Saturday, January 23, 2016

Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?

I have had that song stuck in my head frequently this past week. Do you remember that game? Was it for Sega? I think my ten year old self really liked that game.

Big news in the Collett household: We received our bid list. First and second tour employees in the Foreign Service are known as entry level. Generally, you gain tenure during your second tour, or you have a chance to gain it during your third tour if you didn't tenure in your second. (After a third, I assume you get kicked out if you haven't tenured by then.) Before you tenure, bidding for your next post is controlled by the powers-that-be in Washington DC.

Thus, on Tuesday, Jeffrey logged into the system and found a list of twelve cities all over the world. We have a month to learn as much as we can about those twelve cities. Then we submit a bid summary to DC complete with our ranking of preference and our rationality behind our rankings.

The powers-that-be in DC want their Foreign Service diplomats to be happy, so they try their very best to put us all where we want to be. But obviously if six of us all choose the same place as number one, then that's impossible. So we rank the whole list and hope for the best!

Drum roll, please . . .

When I sent this list to my family, my brother responded: "Mexico is just America with a sombrero compared to those places."Amen to that.

The heart is where our parents are: Cincinnati and Detroit.

The sombrero is Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where we are currently living. We are slotted to leave here during December 2016. We have one more year to enjoy Juarez!

The stars are our options for 2017 and 2018.

  • Paramaribo, Suriname
  • Libreville, Gabon
  • Yaoundé, Cameroon
  • Kampala, Uganda
  • Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Kuwait City, Kuwait
  • Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
  • Manama, Bahrain
  • Dushanbe, Tajikistan
  • Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Chengdu, China
  • Beijing, China

So, what do you think, friends? Have any of you been to any of those places or know anyone from those places or have any advice to weigh in our decision making?


  1. You are remembering a game we had on the Commodore 128 ;) Now that's mind blowing old school, and you were WAY younger than 10. 5.25" floppy disks that you had to exchange in the drive at various points in the game because they don't hold enough data to fit on one.

    8-bit color graphics though... I miss it sometimes.

  2. I remember getting into discussions back then about how 256 colors was SO awesome. Then Sega Genesis came out with 512 colors. Mind blown. Now we have millions of colors... LOL

  3. The game came out in 1985, the year you were born, so you literally grew up with us playing it all the time.

    Also, Kathmandu, Nepal is the only city in the game that is on your list, so obviously that's fate.

  4. Also, the computer we had was only released in Jan 1985, and we got ours shortly after that (before I turned 5). So perhaps this game is your earliest memory... Hahaha!

  5. I havevavfriend in Nepal. Between the earthquakes and the peyrol shortages due to protesting, it has been stressful there. But that means there is lots of work to do to help the people there.

  6. You should talk to Alice Quan about China!!! How are you feeling about all of this? I would be so nervous. You are amazing! Hugs! xoxo

  7. I really worry about the pollution in Beijing. I know when Devin was there a few years ago he said it was awful. He didn't really like Beijing much at all though. In contrast, he greatly enjoyed other parts of China. I still need to look into the other places more fully.

  8. Where ever you guys go , stay safe ! —Mayumi

  9. So fun! I think China would be the most interesting cultural experience. My personal feeling is that we strong women might have a tough time in a Muslim/Middle East country..... —Rachel M.

  10. I would choose China and avoid the Middle East. But best of luck on whatever you decide. —Jessie R.

  11. I love this real-life game of Spin the Globe we get to play on a semi-annual basis! I love China, but the language is a major hurdle-- not insurmountable, but a large hurdle. Beijing has large, supportive, and super wonderful church and expat communities, but the pollution is a real danger and oppressive presence. I love Chengdu (pandas!!!). The pollution is more moderate but a bit more constant year-round. There isn't as large of an English speaking community, but I know they have their own church branch, so it must be large enough.
    Someday I would love to go to Central Asia. I love the art, the culture, and the food. I don't know much about Tajikistan specifically, but there are beautiful things in that part of the world!
    Shirley was in Cameroon, if you have questions about that area. —Chelsea F.

  12. You are amazing, and that is so hard to move often, but I feel a good thing takes time. Motherhood, that is. —Amanda

  13. You are so brave. Nepal sounds cool, and China is certainly an adventure. Africa has a lot of interesting places. Definitely out of the comfort zone! Thanks for letting the rest of us live vicariously through you! —Megan L.

  14. Carl lived in Bahrein and he loved it and I have a friend that lives there right now for the second time and is also in love with the place. I can give you her contact info if you want to talk to her, they are leaving soon to their new destination in Singapore. Also, second option would be Cyprus. It's half greek and half turkish. We love Greece and the people. Carl said there is large Israeli population. Those are our top ones. Love you!! —Maribel

  15. Beijing is definitely the better China post, and as of right now, that's where we'll be too wink emoticon . The neighborhood is great for so many reasons- pools, playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, gym, spa, restaurants, grocery, amazing Halloween festivities, and super safe. The schools are very rigorous, but world class. If you go to Nepal you can meet Abhisneha's birth mom. I hear the housing there is quite nice (our friend's place was 5 stories), and you have earthquake detectors in your house for added safety. I think Cyprus would be heavenly and Dubai would be fabulous, too. DC is always fun to live in, but so expensive. —Alicia

  16. I have a friend that grew up in Kuwait City. I can get some info from her for you. I don't know how much she knows about things today since she moved to the States in the 90s. —Brian D.

  17. Nicosia! I was praying it would be on our list, but it wasn't. I was there last September for a wedding and didn't want to leave. There is so much history on the island, so much to do. The weather is gorgeous and the food is outstanding. They import very little, so the meat, dairy, veggies, and fruit are always local and seasonal. *sigh* —Roxie C.


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