It may seem from my recent lack of posts that I am losing interest in writing for the blog. It has been more a matter of having too much to say and too little time to write it out, or maybe too little brainpower to discern what is appropriate to publish, or both. I have multiple posts drafted but none through editing. I haven’t even managed to answer messages in the inbox for some months. There are good reasons for all of this, primarily around how much I am working and how many struggles I have unfortunately been having with my health. For now, as September comes to a close, I didn’t want to miss a month without posting and ruin my perfect record of seven and a half years.
Be all of this as it may, I continue to burst with words that I pour out when I can find the time, even though I haven’t released anything in a while. My posts coming up in the last part of the year will be about:
– My family visit in California this past August, including my road trip to San Diego and my alma mater to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11;
– Recent visits to Tucson, Carlsbad, and Albuquerque;
– My long overdue thoughts on the benefits of the physical therapy I received after my spinal fusion between April and August of this year, and how I have been doing with my health and weight loss goals;
– Some stories about serving a Foreign Service tour on the border, and why traveling between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso can sometimes feel like a trip across town, and other times lately has felt like a lot more than I bargained for;
– A precious trip back to our honeymoon destination that we have been waiting years for;
– And finally, a rundown of my fourth tour bidding efforts. Yes, you heard that right. I have decided not to stay here for a third year and instead kept my original tour length ending summer 2022. Therefore, I have only eight or nine months left and am currently bidding for our onward posting.
We are getting ready to welcome our first visitors soon and take our first trip within Mexico since the pandemic started. Life is not normal, a word I have come to hate for all the spaces it pushes me out of, but it’s certainly not over yet. And neither is Collecting Postcards – there is a lot more to come.
Hi Penny, super interested to hear about where you want to be posted next, and why. In fact, would love to know sects of your desired locations and the reasons you’d want to go there… both professional and personal reasons (i.e. scenery, things to do, etc.).
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Well, I was very interested in serving in the Balkans this go-around, but I don’t think it’s likely to work out. It will most likely be either a domestic tour or something in a small handful of overseas postings I don’t want to be too specific about yet. Things will probably be clearer in a couple more weeks. I will write more about it in November, but I would say that my considerations have been based a lot more on the type of work and positions available and my interest in doing those jobs than the locations per se.
Good luck on the 4th tour bidding. Any particular bureau you’d like to serve in? Any tips for a 2nd tour bidder such as myself?
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Have you read my series on second tour bidding? Directed bidding is pretty hard because you really can’t lobby or network for what you want. It’s all such a crapshoot. I would say other than reading my posts and being pretty clear with your CDO about whatever your considerations are, a couple of other things officers could do are (a) be sure to always update the medical clearances for self and any dependents way beforehand, particularly if you have a Class B situation going on, and (b) read all instructions provided very carefully. The instructions can change a lot from cycle to cycle and things you hear or read (e.g. from this blog!) may no longer be relevant as far as the “rules.” Personal considerations, however, like the way you rank positions, or how you pursue opportunities, will always be something individual that only you can decide. 🙂
Re: your other question, I would love to do a tour in EUR and specifically in the Balkans, but I don’t think it’s going to work out this time. We’ll see.