Thursday, February 24, 2011

Surprise!! Swaziland!!!

Wow! I guess I have some more research to do. I will be a part of the first Non-Formal Education Project to go to Swaziland.
Any one else?


Alright. I have submitted the email indicating my preference for Africa.

I must say thank you all for your comments. They really made me more confident. Confident enough to make a decision. I love this Peace Corps blog community!!!

I did preference Africa. However, I did give the Philippines a good thought (after my last post). In fact, for a while I had decided that I would prefer the Philippines. Then I came around again for Africa and knew that was the right choice for me. I also let me placement specialist know that, while I would prefer Africa, I'm sure that I would be happy with either program.

So..... We'll see what comes my way next!

Congrats to those of you who are receiving your invitations!!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Africa or Asia?

I got an email from my placement specialist. She has identified 2 programs that are options for me.

1) teaching english in Asia, departing July 1st

2) teaching english in Sub-Saharan Africa, departing June 2nd

How do I figure out which I prefer?  At this point the date is not an issue. My intuition tells me Africa. Do I listen to that?

 Thanks to PC Wiki I have figured out that the program in Asia is in the Philippines and that the possible programs in Africa are in Mozambique and Togo.

I feel like since the PC program in the Philippines is the second oldest, that it is more likely to be the better developed program. Still, my gut says Africa.

If I got an invitation for the Philippines I would be happy, but now that I am given the opportunity to indicate a preference, I don't think that I can turn down Africa.

Africa. Asia. Africa. Asia. Africa. Asia.

Why do I feel like I should have some loyalty to Asia?

Logical (for me) Africa pros:
Romance Languages - I have italian and some remnants of French
People to Land Ratio is low - I have a fear of getting lost in crowds....sort of. This is an easy way to describe it. Not that this is something that I would let hold me back.
Hello! It's Africa.

(The only logical pro for the Philippines is the fact that it is the second oldest program.)

FYI: It is hard to be nominated to one program and then realize that everything you have learned, and been trying really hard not to count on, is now......useless? at least for the PC adventure.

I don't know if I would ever be able not to think 'What if....' if I were to ignore my intuition.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Is Presidents Day a Federal Holiday?

Wikipedia says yes. So, will I hear from my placement specialist tomorrow?

I hope so, because I might not make it much longer. I am so mentally exhausted after this weekend, trying to maintain a PMA and not be completely stressed about this situation. I don't know whether I am more stressed about the fact that I got an invitation, felt that security after waiting for so long, and then had it taken away, or about having to indicate a preference of one program (region/departure date) over another.

Here's to hoping that sleep will come easily tonight (fat chance).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Just Kidding, Not China.

I just got a call from my Placement Specialist that China does not actually work for me. There was a mistake in inviting me to that program.

Good thing I have been practicing so hard to be flexible and patient.

I will get contact on Monday with some possible program options that are a fit for me. More info on that then.

The funny thing is that the mis-invitation is not even the thing that is bugging me the most. The biggest thing on my mind is the fact that I am STILL unpacking, which means that my living situation is a mess. That is what is bothering me the most. How did I acquire so much freaking stuff? Oh well, at least this is something to keep me occupied.

Monday, February 14, 2011

China! con't

 This is a disaster. I just wrote the longest post ever. I went to hit 'Post' and it all disappeared.


This has been the longest 2 weeks ever. It was my last two weeks at work and I spent every second that I was not at work or tutoring, moving out of my apartment. I know that the Peace Corps says not to do either of these two things until you have received and accepted an invitation, but I just couldn't wait.

I made arrangements to live with a friend in the area while I continued to work and wait to hear from the PC. This was very appealing, because then I wouldn't have to move a whole apartment in whatever amount of time I might have between invitation and departure. This was not a huge change. I have lived with Dan before, and this move eased my nerves a TON. I put my apartment on Craigslist on a Monday and the following Wednesday it was leased.... Wow, that was faster than I expected.

Then, a few weeks later, I decided that it was just time for me to leave my job. There were of lot of factors in this decision, and the pros to leave outweighed the pros of staying. One of the major pros of leaving, was that my schedule opens up so that I can spend more time tutoring and making myself more competitive for the PC. This, in conjunction with leasing my apartment means moving back home... still figuring out that one.

It just so happens (or I planned it this way) that my last day in my apartment and my last day at work were both Friday, February 11th. Hence the over reaction on Monday, when the PC asked for that questionnaire and resume.

It also just so happens (truly) that I got a call at 10:49 am from the United Sates Peace Corps Placement Office on Friday, February 11th. The synchronicity is unreal!!

I was terrified at first, because I thought that this was a final interview call. I had planned on looking over all of this info after my last day at work. I was not ready for this call AT ALL!!  However, it turns out that this was just a call to let me know that I have been qualified to receive an invitation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Karen asked how I felt about leaving at the end of June, I said that was fine. She said that she would send the invitation via UPS Ground and would I like her contact info right now, over the phone or would I like an email.  I opted for an email, which in reply Karen said, 'Great, I'll send that right away with one more piece of information.'

Here is what the email said:


It was a pleasure speaking with you today.  I am happy to inform you that I have qualified you to receive an invitation, and identified a program for you.  Congratulations for completing the final phase of the application process. The details -  

Assignment: English Teaching
Region: Asia
Departure: 6/29/11

You should receive the invitation in 5 – 7 business days.    I encourage you to continue building your ESL teaching/tutoring experience with youth (middle and/or high school) or adults up until your departure.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions about Peace Corps service.



Those of you who are up on the Peace Corps Wiki Staging Dates know that this means CHINA!!!!!!!!!

I am wrapping up tutoring this week in Columbus, so that means that the chances of me being gone when the invitation is delivered are great. Forever Practicing Patience.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Take a deep breath....Much Better

Yesterday, after blogging about my questionnaire, I started to really sort through everything.

 I realized that no matter what any one suggests for any of this Peace Corps stuff, that this is my thing. I am the one applying, I am the one going.

Now, I am settling calmly in to the next stage of this 'great wait'. I'm sure that RAS will return shortly, but I am going to do my best to maintain this PMA for as long as possible.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A tiny bite from the crazy bug-

OK. I lost it a little bit this morning. Here is the situation:

I sent in my updated resume and Education Questionnaire. I feel good about my resume and ok about my questionnaire. I did not write out long essays for each question (for a reminder about the questions see last post). The most I wrote was 2 paragraphs for one of the questions (though as essay could have been written about each of them).

The question that I am most concerned about is the standard peace corps question: Why do you want to be a teacher in a developing country? I just could not force myself to sit down and write a 3 page heart wrenching story about education in my life and the ability to gain so much while teaching others. So, I was honest but short. I figured that they have all of my other application documents, including my application essays.

Now, after some suggestions were received too late, I am feeling a teency weency bit nervous about my questionnaire (previously I had been panicking). The questionnaire did say that there are no right or wrong answers for the questions, that they are merely prompts to get you thinking......

So, just in case- Do people get this far in the process and not get an invitation?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Speak of the devil

Thank you all so much for your encouraging words! It is so nice to hear that I am not alone in this and that my experience does not deviate too far for the 'norm'.

I did receive a call from Suzy this afternoon. Suzy is the wonderful woman who preliminarily reviewed my application, from the Peace Corps Assessment and Placement Office. I just got a voicemail and an email from her, but she was SO nice. I found out that I need to update my resume, it can only be 1 page long. I also was asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding education in other countries, since I am nominated as an educator.
The questionnaire asked standard peace corps questions like: Why do you want to be a teacher in a developing country? and then questions about corporal punishment and memorization learning.

Very interesting. It seems like progress is being made.... kind of. She did warn me that it may be weeks before I hear from them again. So, those of you who are already in this stage that I am just entering- They know that you are waiting.

I was also asked to update an education skills addendum. I am trying really hard to not think that this is an indication that they do not think that I have enough experience. Really, really hard.

My fingers are crossed for all of us who are waiting. and Thanks again!

In the wind

I am starting to get nervous. I still have not heard anything from the Placement Office. My toolkit still says, 'Your file is currently under consideration. Please review the information on this page to determine whether Peace Corps is awaiting any information from you.'  Nothing. I can't even find out how to contact the Placement Office. I would just like an email addres to which I can address my concerns. Specifically, that I am worried they have forgotten about me.

It seems like most applicants hear from the Placement Office within a few days of being medically cleared.
 How long do most people wait between being medically cleared and hearing about what comes next?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat....

Woo hoo!! I am medically qualified for service!!

Now, while I am completely thrilled about this, I have to admit that I feel a little bit like 'now what?'. The letter says that I will move to the Office of Placement. What exactly does that mean? Should I call someone? Is someone going to call me? I suppose that I will just continue to wait... again. Until I can't stand it, and then of course I will have to call or email someone.

The good news is (I think), that my toolkit still indicates that my file is under review.
Hopefully another update soon.