Winners…And Explanations

You guys are awesome. We had some really good guessers! Or else my hints were too good. And it’s been a lot of fun, so thanks for playing along. Altogether we had forty-one participants, with five disqualified or abstained, and TWENTY correct guesses!!

But before the Geo-Reveal, let me attempt to do the impossible and offer some explanations.

To my friends, colleagues, and co-workers in the Foreign Service, you might, maybe, possibly, get it. But then again, even some of you might not.

To my family and friends in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi, please don’t fret: there are lots of dangerous places in the world…like for instance, the Gulf Coast from June 1 to November 30.

To my family and friends in Denver, I’m coming back. In fact, this will help me to return sooner. Well, sort of…

So by now anyone reading this knows the story–it was just going to be two years…then two more. And now, as we look ahead, we need another year. That will get me to the magic five-year mark, which makes me eligible for retirement from the federal government. As my son Adam says, “so in other words, Mom, you’re doing something you don’t really need, motivated by pride, which is a sin…”. Yea, something like that.

In my line of work in the Foreign Service, there’s only one way to get “one more year”. And that’s PSP. PSP stands for Priority Staffing Post. As you might surmise from the name, these are assignments to dangerous places that must be filled before the rest of the assignments in the world are released for bidding. And due to the dangerous nature of these assignments, they are generally one-year assignments instead of the usual two or three. The only other way was to accept a two-year assignment knowing I would bail half-way through, and I wasn’t comfortable with that idea.

And since PSP assignments are settled first, that’s why I have a handshake now and others have not yet even begun the bidding process. But fear not, we don’t depart La Paz until next summer, so you still have time to plan that visit.

There were lots of other factors that played into the decision, of course, besides just the one-year timeline. There was that whole “adventure” bit, and the challenge of doing something new and different. This time, I’ll be part of a team, instead of the Lone Ranger I was in Buj, and to a certain extent, here. And Randy was ready to go home, and he can’t technically accompany me, so that detail fell into place, too. I considered playing up the heroic angle of providing medical services to people who are sacrificing for democracy and fighting terrorists, but decided that’s not really my style, so you can go where you’d like with that concept.

All that said, congratulations to twenty people who guessed correctly, and especially to the ten people who correctly named the city.

And the drum roll please…

Summer 2018 will find me headed to US EMBASSY KABUL, AFGHANISTAN

The photo above is of the city of Kabul, which I won’t actually see. I’ll live on a heavily guarded compound, which I’ll leave exactly three times during my 365 days there–my three R & Rs which we’re allowed, and I’m told, we’ll need. I’ll likely live in a CHU (a containerized housing unit) and eat three meals a day in the cafeteria. (Living quarters without a kitchen!! My dream come true!!) All that said, I’ve been told by many: it’s not that bad. The year goes by quickly; everyone is busy at work; you find your little space in the compound and make it work.

I’m actually looking forward to the challenge…and then of course, looking forward to settling back in to Denver Summer 2019, where I’ll rejoin Randy and fade off into the sunset. Ha.



Third Time’s The Charm

It’s time for our third and final guessing game. You may remember I sponsored fun contests with great prizes…well, maybe not so much on the prizes part, but the contests were fun…when I received my last two assignments. So here’s to tradition and our third guessing game.

Here are the rules:

  1. If you already know or have been part of conversations involving this assignment, you are ineligible for the contest and great prizes. Please exercise restraint and refrain from commenting.
  2. You may only enter one guess. We’re going for quality not quantity this time.
  3. Always enter the city, not just the country. Many (most–but not all!) countries have embassies in their capital cities and consulates in other major cities. You never know.
  4. Enter your guess on the blog comments, on the FB post, or sky-writing. Anything goes; just one guess.

Here are the hints:

  1. It isn’t on your bucket list.
  2. No worries about #1; you can’t come visit me anyway, although Adam is trying to find a way.
  3. It will be my fifth continent I’ll call home.
  4. I will still be able to see mountains.
  5. I’ll be close to A Mile High.
  6. I’ll enjoy four seasons for the first time in my state department career.
  7. Randy says it is a seismically active area. (Don’t geologists say that about everywhere? I mean, the earth is movin’ and shakin’.)
  8. It’s in the news a lot.
  9. You’ll think I’m crazy, maybe question my overall sanity, and probably be either confused or in disbelief.

Go. And quickly, because you know I don’t hold secrets for long.

Reviving the Blog

Recently I was looking for a photo to show someone, and I remembered that it was on the blog. I pulled it up, searched, and quickly located the photo. Then I spent hours reliving our amazing adventures, and remembered why I started the blog in the first place–to preserve the memories. Incredible adventures we certainly have had, and it made me sad that I have not recorded many from our time here in Bolivia and this unique, diverse, and beautiful continent, heretofore almost totally unknown to me. I hereby pledge to myself to revive the blog. I hope I can fulfill the pledge. It’ll be a series of latergrams, but memories all the same.

Besides, we have news.

Those who have followed the misadventures from the beginning know the famous line we held on to: “just two years”. It was just going to be a two year adventure and then we’d return to our beloved Denver.

And then there was that whole Ordered Departured Thing, and Randy missing half the first adventure, so we agreed to just one more tour. And La Paz it was.

Now at almost halfway through, it’s not a good time to quit. With just another year after La Paz, I could actually retire. And although the benefits would be minuscule, there is something to be said for that accomplishment, especially for a person who sacrificed the chance of a career to raise a family (NO regrets there–I’d do it all over again). Besides, think of the retirement party! You should start making plans to come!

All that to say, handshakes* are a-comin’. Soon. And you know what that means.


The rules, along with the hints, will be published soon. Stay tuned!!


*For those who don’t remember, “handshakes” is the term used to denote the promise of the next post. It’s a promise because nothing is official until it goes through the laborious paperwork process, but a handshake is as good as gold.