Saturday, January 11, 2014

Busily Bidding

11.1.14
Kristen says...

Hi!

Sorry it's been a quiet start to 2014 blog-wise...we just honestly haven't been doing much worth blogging about! We spend the vast majority of our 8-day New Year's break at home--we didn't drive the car even one time during that break! :)

We did have a few couple visitors, though:
Charlie
Sanchai
OK, so they were really Pip's visitors, but Chris and I were kept pretty busy wrangling them all over the apartment! It was my first experience with a cat in the house and it was very interesting...the biggest downside was the litter box, for sure, but I really miss his purring. I wonder if I could teach Pip to purr? :)

Then, of course, just as the visitors were getting ready to go, both Chris and I came down with nasty colds that actually extended my holiday vacation by two days (shucks... well, except really this cold is the worst) and has kept us pretty quiet for the past week.

Oh yes, and we're bidding for our next post.

What does that entail, you ask?

Well, similarly to last time, last week we were given a list of cities and countries that had an Embassy, Consulate, or Consulate General that needed someone with Chris' abilities/job specialty. We have until the middle of February to rank and submit our list (as opposed to last time when we had just over two weeks) but Chris has a training during that time so we need to get as much research done as possible now, before he gets really busy in a few weeks.

What do you research to fill out a bid list, you might ask?

Well, it depends on who you are. Chris and I both came up with our top 10 criteria of what we were looking for in a post. For me it's important that there be schools I can potentially teach in and that Pip can get there safely and not have to spend (too much) time in quarantine. And similarly to last time, Chris is looking into the particulars of the job he will be doing, trainings he might need and other important issues.

As we go we also reach out to post and other resources to have any specific questions answered.

So, once we feel our questions have been answered and we know what we would like, we submit our ranked list by a certain day and a couple weeks later, we'll get our new assignment... !

Which is really kind of weird considering we have an entire year left in Vladivostok! Yep, we will know where we're going almost a full year before we even leave Vlad...it's a pretty cool thing.

[For those of you out there who have any familiarity with the Foreign Service, this isn't how bidding always goes in the State Department...actually because we're SD newbies we have two of what are called "directed" tours...we fill out the list according to where we'd like to go, but in the end we are directed where the needs of the Service dictate Chris' particular skills will be of the most use. After this we'll move on to another style of bidding, one I don't understand yet (because I haven't experienced it yet) and will not even begin to try to explain here. :) ]

So, that's been exciting and a little stressful...as with any list, there are some places I'd really like to go, and a few I'd rather not, but we'll see in a month and a half or so...until then, keep your fingers crossed for us to go someplace worth blogging about! :)

For now, however, we are still loving our Vladivostok Adventure (even if the past two weeks have pretty much taken place in our apartment)! I'm excited to start seeing some of the months I've already experienced here...I'm sure this year will be much different now that I'm working and volunteering, but I'm sure there will be some "repeat" events, too, and it will be fun to have impressions the second time around.

KF

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