Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One day down!

Well, i survived my first day. It is again brutally apparent that i am the youngest in the class, but hey, what can you do? There are three other people from Memphis, which in a group of 61 is demographically freakish. i've met a lot more people, which is nice... only one other Arabic specialist, which makes my bidding process more interesting.

Speaking of! Here's my list of places to which i might go. i have sorted them into strong possibilities and places in which i am not particularly interested. That's not to say that i would dislike any particular place... it's more of a comment on my prior knowledge of languages and cultures!

Baku, Azerbaijan - My first choice, a political/economic tour leaving in June.
Cairo, Egypt - Not high on my list, surprisingly, because it's consular (blah) and leaves in August. i don't need that much Arabic!
Dubai, UAE - Not particularly high because serving here wouldn't qualify me for partial student loan forgiveness, and because it's consular and i wouldn't use much Arabic (which isn't even required for the position).
Islamabad, Pakistan - An interesting one-year consular tour, although it would require learning Urdu and leaving in August. Not a high choice, but not a bad tour.
Istanbul, Turkey - This is a political tour, which would be amazing, although the drawback is that i would need to leave ASAP and i'm not comfortable in modern Turkish yet (Azeri is very similar but still a separate language). One bonus is that there don't seem to be any Turkish speakers in my class - low competition since i have a leg up on Turkic stuff!
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - It's a political and economic one-year rotation, which sounds really nice, but it leaves in August. That's a lot of time to kill. Upon reflection, this is probably my best bet.
Jerusalem, Israel - Requires Hebrew but can be converted to an Arabic position with some hard lobbying. i won't be lobbying for this one; i intend to avoid anything dealing with Israel and Palestine in an attempt not to sink my academic career before it even starts.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - A consular, one-year tour leaving next September. Not high on my list.

And now, the rest. i won't add anything else on this post... just savor the possibilities!

Abuja, Nigeria
Asmara, Eritrea
Baghdad, Iraq
Beijing, China
Bogota, Colombia
Brasilia, Brazil
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Chengdu, China
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Geneva, Switzerland
Guadalajara, Mexico
Guangzhou, China
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Hermosillo, Mexico
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Hong Kong, China
Johannesburg, South Africa
Kingston, Jamaica
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Lagos, Nigeria
Lima, Peru
Manila, Philippines
Matamoros, Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico
Monterrey, Mexico
Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
Paris, France
Port au Prince, Haiti
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Recife, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
San Salvador, El Salvador
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Seoul, South Korea
Shanghai, China
Taipei, Taiwan
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Warsaw, Poland


  1. Looks like a good list! A couple of things to consider:

    1. You'll need to do a consular tour eventually...either this tour or the next! That doesn't mean you should avoid the political and economic jobs (in fact, I'm jealous of them!), but know that you're just putting off the inevitable!

    2. I've heard that, as far as hardship tours go, Saudi Arabia is the way to go.

    3. I think the person in that political job in Azerbaijan was in my A-100...I'll put you in touch with her if you'd like! She's only a little older than you, come to think of it!

  2. Well, at least you have choices! I think I'd be overwhelmed at the possibilities.

  3. I think Instanbul would be the most interesting of your favorites. You ought to like those Turkish men. I doubt you will find a liberal in that ethnic group. Can you spell male chauvinist?

    Of course, I think you should choose Bogata, Columbia for I would visit you there. Can't you go to Costa Rica?

    I am sure you will be fine wherever you go.

  4. Istanbul would be very interesting, as would Cairo. They're about the same level of interest for me, save the oppressive smog in Cairo. But both are old imperial capitals with lots of history, awesome food, and beautiful scenery. i've really warmed up to the Saudi and Pakistani posts in the last day, though - Pakistan would knock out my consular job quickly, and i would get among the first dibs on my next post. Take that, NoZe: i could be bidding against you! (i kid, i kid, of course. i know the way the schedule works.) We'll see where the wind blows my opinion tomorrow, though!

  5. I'm with you, man...knock out that consular requirement as fast as you can! There's a reason CA tells you how rewarding it is...

    True story...I met Richard Holbrooke (and got him to autograph his book for me) at the Clinton Library back in April. When I told him I was a political officer doing a consular tour in Mexico City, he said that he thought that State's consular requirement was stupid and a waste of resources...here's hoping he's Hillary's Secretary of State!

    I'm not worried about bidding against you...somehow, given our age and life situation differences, I don't think we're after the same types of posts, at least not now!

    I hope, however, we'll get a chance to serve together someday!

    Take time to think about your bid list...if you're like me, you'll find that your mind will change almost daily, and posts that you never thought you'd be interested in begin to sound pretty good! I'm becoming more and more interested in Toronto, believe it or not!

  6. Given the secular/head scarf discussion going on right now, Istanbul could be pretty interesting.

    Whatever you pick, they'll be lucky to have you :-)

  7. Having spent quite a few summer vacations in Islamabad, I have to say it's one of the most boring and depressing cities in the world I've lived in (besides St. Louis, of course).

    Don't be fooled by the surrounding picturesque mountain scenery; the Margalla Hills only exist to make it difficult for people living there to choose a cliff to jump off and end their misery.

    Pakistanis like to quote some obscure/ancient U.S. diplomat who rather aptly described the town as being "half the size of Arlington cemetery but twice as dead."

    It does have its moments every now when the "city" comes alive (with fuming mad protestors and arsonists), but those are not times you or anyone else want to be around.

    Oh, and not many people speak Urdu outside of Islamabad and Karachi anyway. But then, a useless language would be the least of your problems there anyway.

    hannah, I like you too much to wish you anything this horrible, suggest this posting to someone you don't like, hmm?