidding... I'm so thankful that we have one more year before we have to go through that stress again.

Your list is similar to our last list - Tanzania was our 1st choice, Malawi was our second... and we got our third - Chennai.

Best of luck to you. Don't you often wonder why they have the promotion list come out mere days before the lists are due. As if they don't know people will be changing their lists if they do get promoted.