Our bid list comes out TODAY!!! That's right, the list of 300 or so possibilities for our next assignment will be posted at some point today (or more likely tonight, for us). It kind of sucks because John and I are going to Spain on Sunday for two weeks. So we have tomorrow (Saturday) to go into the office and figure out as much as we possibly can because the bids are due before we return. And not having access to the Intranet is going to suck, plus I don't really want to be arguing with John over how much running should factor into our bidding strategy. But we'll figure it out.
So what does second tour bidding mean, for those of you who don't know? Well, unlike last time, when we had to rank every bid on our list as high, medium, or low, and it was up to someone else to figure out how all that timing would work, this time we have to come up with 30 perfect (or near-perfect) bids. What that means is, we have to find posts that work out perfectly in terms of timing, because there can be no gaps or overlaps. So, in our case: we move in August of 2014. John has to fulfill his consular requirement, preferably in a Spanish-speaking country (it's advised to get a world language by your second tour, because they can be very difficult to get further down the road, and we don't want to be limited to only English and Russian-speaking posts; plus I'd REALLY like to live somewhere I (sorta kinda) speak the language). Since Spanish is approximately six months of training, plus six weeks of consular training and 4-6 weeks of required "home leave" (vacay in the states), we're looking at Western Hemisphere tours beginning in Spring 2015.
Of course, we have no idea what's going to be on our list. We want to go somewhere relatively safe, obviously, and this time school will be a major factor because Jack will be entering Kindergarten there. We also have to bid in at least two regions, so we'll probably include some European and East Asian posts, depending on our options. As much as I'd love to go somewhere English-speaking, like Ireland, or random, like Cambodia, getting a world language for John is our major factor here. And even though I kind of want to go directly to our next post, because I feel like eight months in the US is not really an ideal amount of time (long enough to start getting used to things like Sarah and Target and being able to drink the tap water - NOT long enough to get a job or fully move into a house or let Jack finish a year of preschool), it will be fun to get to see everyone again for a little while.
I'll keep you all posted on what we're looking at (and this time, even if we end up somewhere only medium-awesome, I will expect visitors!!). Wish us luck for some good options!