scratch that

After much researching and conversing and comparing and reassessing, we finally thought we had our bids all figured out.

There were three places that had good tandem prospects, allowed dogs, and just generally seemed like fine places to spend two years of our lives. There were a handful of jobs in each of these places, so they filled up a good portion of our list of 30. They also weren’t exactly dream  posts for most people, so by putting them at the top, we were likely to get one.

We were still tinkering around with the exact order of our listings, but we were feeling pretty settled in our fate. Three places. We would most likely be going to one of these three places.


We finally heard back from the State Department’s Medical Department about where Andy would and would not be allowed to go. Because of his recent health issues, he doesn’t yet have a full medical clearance and needs to get approval for each specific post. Guess where was NOT approved: those three places (and a few others too).

The thing is, Med’s rulings just didn’t make sense.

Those three cities are all much, much, much more developed than Cotonou, where Andy was allowed to come back. They are much more developed than a lot of places on our list that were approved. Quick Google searches revealed what seemed like world class medical options. When I reached out to the American doctors stationed at the Embassies in each of these places, even they were baffled. Yes,  this city has everything your husband needs at high quality, they all assured me. They sent emails to the Medical Department on our behalf.

Our case rose to the attention of the highest person in the office responsible for such decisions. He was great. He reviewed our case himself and then wrote several long emails explaining things, helping us understand Med’s methodology. He admitted mistakes had been made and apologized profusely for that. One of the three posts that was rejected initially should definitely have been approved. He would change that for us immediately. Phew. One good option was back in the running.

Some of the other posts that had been approved should have been rejected — but no big deal, those were ones that were much lower on our list as they wouldn’t have been great for us anyway.

However, the two others of the posts on which we were banking, well, he agreed with the initial ruling that those weren’t good options. He explained why he thought this and what information he was working from. I still am not entirely convinced that he’s working from accurate information. These are world-class cities. Medical tourism destinations, for goodness sakes. I don’t get it, I really just don’t get it. But he’s the highest person in the office making these decisions. There’s really nowhere else to go from here.

Fortunately he seems like a very kind and fair person, so I’m going to try to have a phone conversation with him Monday to gently make our case for these two posts. I don’t want to go anywhere that actually isn’t suitable for Andy, of course, but I’m still not convinced that these two places aren’t. I consider the conversation ongoing, but I also realize there’s a good chance I’m not going to get anywhere with it.

T minus one week until my bids our due, and we’re no longer feeling very confident about our fate.

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10 Responses to scratch that

  1. Camille says:

    What?!?! Decisions that don’t make ANY sense coming from Med???
    Why, I’ve never heard of such a thing!

    Good luck, you two. I had to go through about a billion frustrating phone calls and emails over ADHD meds and I thought that was bad. I can’t even imagine the amount of hoops you are having to jump through!

  2. Nomads By Nature says:

    Wishing you all the best as you advocate for suitable posts – hoping you land softly in a great location for Andy and for your family.

  3. bfiles says:

    oh no, how frustrating. good luck.

  4. TulipGirl says:

    One of our kids is class 2 med. . . we have a preliminary “okay, you can go there but we don’t like it” approval from med. BUT, the assignment was given to us SO early, that we don’t have our updated medical exams in yet or the “official” med okay. We’re praying it all works out, but in the back of my mind I’m wondering if it is going to get yanked. Our bids are limited by CNL obligations — and the alternative posts? Really, none are that medically attractive.

  5. Alex says:

    Thanks for all the support! TulipGirl — Ugh, that sounds like an even more stressful situation than ours! Hoping your official okay comes soon!

  6. Ganessane says:

    All the best. By the way, could you please inform me if we can get the following in Benin vegetable market?
    Feuilles de cari/feuilles de curry ( in French)
    curry leaves (in English)
    Listya karri (in Russian) ? I need to know this fact……
    thanks in advance

  7. Sadie says:

    Oy. Good luck. I am glad you seem to finally be getting the attention you need from Med, and I hope your bid list expands a wee bit more on Monday. I do think that one cleared post sounds pretty awesome – it earned bids #2, 3, and 9 on my bid list last time :-). (I was assigned #1.)

  8. Alex says:

    Ganesh — I haven’t noticed curry leaves in the market but I’ve also never specifically been looking of them. There are definitely plenty of dry curry spices in stores.

  9. Daniela says:

    Wow, like tandem bidding is not complicated/restricting enough, you need Med to bless your posting. Hope you manage to convince them but ultimately what’s most important is that you land in a place that’s good for Andy (and the rest of the family, of course).

    Best of luck!!!

  10. Jen says:

    Yeah, I’m with Camille on this one. My heart starts racing just *thinking* about MED. No logic, generally clueless and they send you where they *think* is best, even though you’d likely be fine in 20 other places.

    I am already planning a waiver if they so much as threaten me with a class 2. I am at once yearly follow-ups once I leave her and can always come back if I really feel I need to (though I know I won’t).

    I’m SO sorry, MED is just one big brother nightmare!

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