Peace Corps blog?

Incidentally, I guess this means that this blog is now a Peace Corps blog, in addition to a knitting blog, a personal blog, and occasionally even a cooking blog. My blog has ADD, I guess. Anyway, you’ll notice I’ve added a disclaimer to the sidebar over there. (I figured it was worth a mention for anyone reading this via RSS.)

Invited to Serve

I haven’t talked much about my Peace Corps application process on this blog. Mostly that’s because it’s been such a long, anxiety-ridden process, and I try to keep things pretty upbeat around here. (I have other outlets for my angst.) But, as of last Thursday, I have finally–after a full year of waiting–been invited to serve as a teacher of English languagy fluency in the Philippines!

Take a moment and imagine me doing my happy dance. (It looks a lot like the chicken dance, minus the beak and wing bits.)

It’s been such a long haul. It’s been almost twelve months to the day since I submitted my application. (On reflection, I’m pretty sure I’m responsible for most of the delay, though. More on that in a bit.) Here’s how it went down:

June 19: Application submitted.

Late July: Interview! It goes well.

Early August (barely a week later!): Nomination! Shortly afterwards, my medical forms arrive.

September-November: Dentist appointments, doctor visits, blood tests, bills I don’t even want to think about. Curse my lack of health insurance! Also, I take a soul-sucking job at Walmart in order to stay alive. It’s as bad as you might expect.

Late November: It takes me much longer than it should to get the medical forms back (partly, but not entirely, because of the money issues), but finally, just as I’m wrapping up my third NaNoWriMo, I send off my medical packet.

January: Waiting.

February: Waiting.

March: Waiting.

Early April: Dental clearance! Never so happy to be cavity-free. I also am informed I need more blood tests for my medical review. Reluctantly, I go to the local walk-in clinic and pay $180 to get both my arms stabbed so that we can be sure I am free of Hepatitis A and B. (I am happy to be clear on the subject: no hepatitis here!)

Late April: MEDICAL CLEARANCE! I start doing my happy dance and immediately falter when I see the words “placement is competitive” and “updated resume”. (Wanting this so badly has turned me into something of a pessimist–never once did I let myself believe it was a sure thing.)

May: Waiting. A particularly low month, psychologically.

Early June: I break down and call the Placement Office to ask if they have a timeline, on account of I’m getting tired of mopping my soul off the floor. They don’t have much info.

But! A few days later, an e-mail! They tell me I was originally nominated to Central Asia, departing late September–would I like to be considered for positions in Asia or Central Asia departing in late August? WOULD I EVER. (I quietly thank whatever gods may be that I pushed past my phone anxiety to make that phone call–I think it bumped me up a little as they realized I might be willing to leave ahead of schedule.)

More e-mails follow, requests for more information, a few questions about how my family feels about my Peace Corps ambition, that sort of thing. I’m just thrilled that someone is paying attention to my application.

June 8: The website says I’m an invitee! YAY! But has NO INFORMATION about when I leave or where I’m going.

June 10: The UPS guy (my new best friend in the entire world) shows up with my invitation packet and it is the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE, NO JOKE.

As you can tell by the increased use of all caps, the last week has been the best week I’ve had pretty much in the entire year since I submitted my application.

Now, I’m pretty sure that my turnaround time is definitely on the long side of normal, and I’m pretty sure it’s mostly down to me. For one thing, in my interview, I told my recruiter that I kind of wanted to spend some time with my family before I left, so I didn’t mind if it took a while.

And that was true, at the time–I just had no clue how much the rest of that year would SUCK. I mean, spending time with my family was lovely and important, but I really could have done without the year of retail and food service experience.

And I don’t imagine it helped much that it took me over three months to turn in my medical forms.

But I refuse to beat myself up too much (this year has beaten me up enough without my help). I mean, if I beat myself up, how will I get through all this paperwork?

Talk to you guys later–I have forms to fill out.