Saturday, December 01, 2018

Flag Day Number Five: Also Known as Handshake Day Number Two

One month ago I introduced our two new kitties, but what gave us the green-light to adopt again was knowing where we'd be heading next summer.  There were a few posts I'd bid on that would have made bringing cats more difficult, so we held off on the big decision until I'd received a job offer, called a handshake. (For those just joining me, I describe the whole mid-level bidding and handshake process here.)

That handshake was offered just before Halloween, and I'm now happy to announce that sometime next summer, we'll be boarding a plane for:


Plaza Libertad
 Not looking familar?  Okay, how about this:


Volcanic backdrop to the city
 Still not sure?  Yeah, I get it. Volcanoes tend to look kind of alike.  Okay, let's try this:


We'll have nice beaches, too!

Care to hike to a volcanic lake?
 Okay, so we're narrowing it down: coastal country, and somewhere on the Ring of Fire.  Well, that could still be a lot of places.  You'll certainly get it now:


Just slightly larger than the state of Massachusetts
Oh fercrissake, just give them the flag!


That's right - EL SALVADOR!  Please make your vacation plans to come visit us in the capital city of San Salvador!

We're very excited about this assignment as it was our number one pick for a number of reasons:

Besides the natural beauty you've gotten a glimpse of above, how would you like a few years of temps going from 80s to low 60s EVERY DAY? For me, that sounds pretty good.  Okay, if I have to be super honest, I love four seasons, but if I had to pick just one of those seasons - and I don't think the trees can sustain Fall year 'round - it would be summer.  But not a muggy, buggy Virginia summer:  at 2159 feet, San Salvador's altitude keeps things a bit less swampy.  Although you may want to plan your visit to avoid the rainy season June to September when the temps are closer to 90 and the city gets about a foot of rain per month delivered via near-daily afternoon showers.  Aim for the dry season from December to March when we'll enjoy dry months in the 70s.  Now we're talking!

We currently live in a neighborhood with lots of Central American restaurants and really enjoy the food and the openly friendly and warm Salvadorans we've met over the years.  We're looking forward to getting to know the culture more from folks still living in their home country, and also exploring the whole region of Central America. 

My job will be very interesting and challenging - which is good. Plus, we already know (and like!) a handful of my future colleagues, including one of my A-100 classmates. The mission seems to be large enough to offer a good variety of jobs that my husband will be looking to snag, and it's a language we've already tackled.  Plus, we've heard only great things about the morale at post - which can make-or-break both the cushiest and the ickiest of assignments. As one of my friends who served his second tour in San Salvador said, "For as much as I loved post - my wife loved it even more."  Considering they were there with three school-age children, that says a lot. 

Oh yeah, about the language thing... My required 3/3 Spanish score expired earlier this year, which means that FSI wants about three months of my time to get back up to that level.  Therefore this assignment comes with a bit of training beforehand at good ole' FSI, and then another torture session known as the language exam.  You'll hear more on this topic this summer, no doubt. 

Finally, El Salvador is pretty darn close to the U.S.  This normally isn't an important criteria for us, but let's face it - no one is getting any younger, and I'd like to be able to get to the West Coast in less than a day to visit family.  It's not Juarez-close, but better than Buenos Aires or certainly Nairobi - two other posts we were considering. 

So there you have it!  We now know where we'll live for the next handful of years.

C'mon down!

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