I’ll be bidding this summer so we’ve started talking a lot recently about where we’d like to go next. (Truth be told, we’ve been thinking about this for a long time. We’re planners. So sue us.) Although we at one point had dreams of Paris or London, reality has set in. We’re currently serving at a hardship post, but not at enough of a hardship post for Paris or London to be realistic goals. (Not that we won’t try. Don’t worry Mom, we’ll try.) We’ve begun warming to the idea of serving at another hardship post, so long as the hardship is a different sort of hardship than what we’re currently experiencing.

Conjested traffic and long commutes? No problem. We’re city people. We can handle that.

Smog? Pollution? No big deal.

Crime? We can manage that too.

What can’t we handle, you ask? Well here’s one thing: bad Internet. We’ve spent the last five days without Internet and let me tell you, it was pretty close to torture. We almost made our way through Downton Abbey and I have to tell you, I don’t entirely understand the craze surrounding that show. It’s fine, it’s watchable, but would I have been glued to it if I could have been obsessively checking Facebook and parenting message boards like I usually do? Definitely not. Andy has also finished the entire series of Hunger Games books, something I’d like to think he would not have been so absorbed in with lots of other entertainment options.

We missed the Internet big time while it was gone, but even when we “have” internet here it’s decent quality at best, despite paying about five times what we would be back in the U.S. Sometimes we can Skype with our parents. Sometimes the pictures on websites load. Sometimes Target.com is slightly faster than molasses. Not often.

Is high bandwidth a valid bidding criterea? Here’s hoping.

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12 Responses to hardship

  1. Sadie says:

    *sigh* I know exactly what you mean. Internet here when it’s behaving (about two hours a week) is almost fast enough to Skype (usually with only audio). And when it’s bad it takes two hours to load Google. I think it may be even worse in Uganda, sadly. I think Estonia is high on the super-internet-posts list… And btw I am a teensy bit jealous you’ll have H nearby soon! (But happy for all involved, of course.)

  2. Jeanne says:

    “A place where grandparents can get to a little easier.” Move that one up a bit on the list.

  3. Phil says:

    I started to look into this, and it seems like between hardship post, good internet, speaks English or French, you’ll have to pick two. Plenty of hardship posts with good internet, but they are mostly in Asia and Eastern Europe. I do approve of internet connectivity being a key criteria.

  4. Mara Rae says:

    Heck yes Internet is definitely a valid bidding criteria! (At least it better be, since it was one of my main priorities.) I have my fingers crossed that you guys get somewhere awesome 🙂

  5. Anne says:

    It’s funny how your priorities change doesn’t it? We feel the same way! It sure would be nice to be able to skype with my husband while we’re apart, but that’s not a possibility when it takes forever for a single page to load, and sometimes only partially at that. Sucks.

    We’ve got it pretty good though. I am pretty sure things can’t get any more hardshippy than Conakry. I think (hope) that every single post we’ll have after this one will be a piece of cake, comparatively.

  6. Dani says:

    Totally think Internet is a valid bidding requirement, it was for me especially as a spouse in a no-bilateral work agreement country, I think without decent Internet and our VPN things would have gotten ugly. Clean air and clean food is big for us but there is a really big difference between big Asian city pollution and china pollution, there is no comparison. I’d totally take Thailand or Indian pollution twenty times over China pollution. Crime versus surveillance? Tough call, I almost think i would take crime but maybe that’s just because we are coming from china, I have so many crazy stories that I’ll never be able to tell anyone, le sigh… Happy pre bidding day dreams! We love doing those!!

  7. Anne says:

    As I said last time, tropical islands to the top 🙂 preferably closer ones so I can visit next post

  8. bfiles says:

    So funny, I should have known my husband was not the only one who makes internet a bidding priority. He flat out refused to consider Addis Ababa after reading that it has like the worst internet in the world (I’m paraphrasing). Anyway, the DR has great internet!! We don’t pay too much and sure, it goes out every once in a while, but for the most part, it’s pretty darn reliable. You’d love it here esp with small ones!!

  9. Al says:

    BTW, 20% differential is a lot higher than you give yourself credit for. When you are making your bid list, make the State Department tell you “no”- don’t tell yourself no. If it’s a valid or imperfect bid and you want to go there, bid it high. It’s much better to get your 20th pick, knowing that your top 19 were no longer available, then to get your 7th pick and find out later you could have gone to X post that you really wanted, but didn’t think you had a chance for.

  10. Jessie says:

    COMPLETELY valid criteria. We’re posted in Guangzhou and though the internet never really cuts out, it’s frustratingly slow (not to mention censored), and we’ve even vowed that we’ll pay whatever it takes to have fast internet. I mean, what to do if we can’t stream America’s Funniest Video clips on YouTube and Tweet in real time (Only partially kidding…)?

  11. Alex says:

    Glad to know we’re not alone in this! @Al, people coming out of Cotonou haven’t been getting great assignments unfortunately, but our biggest issue is that we’re also trying to go somewhere tandem friendly. Anyway, we’ll see! Try for the best, prepare for the worst.

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