A few hours after I hit publish on my last post, JR received notice that more positions had been assigned. We quickly opened the document and searched for our last name – and we were THRILLED to see that we are headed to our first choice post: Georgia!
We’ll be living in Tbilisi, Georgia located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. The bidding process was a bit stressful and difficult for us. As early as this summer, we started to get a general idea of which posts would be likely to have openings for JR’s level and position. A list was released in August, but only employees currently serving in CPC posts (critical priority countries, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, or Yemen, that are one year unaccompanied tours) were eligible to bid at that time, because one benefit of serving in a CPC is priority bidding for next cycle. So, although there were quite a few places on the list that looked good to us, we knew we had to wait and see which spots remained after the priority bidders were assigned.
Our official list came out in October, and we had two weeks to submit our bids. Prior to that, JR had been in contact with some of the posts that interested us, and we were doing a ton of research, looking into things like the job details for JR, salary (different at each post because of differentials like cost of living and hardship), spousal employment, language requirements, if malaria medication was required, safety, housing, quality of life, etc. We created a very detailed spreadsheet that listed all of those things, and more, and then used various resources to fill in the blanks.
JR had to bid on at least 3 and no more than 8 positions. He had to bid on one CPC, one post in Africa, and one priority country (Haiti, Bangladesh, Liberia, among others). Needless to say, we had many difficult discussions about how we wanted to rank the posts and which posts we should try to avoid. Ultimately, we were able to agree and we felt good about our chances of being assigned to one of our top spots.
Then the real waiting started to set in. Lots of rumors and talk about who was assigned where, when we might find out, past stories of people getting unfortunate assignments – it was nerve-wracking! We also thought we would know by the first week of December, and then there were multiple emails about how we might have to bid ALL OVER AGAIN in January, although thankfully that is not the case for us. Knowing we are scheduled to leave Kosovo in early May, it’s been challenging to not know which continent we will be living on in six months, whether or not we’ll need to be in DC for language training, and so many other things.
BUT – this story has a very happy ending because we are so excited that we will be working and living in Tbilisi. We have heard great things about the mission and the work being done there, and we think it will be a good fit for our family. Neither of us have visited Georgia before so we are incredibly excited to explore a new country and region!