The days are already flying by, and on Day 3 the Bid List arrived!
Now I hate to spoil the fun, but I can't disclose it here. I'm sorry. But I believe I can say that each continent (bar one) is well-represented, that each of the career tracks are offered and that we'll be shipping off to post anytime from shortly after A-100 to sometime next summer.
That's a lot of options, isn't it?
We were handed the lists in the standard "passing out of handouts" style, i.e. here's a stack for your row, take one and pass it down. My seatmate was in a momentary panic (I would have been, too!) when the row ended up short and he didn't get one, meanwhile watching his colleagues devour their first glances. Naturally, it was promptly remedied.
At first read I was a bit freaked out, this then turned into simply disappointed, then lukewarm, and now after four hours of digestion - I'm feeling much better. Our mission is to break the list into three categories: high, medium and low preference, but there is a limit as to how many lows we can select. Using the standard, "pick the low-hanging fruit first" method, we started to list all countries that limited kitty importation. Straight to the bottom of the lows they went. Then I dumped the countries that wouldn't allow Tim to work on the local economy if an Embassy job weren't available. The middles will be filled with assignments that don't match my desired work preferences (Consular is my first choice) and those where the required time of arrival doesn't mesh with the amount of time I'd need for the language training. The highs will be saved for those shiny apples that meet all three of our criteria: kitties, Tim's work, my career preferences and timing. If on top of that they're places that interest us travel and living-wise - they'll go to the top of the top.
So that's that for now! We have a bit over a week to hash it out, throw darts, undertake extensive research, re-organize things into an Excel sheet or simply guess. Everyone's method will differ, as will their preferences, thankfully.
If I'm silent for the next week - you'll know why.
It's exciting; it's nerve-wracking; it's maddening; it's our new life!
And - all will be revealed in mid-August.