Accomplishments, Bids, Cherries, Delays, Eid…

Our first diplomat, Ben Franklin, says it’s time to use the alphabet.  So…

Accomplishments: Everyone in Cotonou wants to join the Foreign Service.  This week, two more were invited to the Oral Evaluation (having passed the FSOT and personal essay evaluation) and one more passed the Orals.  Hey!  This is supposed to be hard!  I’ll let the folks tell you themselves when they’re ready.

Bids: My bid list for my next post is due next Friday, but I submitted it this Friday.  If any new possibilities crop up in the coming week, I can change it.  The biggest problem in putting one of these together is timing.  When you leave your current post is (more or less) fixed.  When they want you at your new post is (more or less) fixed.  You need to take home leave, training, consultation days and make it all synch up.  That being said, there are five bids on top I could be happy with, anything below that and I’d have a lot of thinking to do.  I have 25 “equity points” which should put me near the top of this round of assignments (everyone with more than that had already bid), so I’m hopeful.

Cherries: I was in the local supermarket one day and they were stocking jars of dark cherries in syrup.  I used them to make my really easy cobbler, which originally used canned peaches.  It came out very well, so there’s another dessert available for pot luck brunches and dinners.  If you missed the recipe last time:

  • 1 cup of self rising flour (I actually use pancake mix)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 can peaches or similar amount of other fruit in syrup.

Mix the flour, sugar, milk and butter until smooth.  Pour into a 9×9 pan.  Drain most of the syrup from the fruit (save it for flavored iced tea or lemonade), then pour the fruit on top of the batter.  Bake for 1 hour in a preheated 350 degree oven.  If you do peaches, a little cinnamon on top before baking is nice.

Delays: Remember last week I told you we had the SMS system up and running.  Guess when I started having problems with it.  That’s right, when I needed it.  Late Thursday I got a notice to put out a Warden Message to all Americans in Benin.  Great.  Just what this was designed for.  I couldn’t login.  After an hour on the phone with two support people we came up with a workaround (not a fix) which allowed me to get the message out only two hours late, which was particularly annoying because…

Eid: …we got Friday off.  Three day week!  Monday was Labor Day, Friday the last day of Ramadan, which is a Beninese holiday.  So, the second long weekend in a row started a little late.

French: This goes with bidding.  Since I never got my 3/3 before coming here, I will be taking some more between this post and the next.  The good news is that made my bidding work out better, and I should be off language probation before reaching my next post.

More letters next time!



Filed under Foreign Service Stuff

6 responses to “Accomplishments, Bids, Cherries, Delays, Eid…

  1. Hey, who wouldn’t want to join the Foreign Service? 😉 Just stopped in to say that the alphabet idea is AWESOME and I hope you get all the way to Z before you get tired of it.

  2. rkolker

    The Ben Franklin alphabet is random chance. I had decided to do the alphabet, and went looking for a graphic on Google and there it was!

    I wasn’t necessarily planning on doing the whole alphabet, but now it’s a challenge!

  3. When do you hear back about your bids? I’m excited to live vicariously through you!

  4. rkolker

    Alex – Since the bid list wasn’t due until the 17th, I’m sure I won’t hear anything before the following week. I’d just like to know where I’m headed before I fly home for R&R.

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