Saturday, March 12, 2011

Peace Corps On My Mind

I find not a day goes by when Peace Corps doesn't enter my mind at least 20 times.
  • I check out PCJ daily to see what's new with other applicants and those serving. I still check up and read the blogs of those in Tonga which I started reading when that's where I thought I was going.
  • I debate daily if I am making the right choice. One day I know I am, the next day I question the decision. However, the reason I question is I am scared that something will go wrong. I know it is the right decision for me and I will have the experience of a lifetime, but right now, I am scared- which I know is normal.
  • I check up on PC Wiki to see if any new staging dates have been added and if so, check my Excel spreadsheet and see if that country listed has the right programs. (As neurotic as this sounds to anyone not considering PC service, I know I am not the only one!)
  • I question if I made the right choice in changing my earliest departure date from now to August. Maybe I gave up an amazing opportunity in Romania. I will never know and just have to trust I made the right choice.
  • I find myself checking my phone more frequently to see if I have service or if I missed a phone call from (202).
  • I go shopping and see something and think, I would consider get that if I knew where I was going to be in a few months.
  • I think about where I could be going and debate where would be my first choice, while not trying to get my hopes up. At this point, I would love SE Asia or the Pacific Islands (although I am glad I am not there right now). I can pretty much rule out Central/South America because I don't speak Spanish and parts of Africa since I don't speak French. But overall I tell myself, I know I will enjoy anywhere I am placed and I trust my Placement Officer's decision.
I know I will find out more information soon enough and I need to be patient. It would just be nice to know so I can start preparing (I am an over planner, so preparing for Peace Corps service will be no small, or quick, feat).

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I am a little behind on updating and announcing this- its been a busy weekend with my birthday and all, but on Thursday, I received notice that I have been medically cleared and....even bigger news- I received a call from Placement. They had a placement for me leaving in late April. soon!

The whole conversation and the rest of Thursday was quite a blur. I didn't expect to hear from Placement so soon and to have them want me to leave so soon. I told the PO I needed the night to think things over. I wasn't able, at that moment, to tell him if I could leave in April or not. I had been planning on August/September/October. April was a lot sooner than even August.

I immediately called my mom and tried to explain to her what was going on, but I was in kind of a fog. Everything had happened so quickly.

To make a long story short, after much deliberating with family and friends, including a friend currently serving in the region where I was going to be placed, I decided 1) the placement maybe wasn't the best fit for me, and 2) I am not ready to leave so soon. I have would like to finish out the school year with my kids and I really would like to spend my last summer in the US working at the Rec Dept- a place that is quite special to me for many reasons.

Anyway, I emailed my PO early Friday morning and said my preference would be to wait, however, I realize the importance of finding a good fitting placement for each volunteer and so, if a placement arose sooner than August that was a good fit for me, I would be ready to go.

While I still don't know location or departure time, or when I will find those things out, it was a wonderful birthday present to receive medical clearance and hear from the PO at the same time.

Next update will hopefully contain even more information, however, this update is huge for me!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mr. Mailman, Please Come Quick

Complete. A decision has been reached regarding your medical review. Please look for a letter in the mail.

I thought they would make me have one more doctor's appointment in March before I received this news. There is no reason it should be bad news, but I am very anxious for the mail.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

One step closer!

Lots of people on Peace Corps Journals talk about RAS (Restless Applicant Syndrome). I definitely have it- even more so now after getting through a medical hold up yesterday- one that has taken months to figure out- and from that, I can say, good doctors make all the difference! Anyway, hopefully I will be receiving medical clearance shortly. Because of this, I am becoming more and more restless.

At this point, I don't plan on leaving until the end of August at the earliest so that I can be at Heidi and Dale's wedding, however, I would love to have an invitation sooner rather than later so that I know what my future holds. I have decided though, I think if/when I hear from placement, if they tell me an invitation will be in the mail, I kinda don't want to know the region. I have concluded that I am fine with anywhere. Every location would be an adventure. I want to know approximate departure date, but if I know location too, I will be on Peace Corps Wiki immediately trying to figure out where. The more I have thought about it, the more I kind of want that element of surprise.

Hopefully next time I update, the title will be MEDICAL CLEARANCE!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

10 months and counting...

It has been far longer than I anticipated since I last posted. In the Peace Corps applicant world, that isn't a good thing. Between work, trial medications, and trying to figure out my next move, I still do not have medical clearance. This is the one thing holding me back at this point. I submitted my online application 10 months ago. That is a long time, unfortunately I know there is still more waiting.

Work you say- I thought you were volunteering? In late November I took on a paraprofessional position at one of the local schools. My mornings are spent working with struggling readers who qualify for Title 1 additional reading support. During the afternoon, I work one-on-one with a nonverbal, autistic, kindergartner. This part of my job is by far the most challenging experience I have had thus far, however, so far it has proven to 1) have taught me so incredibly much and 2) had quite a few rewarding moments. When I started, this little boy could only say numbers, letters, and his name. Now, less than two months later, he is saying some 2 and 3 word phrases, like, "big, blue, triangle" and my two favourite things, "Hi. I am (insert his name here)." and "I want (insert item) please." This is huge. I was ecstatic yesterday when I was told, "I want to poop please." As frustrating as the job is sometimes when he is screaming and throwing a fit, I really do enjoy seeing how much my little boy has progressed. Another big change with him, when I started, he was pulled out of the classroom almost the entire afternoon, now, I have him back in the classroom for at least 3/4 of the afternoon.

Over the past few months I have debated back and forth about what I want to do with my life and while possible career paths have changed, the one thing that has always been there is Peace Corps. I even toyed with the idea of Teach for America for a year or two and then Peace Corps, but that isn't the right program for me. I feel like the fact that I can't get Peace Corps out of my mind is a good sign that it is the right thing for me. I want to be one of those people whose blog shows up on the Peace Corps Journals site exclaiming being invited. I want this more than anything right now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another delay...

It's been a while since I updated because I haven't really had any Peace Corps related news. I got some today, but I kind of wish I didn't get it. I will most likely have to wait another 3 months before I am medically cleared. I went to the doctor today and was told that the one month trial I just did with a new medication isn't enough- he wants to try another three months. Good- just what I wanted to hear, another 3 months of waiting. That means, instead of leaving early October 2010, I now predict the earliest I will get medical clearance is the beginning of February, which means probably not leaving until the spring. At that point, I might just say screw it and wait until the fall and try to get invited to my original placement of Pacific Islands in October. Anyone who has had to jump through hoops to get medical clearance from the Peace Corps knows just how frustrating this is, especially when I have always been healthy. I will try giving OMS a call in the morning to see if they can do anything for me, but my hopes are not high right now.

However frustrating, there is nothing I can do about all of this so I have to just roll with the punches and boy- life really seems to be punching me a lot lately. Everything happens for a reason, right?

I have been spending my time doing some job hunting and a lot of Halloween Fun Running. I am back volunteering for the Recreation Department and have been putting quite a bit of time into the upcoming 5k Halloween Fun Run and Walk. It should be a great event again this year!