K is for Kyrgyzstan

Occasionally I loiter outside of UN offices
The following conversation happened a few months ago

John: I'm going to Kyrgyzstan.
Me: You made that place up.
John: No really it's near all the other "stans"
Me: Are there any vowels in that?
John: Not sure if this is a "sometimes Y" situation.

Johnathan headed to Kyrgyzstan aka the land that vowels forgot in December for work. Whilst there he was yelled at by another woman name Tatiana...he said it was like being at home. HA!

Also whilst he was there Kyrgyzstan had its first ever peaceful transfer of power. Awesome.

So this job that he goes to every day like he's obsessed, what is it?

First I should explain where he works. He works for the Universal Postal Union. And by "I should explain" I actually mean, have a look at what Wikipedia has to say because they explain it better than I can.

The Universal Postal Union  is a specialized agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system. The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration (CA), the Postal Operations Council (POC) and the International Bureau (IB). It also oversees two cooperatives including the Telematics and EMS Cooperatives respectively. Each member agrees to the same terms for conducting international postal duties. The UPU’s headquarters are located in Bern, Switzerland. 

The Official language of the UPU is French but the official working language of English was added in 1994. 

Contrary to popular belief of some people back home, he DOES NOT work for the post office. No. He has nothing to do with the postal system. Nothing. He works with post offices but it has nothing to do with the mail. 

So what does he ACTUALLY do that required him to travel to Malaysia, Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan?

John's official UN passport for travel
The grant that pays for his job is mandated for creating greater monetary access to rural people. He works with a countries post office to install software to make their international postal money orders work electronically. Simply put it's software that will transfers money and is available for those in less urban settings. When he got to see where the money was coming from and the function of the job it really drove home what a worthwhile thing it is that he does because it gives people access to money. He not only installs the software but teaches the local office how it works. He works with translators and interpreters when he does this which he finds to be an interesting experience. 

He loves what he does. The travel whilst draining has been pretty epic. Up next on his travel docket? Cambodia, Laos, India and the United Arab Emirates. 

And for those that are wondering. Yes I can travel with him. However, most of the time I choose not to. Mostly it's the fact that we only receive confirmed travel dates a few days in advance which leaves little time for us to find any kind of deal for my plane ticket. Also he's there to work not sight see. His evenings are not his own either. He either works late into the night OR has to do official meetings etc which I can't be part of. So really no point in me being there if I'm just going to be stuck at a hotel because wandering around some of these countries as an unescorted female is not the most brilliant idea.  Especially in places like Kyrgyzstan where "wife stealing" is still a problem in some areas.

Although we do have one rule when he travels though, he can't come home without a present. Even if he just picks it up in the airport.


  1. I was just trying to explain to Andrew what John does the other day. This is helpful... and awesome. So many cool stories!

  2. I'd be careful if John ever shows too welcoming an attitude to having you accompany him to wife-stealing countries. ;) jo


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