Several months ago I applied for a position down in Italy. The position was at the port of Livorno and I didn't think I was overly qualified but I applied anyway. I made the referral list (the initial cut) but still didn't get too excited because I make the referral list for positions often and never get selected. I made the referral list way back in March and then didn't hear anything for over 2 months so I had pretty much forgotten all about it. Then, to my great surprise, I received a call from one of the officers down there a couple days before I left for the conference in St Louis back at the end of May. He said they were interested in me and wanted to do an interview over the phone. We talked about Italy and how much we loved the country and everything it had to offer, we discussed the job a little bit, then he asked if I wouldn't mind if he spoke to my supervisor. I gave him the number to the LTC that I work for and they talked later that afternoon although I didn't ask how it went. At the conference, the LTC revealed to me that the guy told him the final decision was between me and one other person and that it looked very promising for me.
Well, I was elated to hear this. I have always said that if I could be stationed at any base in Europe I would choose Livorno. The facilities are small and austere but the surrounding area...oh, the surrounding area. Livorno is a port right on the Ligurian Sea. It's the main departure point for ferries going to and from Sardinia. The seafood is abundant and delicious. It is about an hour away from Florence. There are several great beaches in and around Livorno including an American beach run by the military. It's about an hour away from Cinque Terra. It's in Tuscany, which means the best red wine in the world; Chianti, Montepulciano and - my all time favorite - Montalcino are all very close. Rome is only about 2 hours away. Pisa and its famous Leaning Tower are about 5 minutes away.
I didn't want to get too excited because it just seemed too good to be true. And apparently it was. I hadn't heard anything for a couple weeks so I called down to the personnel office last week and was told that I had finished second on the list. If the other guy turns it down, the position would be mine but in light of everything I just mentioned do you honestly think anybody would turn it down? Me neither.
And so it goes. As the Italians would say, il sogno è guasto.