Bid lists and Antibiotics
The first week of A-100 is officially over and I survived. In the last post I hoped that my cold would be better by the start of orientation. Unfortunately it only got worse as time went on. The night before orientation I attended a meet-and-greet event sponsored by the 160th A-100 class and by the end my voice was completely gone. After day one of orientation I felt so bad that as soon as I got home I found the nearest urgent care clinic and saw a doctor. She confirmed I don’t have strep or anything too nasty, but I definitely had an infection and now I’m on antibiotics. I’ll be mortified if I infected any of my classmates!
Things definitely started looking up with some meds in my system. The rest of the week we sat through briefings, introductions, and trainings to figure out how to operate in the Department of State.
The highlight of the week was getting the bid list – the list of posts where our class of 98 will be sent around the world. There’s a lot of information to take in on the list – timing, the type of position, the language requirements, the differential (hardship and in some cases danger pay). Fortunately it wasn’t the first time I’d seen a bid list. We went through this exactly two years ago when my husband was bidding for his first tour.
My main goal in bidding is to line up my timing with my husband’s timing as soon as possible. And right now, as soon as possible looks like one year. We’ve made our peace with that and feel fortunate that Nicaragua isn’t too far to fly back and forth pretty frequently over this year.
But my bid list wasn’t the only one of the week. My husband also got his bid list for his second tour. His list is much longer and timing is everything. He has to find a certain number of ‘valid’ bids which mean that the timing with home leave, language and functional training, and arriving at the next post work perfectly or within a couple of months. My head is spinning with all of the posts and scenarios.
To top off a crazy first week, we had a surprise 3-day weekend. The national heat wave seems to have shut down the building where our orientation is held. When we got to work, our bus was told to turn around and head back because they were closed for the day. I took full advantage of the day off – I went back to bed! Then later I ran errands on my list of things to do now that I’m back in America. An eye exam, contacts and some funky new frames were on the list. And my first reunion with Starbucks after a year of separation. Oh, how I missed you Starbucks!