Not my only choices, but two of them.
In the State Department, there’s always where you are and where you are going. Postings last two years, maybe three, then you’re on to the next post. In my case, my list of possible next postings arrived late last week.
As I looked through them, I had a couple of things I was considering. I wanted to do a political tour (I’m coned as a political officer) or maybe public diplomacy, but certainly not another consular tour (nothing against people who really like consular work, it’s just not me). I don’t mind doing another tour in Africa, but I want it to be different Africa. I’m required to go somewhere they speak French, or where a language is not required (except English), since I don’t get more language training until after my second tour.
At first review, there are a couple of places in Africa, a bunch of jobs back in Washington, and one or two in Brussels. A few English speaking countries scattered around the world also have political or PD openings. I have a few weeks to figure this all out and give them my list of preferences. Then the State Department decides where they need me.
Meanwhile, the cycle of change is taking place right now here in Cotonou. When you arrive in a new post, someone is designated your sponsor. The sponsor meets you at the airport, stocks your fridge, fills you in on local information and otherwise serves as your guide to the new city and country. I’m sponsoring our new Financial Management Officer, my first time with the gig. She and her husband arrived last week. I hope they’re happy with how things are going!
Since I began this post, an SUV swerved out of control across the street from my house, jumped the curb, took out a couple of planters and ended up several hundred feet further down the road. I heard it rather than saw it, and at first thought it had hit my wall. Hearing screeching tires, roaring engines and sirens aren’t unusual since I live on a main road here in Cotonou. But the sound of a crash and broken glass was new. I hope nobody was hurt too badly. I saw that the airbag had deployed, but no ambulance arrived, even after a large crowd gathered.
Finally, I’ve decided to compile all my blogs since this began into a single place, then write some elaboration around them all. If nothing else, it will serve as a reminder to me of this part of my life.