A New Adventure

If you've followed our journey long enough, you'll know that 'Tis The Season to be Jolly Anxious Excited Irritated on pins and needles.  For bidding time has come and gone.  While the stress of bidding usually comes around every few years for "normal" State Department folks, we have had the luxury of bidding on a new position every year for the past FOUR years.  Aren't we stupid special ....

Since we left India back in 2010 I haven't bothered to look at the available positions.  We knew we were going to stay Stateside for a few years (or at least the family would be).  We knew we were going to be settling in Northern Virginia.  We had a plan.

But in true DS fashion, nothing is ever set in stone. 

About six months ago, just prior to Matt leaving for Afghanistan, I told him that I wanted to reconsider our options.  I was getting that overseas 'itch' again.  I was feeling the travel bug hit ... hard.   So when the bid list came out several months ago, I must have perused it for hours.  Okay, several days.  All right ... many weeks.  But I wanted to make sure that I was comfortable with the places we were going to put on our list, for as everyone knows, we curtailed our final year from post in India.

Things have really changed since our last "BIG" bid season in 2007, when Matt was an ARSO in Tel Aviv.  When overseas positions were plentiful and communication was relatively decent.  Now?  There are FAR more agents than available posts.  And there's NO guarantee that JUST because you do an unaccompanied post that you will be rewarded with something decent.  Frankly, it's all about who you know, rather than what you know.  What's worse is the higher you climb within the organization, the fewer the overseas opportunities.  And if you're not able to make a "drug deal" and pimp out your six unborn children, chances are you're not getting anything .... even RSO Antarctica.  It's a broken, broken system.

I haven't told anybody, but I've been on edge for the past three months since we turned in our list.  While Matt has done TWO unaccompanied tours, a hardship tour in India, and worked a high profile job at DS headquarters, he isn't owed anything.  HE ISN'T OWED ANYTHING!!   And. It. Just. Plain. Sucks. 

Like all good DS agents, we played the bidding game well this year.  We turned in our list.  We lobbied.  We kissed tush.  We went through the consultative process for the VERY few positions that we were willing to take.  And all looked great.  GREAT.  GREAT. GREAT!

Until September 14th.  When one of our top positions suddenly left our list.  And our dreams for our next four years slowly faded away.  I can't and won't go into any details.  For they're irrelevant now and some things need to be left unsaid.  Discretion is the better part of valor, right?  Even if ...

But it hasn't been easy.  I've been on virtual pins and needles waiting for "the email."  The one that determines our new fate for the next four years.  Every time the panel in DC met, I was a wreck.   And I'm honest enough to admit that I felt a small sense of entitlement.  Friends overseas would post updates on Facebook and let us know what was assigned.  Three rounds of it went by before we heard anything ourselves. 

That is ... until last night.  When Matt finally got his email.  And we got one of the only 6 places that we put on our list! 

I needed time to process.   To finally talk to Matt about our future.  And after a long few months I am relieved to announce that the Perlman family will be moving NEXT summer.  In 2014.  Back overseas.

We will be going to ...

San Salvador, El Salvador

San Salvador filled ALL of our requirements.  It's a family-friendly post.  It's language designated (where Matt and I will BOTH be taking Spanish next year at FSI).  And it's a 3-year tour ... with R&R's. 

Oh yeah ... and it has a Starbucks too! 

So ... who's coming to visit?


All In The Family

JUST like his older sister, who had her first rock climbing experience at the VERY same age ... Grady hated it.  HATED it.

Sure, he has that sh*t eating grin on his face in these photos.  But after climbing up a few feet, he realized how high he was.  And. That. Was. It.

Hello meltdown!  Aren't you glad mommy caught this on video?

But it's Uncle Randy's "thing" that he does with my kiddos.  After introducing them to the sport back in 2008, he's taken them climbing almost every time we've seen him.  

As for the girlies?  They had a BLAST.   This was the highest wall they've climbed.  And they truly did rock it!  Pun intended.

Riley climbing

Sheridan climbing


The 2012 Obligatory Halloween Photos ...

... for Matt and the grandparents of course!

Here they are in all their glory ... The Pirate, the BatGirl, and the CRANKIEST BatBoy you've EVER met!  No seriously.  It took SEVERAL minutes just to get him calmed down enough to snap these two photos.  I mean, really?  Who cries over getting FREE candy? 

Batman was apparently THE costume of the night.  I'd say you couldn't tell the boys apart, except mine was the one whining over absolutely everything.

In all, another fun night.  Thankfully I walked around with a large, red SOLO cup, and was able to get it "filled" at several houses along the way.  When you're out in mid-40 degree temps, you gotta love the "treats" for the parents as well! 

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