Matamoros, Mexico: Washington, D.C.:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The New Year

Let's get straight to the good stuff: I'll be bidding in a few weeks! The list for AIP (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan) posts has already come out, but since I'm not really interested in any of those right now, I think I'll pass. I've gotten some sound advice from some senior people that I trust that going to AIP as a second tour is no longer worth it, career-wise. Of course, it's a huge boon if you need money fast (my salary would more than double for the year I would be there), but since I'm not cash-strapped, I'm fine with passing that up for a job that might be more beneficial to my career. Of course, going to AIP wouldn't necessarily hurt, but the advice I've received says it has no influence on tenure or promotion at this point. If I were a mid-level officer, then sure, I'd probably consider it. But at this point, I'm looking elsewhere.

Speaking of looking elsewhere, I have no idea where elsewhere is. I don't want to get my heart set on a specific country or a specific job and then it not even be an option on the bid list. (There is actually one job that I'd love to get, but it's not a job you bid for anyway. I doubt I'd get it as a second tour officer, anyway. This job is for the really high-caliber folks, and they tend to prefer people with a bit more experience. That said, I'll still be tossing my proverbial hat in the ring.) So, I'll patiently wait for the bid list to come out, and then spend two to three weeks pouring over all of the options. It's both exciting and slightly unnerving to realize that I'll be selecting my fate in just a few weeks. The great thing about the Foreign Service is all of the moving around and the subsequent adventure. Then again, one of the bad things about the Foreign Service is all of the moving around and the subsequent headaches. Regardless, I'm looking forward to being able to look forward to my future post.

I'm coming up on my 1-year mark at Post, toward the end of February. The first year has been full of great learning opportunities - opportunities and experiences that I probably would not have received had I ended up where I was originally assigned during A-100. Plus, although I miss the real "adventure" of living overseas (technically, I live over-river), I enjoy being able to go into the US whenever I want and enjoy US culture (and being able to buy stuff at normal prices.)

Speaking of milestones, I'm getting ready to shift positions from working in the NIV section to being in the ACS section. I'm very much looking forward to this change, because I've pretty much exhausted all of the interesting things about doing non-immigrant visas. I'm not sure how it is in a truly overseas post, but all of my interviews are blurring together at this point. Everyone has the same story, the same economic stability, the same ties to Mexico. However, in ACS, I'll be working with American citizens who need assistance, or helping make new American citizens altogether with a CRBA, or giving someone their first US passport. I'm ready to change things up a bit in my daily routine.

The picture looks warped because
I took it on my phone while running and
the shutter clearly wasn't fast enough.
In the realm of entertainment, I ran a 10K today and did about as well as I thought I would. I run an average pace, and I finished in about average place. I probably should invest in some running shoes, though... the shoes I wear now are trail hiking shoes and are about 2 years old. I took the following photo in the middle of the race.

At least this time, as opposed to the two other races I've run in Mexico, there were no Mexican people heckling me for being a white guy.

I'll report back when the bid list comes in and share a few thoughts about that whole process. Until then, feel free to contact me with questions you may have about the Foreign Service - that's what I'm here fore.

Until next time...peace


  1. Andrew, try Indonesia. My parents were posted there sixty years ago, it was pretty interesting.

  2. Re-entering comment: My parents were posted in Indonesia sixty years ago....I was born there. Have been also in Kabul and Chennai (that was Madras) and they were great posts back then. Also, Bonn. Didn't mean to sign on as Anon. I have been following your blog for a while.
    Patricia Grayson (Foreign Service brat)

  3. Thanks for the info!

  4. It's April already so you've probably found out your next post and may even be there already (no updates? ^_^).
    For future consideration, though, I think you should bid for somewhere in Africa. I lived in Botswana for 3 years as a kid and it was by far my favorite of my FSO dad's posts. The people were so lovely and we got to go on safaris(!) almost every month. When/If I become an FSO myself I hope I can go back there.