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.