Finally, the most anticipated event of the year! Yes, that's right: Arcade Fire has released a new single. It's been such a long time since their last album; I'm sure you're all as thrilled as I am to be getting a preview of their new one... Isn't it nice? Personally speaking, I'm a real sucker for the pipe organ. It adds such a lush undertone.
Oh, and also, the winter bidlist has just come out.
Truthfully, I wasn't really ready for it. 393 positions is a rather overwhelming thing to face, and even given those high numbers, it is rare to see the job you want coincide with the place you want and the time you want to go. It was a relief when I figured out that -- factoring in homeleave, length of training, and position start date -- fully three quarters of the list could be immediately discounted due to timing problems. I'm nigh unto light-headed from all the marker fumes I've inhaled while striking merrily through untenable postings. Now I just have to apply my 'career goals' (being posted to an embassy, going on a hardship tour, avoiding learning another boutique language, and maybe, possibly, doing something other than visas) to see what suits me out of the remaining open slots. Theoretically, this could be accomplished through application of some sort of nifty equation, from which a list of my top twenty choices would then fall out naturally. Theoretically. I'm working on it.
The main complication is of course the one I can't really plan for, and that's the level 2 medical clearance. A hardship tour at an embassy, particularly if I want to not be doing consular work the entire time, usually means being in a place where there's no access to healthcare. For example, there are some jobs at the embassy in Sana'a that are consular rotations (half of the time visa, half of the time political), would allow me to receive a full course of Arabic, and would let me serve in a hardship post. This sounds like a reasonable bid coming out of the zero danger, zero hardship, 60% COLA, stop-at-Starbucks-on-your-way -to-CostCo, is-there-a-term-that-means-'beyond-first-world' country that is Japan. But there are no medical facilities there, period. I can already tell that Med is going to absolutely deny it to me. They're uber-cautious. I'm supposed to cobble together a top 20 list for them to vet ASAP, even before the official submission deadline. My only hope is that when they give me another two year consular posting in a highly developed, visa waiver program participant, specialty language country, the women there are incredibly ugly. (Note to my CDO: Please, please, please do not send me to Sweden!)
There's this one other complication though -- it turns out that since the MS drugs have to be refrigerated, they can't be shipped to post through APO or pouch. So any drugs I want to take, I'm either going to have to buy from a local pharmacy in my country of posting, or hand carry from the US. Furthermore, if I'm reading the FS Benefit Plan's pharmaceutical coverage explanation correctly (hard to say, as it sounds like something the Office of Right-Sizing would draft), if the meds are the sort that can't be shipped, then I'm on my own paying for them after the first 60 days -- even if do I buy them in the States.
I suppose I could just not take the drugs, a solution which is looking more and more attractive the more I consider it. Though you try explaining to your family that you decided to forgo potentially beneficial healthcare because you thought it might be kind of neat to live in Yemen.