So when I was hired, it was made very clear that while my personal preferences would be taken into consideration, ultimately the “needs of the service” were going to dictate where I went, especially for my first and second tour. For my first assignment, I got my one and only “Flag Day,” complete with a dramatic and exciting presentation of my flag for Bosnia. Sarajevo was my #1 choice by a landslide, and I was surprised and thrilled to get assigned here. This tour has been everything I’ve wanted and more, and though not without its problems, I have absolutely no regrets about my time spent here. If I remember, I’ll do a nice recap before I depart in July.
My second bidding process was significantly less dramatic, and gave me the tiniest view into how this is going to go for the rest of my career. My Career Development Officer (CDO) emailed everyone that was going to be bidding on a Summer 2016 assignment with a list of open positions, what languages were required (rare in my line of work,) the approximate hardship (ranging from 0 for places like Sydney, all the way up to 45 for Beirut) and the date they’d need us at our onward assignment. Ultimately I would have been fine with any of the choices, I did my research and saw the merits and drawbacks to each of them. I submitted my list and waited to hear back.
Happily, a few weeks later I got an email from my CDO congratulating me on my new assignment for LIMA, PERU! I’m thrilled to say Lima was my #1 choice, so I need to start playing the lottery immediately to cash in on this run of good luck.
So, what made me pick Peru? Here’s a brief synopsis of the country I’ll call home in August 2016!
*Machu Picchu – this one is a no-brainer. This Incan treasure built high up in the Andes was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. I have a feeling I will have a lot of visitors who pass through Lima on their way to see this site.
*The food & drink – Peruvian cuisine has only recently exploded onto the international culinary stage, but its made a big splash. I’m looking forward to sampling fresh ceviche and trying every pisco sour I can get my hands on. (Even though I’m still a little freaked out by ceviche, it’s fish “cooked” by citrus juice, which is frankly just creepy if you let yourself think about it too much. Never been much for raw or nearly raw fish.)
*The weather – while it’s never going to be all that sunny on the coast where I will likely live, that’s quite ok with me and my very pale skin. It’s never going to be all that cold or all that hot, think 70s most of the time. I’ll genuinely miss snow and rain, but am looking forward to putting away my snow boots away for this tour.
*Time Zone Benefits – Lima will either be either equal to or one hour ahead of St. Louis, depending on daylight savings. It’s going to make a world of difference when trying to keep in touch with family and friends back home, not to mention getting support from Washington DC when I need it for work stuff!
*Alpacas – no explanation needed. Just look at them!
There are a ton of little reasons why I’m excited about Lima, though there’s plenty of reasons to dread it. Terrible traffic, scary drivers, plenty of crime and shady taxi drivers, a very busy Embassy environment with high level visits already on the horizon, etc. But it’s all part of the adventure, isn’t it?
So for now I’m making the most of my tour in Sarajevo: scheduling my last visits to the coast, soaking up all the Krompirusa I can handle, and spending all of my free time with the amazing friends I’ve made here. It will be over before I know it.