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Archive for the ‘Peace Corps’ Category

“Your file is currently under review for placement”

Love,

Peace Corps

No, I still do not have any idea when I will know for sure.

Could be tomorrow.

Could be July.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow…

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Am I on a blogging roll or what??

Anyyyyyway, for those of you that read the blog in hopes of actually finding out my status with the Peace Corps… then this is for you! Don’t get too excited, I don’t have much new information. I got an email last night that said Please log in to your account, your status has been updated. Obviously, my heart stopped beating, and then I realized that I didn’t know my username or password to log in because those were saved on my old computer. So I had to wait until this morning to call my recruiter to get them. And when I finally logged in all there was to find out was that my dental and legal status had been cleared (which I already knew) and that my medical status was still under review (which I also already knew). A wee bit anticlimactic for me. But I guess no news is good news right now. I knew that it could be a long wait before I got my medical clearance. The website says that it can be months before one gets their invitation once they have been nominated. So I’m back to being Patient Patty.

I usually like not knowing what the future has in store, I enjoy life’s surprises and only finding out whats around the riverbend when I get around the reverbend… but lately it’s been more frustrating. I think the reality that I am actually going to graduate FROM COLLEGE in a few months might be hitting me. I am still more excited than ever, and I know that spending two years in an unknown country and culture is what I want to do. I just wish I had a vague time line of how things might pan out. Oh well. Such is life. I just need to remember that God knows exactly what I’m going to be doing 4 days, 4 months, and even 4 years from now.

“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”

-Job 42:2 (Thanks Ryan for sharing that with me yesterday)

And just to make sure you’re all still as excited as I am…

Ahhh, that just makes my heart smile ūüôā

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vanuatu

Recognize this place???

You might if you ever watched this show…

Survivor-Vanuatu

Thats right, the contestants of Survivor lived on the small island chain of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, and after an unexpected call from my Peace Corps recruiter, I found out today that I have been nominated to go to Vanuatu and teach English to French speakers next year!! 

AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Yes, that was my exact reaction when Alethea called. She knew I’d be excited, but I think I scared her. I also scared my sister by screaming incessantly and jumping extensively upstairs while I tried to listen the rest of the words Alethea was saying, (I don’t remember most of them). During my interview she discussed with me that my best chance of nomination during this period was to be nominated for West Africa because of my experience taking French. Amazingly, “Alethea the Awesome” (as i now refer to her) found a spot in the Pacific Islands (which was my first area of preference) where they are looking for a French speaker to teach English to the native children. She was quite surprised herself, saying that she had never heard of an applicant being nominated for Pacific Islands for speaking French.

Want to see more pictures? Me too. 

Vanuatu1

Oh. Hello, paradise ūüėÄ

So I don’t officially know that I am going to Vanuatu. All Alethea can tell me is that my nomination is for the Pacific Islands, in the department of youth outreach (teaching the kids English) and the estimated date of departure is September 2010. I could be living the island life in less than a year! The only reason I suspect that Vanuatu could be my destination is because it is the only island in the South Pacific that French is an official language. Yes, I’m quite the sleuth. Actually, i just gurgled it (you’ll only get this joke if you spend days watching Lifetime¬†original¬†movies like April and I).

So the next step for me is to get medical clearance. I should get my medical package in about 2 weeks and will have to have complete physical and dental check-ups to be cleared. Alethea will send my application and nomination to the DC office for review now. She suggests doing some tutoring with ESOL students or international immigrants that are learning english to continue to make myself more competitive upon review. If all goes well, after the DC office gets my medical clearance and my background check is complete they will then send me the formal invitation which I will have 10 days to review and accept or decline. Gee, thats going to be a tough decision. 

Oh look, native Vanuatu children!

vanuatu_beachKids

I think I love them. 

So, that was the high part of my roller-coaster day, and its enough to make me forget the down part: Celiac disease. After weeks of dealing with stomach-aches and other painful digestive problems, I found out today that I have inherited Celiac disease from my Grandmother who has been living with it for many years. What this means is that any food product that contains gluten (wheat, barley, rye and oats) destroys the cilia lining my small intestine that absorb the nutrients out of the foods I eat. This can lead to a lot of GI problems, and the lack of absorbed nutrients can lead to easily broken bones, anemia and a whole host of other health problems. So, today i say “bye bye” to gluten. No more biscuits. No more pita-fries. No more crackers. No more oatmeal. No more cookies. This is going to take some getting used to. Of course there are a lot of alternatives to all these foods, so i’ll just have to learn to be a savvy gluten-free shopper. I also found out that I have H. Pylori bacteria in my system which my doctor thinks actually may have benefitted me at this point. He doesn’t think I would have had the intense symptoms I was experiencing with the onset of Celiac if the H. Pylori wasn’t also adding to the problem. It could have been much longer before I got a diagnosis and I could have gotten a much more sick in the meantime.¬†

So this was a bit of a bummer, but I’m thankful to finally have an answer and I would much rather give up gluten than deal with the pain I was having before. And I think it goes without saying that the high of my nomination far outweighs the low of Celiac disease. They probably don’t have very much wheat in Vanuatu anyway. Thank you for everyone who has been supportive of my interest in the Peace Corps from the beginning and thank you for all your prayers so far in this journey. I have never been more exited about anything in my life. I’ll leave you with this image.¬†

waterfall-vanuatu

Yes, you can come visit me. Start planning your trip!

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Finally, our internet is working long enough for me to update about my interview yesterday. Long story short: it went really well!! It was so exciting to finally sit down with my recruiter and get a real idea for how things will go from here. Alethea was awesome, told me all about her service in Cameroon which got me even more excited about the possibilities in my future. Because I took three semesters of French as a requirement for my major, my recruiter thinks I would be a great fit to volunteer in West Africa in the department of¬†community¬†development and youth outreach (hello, dream job). The next step is that she will have to nominate me for service. Unfortunately we are currently on the tail end of a nomination period. She said there might be one available spot for nomination in West Africa, if so she will nominate me, if not, the next nomination period starts in December. After I am nominated, Alethea will send my application and information to the PC office in DC. After they evaluate me, get medical clearance and a background check, they will send me a formal invitation which will tell me a more specific location, when I will be leaving and the job I will be doing. Best case scenario: if I get nominated in this period and everything goes smoothly I could be leaving for training ¬†in November of 2010. If I get nominated during the next period, in December, I could be leaving in January of 2011. So thats a rough timeline of what could be happening in the next year. Now the hardest part, be patient. If you know me at all you know that will be no easy task. Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. I promise to update whenever any new developments occur. Until then i’ll just focus on my studies, right Doc?¬†

Now, for the mysticism. 

April and I had the good intention to go to a kickboxing class this evening, which we attempted to do. Unfortunately, we didn’t really know where the class was. So after driving up and down Lafayette St. looking for any location that could possibly be home to a kickboxing class, we admitted defeat and decided the best thing to do was to wallow in our ultimate failure while sippin’ a cup o’ magic at our new favorite hangout Cafe Americano (more on that later). Chandler, the owner of the joint, took pity on us and whipped up our favorite expresso milkshake and graciously served us some homemade chicken salad. After devouring our sorrows, Chandler invited us to accompany him at the FREE yoga class he was on his way to at Railroad Square. Considering we had just consumed mass quantities of calories as opposed to burning them as originally planned, we decided a little downward facing dog couldn’t hurt, after all it was FREE. (I have to add here that the last, and only, time April and I have done Yoga together we spent the entire class avoiding the glares of the veteran attendees who didn’t appreciate our stifled giggles.) The best way to describe our experience with the Peace on Earth FREE Yoga is with the first sentence we heard leaving the yogi’s mouth as we entered: “Contract the muscle of your anus.” I kid you not. Sonya, I’m not saying this to be crass. I merely speak the truth. WE DIED. Literally and figuratively. We died died died and died again.¬†

Chandler forgot to mention that Thursday night is “Mystical Story Night”. The rest of the class was more or less a swirly, hazy, nonsensical mess of Hindu picture book stories, trying to see through our “third eye”, peeling the ego off the top of our heads, catching unnecessary whiffs of the distinct scent of my hippy neighbor, lessons in chakras, singing to “mother earth”, and a quick viewing of my French II teacher doing Kung Fu. Did I mention its FREE? Guess you get what you pay for in Railroad Square.

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In the Beginning…

DISCLAIMER: Setting up this blog has been the most confusing thing I’ve done this week, and its been a pretty confusing week. I still have no clue how to use this so called “user friendly site” so if it looks like a first-grader did it, my apologies (no offense Momsies, I’m sure some of your first-graders could probably figure this out quicker than I can).¬†

I wanted to start a blog to keep an account of my journey in the Peace Corp and to be able to share this adventure with everyone who I don’t get to see and talk to daily. Keeping in mind I have not even been accepted into the PC yet, with my interview tomorrow, the very beginning of this process seemed like a good time to start documenting it. So for those of you with whom I haven’t shared my excitement about this decision yet, I applied for the Peace Corps in July in hopes that sometime soon after I graduate (in April) I will be leaving for my 27 month (yes, that is 27 consecutive months that I am signing my life away to) assignment in another country. Possibly on another continent. Maybe even in another hemisphere. Go big or go home, right? ¬†

My 2-hour-long interview is tomorrow at 3:30 on our campus at FSU. No, I’m not nervous. Just excited. REALLY excited. This is something I have been dreaming and thinking about for a very long time now. Plus, I think Lauren is nervous enough for the both of us. People are always asking about where I would go, when will I find out, and what will I be doing for 27 months? Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get the answers to a lot of those questions, or at least have a better sense of the next step from here. Fear not, I will post an update asap tomorrow to fill everyone in on the post-interview excitement. Please pray for me as I begin this journey tomorrow. I don’t know how any of this will pan out, I can only hope that the Lord will lead me in this process and that I am ready to follow wherever He takes me.

Please, Lord, take me to Samoa ūüėČ

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