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Well, it is that time of year, when Foreign Service Officers begin bidding for their next post. State Department officers are doing it currently (I think all bids are in), and Department of Commerce folks will begin bidding in November.

This is Tom’s first time to bid, and we’re both nervous and excited about it. Our assignment to Brazil was just that, an assignment, out of the blue. We’d been told to expect a U.S. assignment, in the Midwest or South, but then the call came for Brazil. (My jaw took hours to recover.)

A mass of folks left post this summer, and we had to say good-bye to friends whom Tom had trained with, and new friends we’d made at post. That was odd for me. One day people were there, and the next gone, off to various points of the compass.

Now it’s our turn to bid and see where we will next alight. The bid list of available postings should arrive today or tomorrow. Such an exciting, and terrifying, prospect! Many of our friends have done this numerous times, and they all say it’s nerve-wracking and wonderful. I just have to remember now to wrest our future from God’s hands, and know that what we get will be best for us in the long run.

A friend, Helen Devries, asked, “do you have much say in the bidding process?”

If by “you” she means me, Ann, then yes, I have an equal vote with Tom on where he bids. (As we say, if Ann ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.) We have to consider adventure along with, most importantly, what would be the most interesting/ challenging position for him in his job.

If by “you” she means “one who is bidding,” then also yes, to a degree. Tom lists his top eight choices, by preference, with certain bidding guidelines with respect to his current ranking and potential ranking. It is said that we can expect to get one of those eight choices.

The difficulty is that he is currently in the group that bids last, so many of our desired options might be gone by the time he bids. Our options might be severely restricted. But, that’s something we won’t know until mid-November, I’m afraid.

Meanwhile, we have a slate we are playing with, of potential assignments. This changes almost daily, as one day I’ll feel very brave and willing to courageously accept some high-danger assignment, whereas other days I pull my head back into my shell and say softly that I’d rather someplace a little less danger-pay inclined, if you please.

See, exciting and terrifying!

As we ponder our next move, it dawns on us that we are here for another eight months only. Suddenly, we are in a rush to see things we haven’t yet see (Foz de Iguacu, the Amazon, the Pantanal, Bahia, the islands, etc.), but vacation time is limited, so we have to accept that we can’t see it all.

We’ve made it to Buenos Aires, and passed through Panama, but that’s it so far for South America. How can that be?! (Besides the limited time and the enormous cost of flying anywhere out of Brazil…)

I’ll have updates as we advance in the process. Until then, send mojo and prayers that we choose wisely, and that we get assigned someplace where we could be happy for four years!