So I have a job offer.
It's a bit strange, because it's only for seven or eight months. A project in Chisinau, Moldova has lost its Chief of Party. The project ends on September 30 of this year, but they need a COP until then. It looks like that will be me.
Claudia and the boys will come with me. We're thinking to put the boys in the International School there for the rest of the school year -- three months or so.
Some obvious questions:
Why Moldova? -- Because that's where the job is.
Where is Moldova? -- Check a map! It's in Eastern Europe, between Romania and Ukraine. From where we are, it's about 1600 kilometers' drive.
What's it like? -- Briefly, it's a small, poor, former Soviet Republic. The capital is Chisinau, a small city of about half a million people. By all accounts it's a nice enough place, if poor. It's usually pretty quiet.
Moldova is not part of the EU. They dream of joining some day, but that would be many years from now, if it ever happens at all.
Will this lead to more work? -- Excellent question. Short answer: we don't know. The company that's hiring me thinks they have a very good chance of winning a follow-on project. They also have made noises about hiring me for something else when this project ends. This is not my first trip to the rodeo, alas; I have learned, through grim experience, that consulting companies may sometimes overstate these sorts of things just the tiniest bit.
On the other hand, who knows? My own experience suggests that it's easier to find a long-term position when you're already in one.
How are the kids taking it? -- Pretty well so far. They're worried about leaving friends and grandparents behind, but intrigued by the notion of a new country. More on this anon.
How do you feel about it? -- Honestly? Pretty mixed, though mostly positive. I was hoping for something longer-term -- like, years. Seven months is sort of an awkward period of time. Also, it's going to knock a hole in my short-term career, which has actually been going really well lately; if this hadn't come up, I was going to make a business trip to DC for a conference, followed by three weeks in Vietnam, followed by another trip to the West Bank. Basically I was booked through early April, which was nice.
But the short-term career wasn't supposed to be a career. It was always supposed to be a stopgap until we found something more stable. And it's been hard on Claudia and the kids, having me away for weeks at a time. This will give us at least seven months of stability and living together.
Also, to be honest, I'm looking forward to being a COP again. Being a freelancer is interesting, but running big projects has its own special fascination.
So, what kind of project? -- Oh, the usual. Business environment, commercial law. Tax stuff, which will be new for me, which is good. Helping the Moldovans get past the lingering Soviet legacies of red tape and paranoid suspicion of the private sector. Very similar to what I did in Romania and Armenia; should be right up my alley.
Well then, what next? -- I have some short-term obligations that I still have to finish. The biggest one is, I'll be in Washington, DC for a few days around February 14 in order to make some presentations at a conference.
After that, it's up stakes for Chisinau. Our tentative plan is to drive, taking three days and two nights. (You could do it in two days and one night if you put the hammer down, but we don't think keeping the kids in a car for 14 hours is a great idea.)
So that's the news. Watch this space (and our Facebook feeds) for more information as it comes.