Happy Flag Day! Mr. Crab is on a business trip in the U.S., the first time I've stepped foot on American soil in nearly a year. I'm having a serious case of reverse culture shock! Everything is so big and shiny. And compared to the expensive Persian/Arabian Gulf region, everything seems cheap, like a bargain basement fire sale! This is a pretty busy trip so there won't be much leisure time, but just being back in the States is giving me warm and fuzzy feelings. America, F&#@ YEAH!
In other news: WE GOT OUR BID LIST! There are some amazing "dream posts" on the bid list. Bidding is now becoming our full-time job. Our goal was to whittle down the bid list to 30 jobs, which wasn't too difficult because I'm not qualified to bid on a vast majority of the posts because the job opens too soon and thus no time for language training. The bidding process is very complex as there are multiple issues that must be considered for every single post on the Bid List, from the job description and language to medical considerations. The most difficult part of the process is Timing: you can only bid on jobs where you will have enough time to take Home Leave, language training and, in my case, ConGen (Consulate General training). A lot of the jobs either begin too soon or too late. Luckily, we managed to get down to the required 30 bids. Sorry, I won't reveal any details about our bidding list or strategy until after we are assigned...I don't want to jinx it! But I can reveal two things: on my next post, I MUST serve a consulate tour and MUST serve a language-designated position. That means anything non-consular is out, and English language posts like London or Sydney are also a no-go.
All the assignments will be made by our CDOs, or Career Development Officers. The CDOs will assign Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) in order of their "equity," which is the sum of their current tour differential (hardship), danger and Historically Difficult to Staff (HDS) bonus points. Basically, this means somebody serving in, say, Iraq will have priority over somebody serving in London. Thanks to differential and HDS points, we're probably near the middle of the pack. Wish us luck!