The State Department gives us about a year notice on the location of our next post and, unbelievably, our turn has come around. I can hardly believe that we have been in the Philippines long enough to have arrived at that time, but here we are… I’m not allowed to share the list publicly, but I can say that it is quite a mixed list with radically different places. As this is only our second tour, we are still “directed”. That means that we get to prioritize the list and tell them what interests us, but the powers that be have the last say. And you may, or may not, get what you wanted.
This of course also raises the issue of “well… what is it that you really want?” And the process of filtering through all priorities is sort of overwhelming and best dealt with in small bites. Last time around, it was quite a bit simplier. We had a high schooler who needed to go to a decent school that set him up well for college. Going into the second tour, he will probably be at college and we won’t be limited to posts with quality schools, or housing that is a shorter bus ride. This opens things up, but also make it more complicated. Robert is having a positive experience here, but it is only one type of work experience, and every post offers a unique experience in some way. So growing and learning for him is obviously a big priority. But there are so many others: Do you really want to live there? What’s the housing like? What do you do on your time off? How’s the work situation for me? Does the new post offer some kind of respite from what ever taxes you here? (For us that would be pollution, traffic and lack of infrastructure.) Can you actually save money there? Nothing actually checks all the boxes. One country’s fantastic scenery comes at the price of heavy pollution. Another is a fabulous place that everyone will want to come and visit us, but the city is so expensive…. and so it goes on. Its wonderful, overwhelming and frustrating at the same. But I feel so lucky to be experiencing this, but you may need to remind me of that when they send us to the wrong place! We’ll know mid-July. Watch this space!