“To be on a quest is nothing more or less than to become an asker of questions.” -Sam Keen

Friday, October 22, 2010


I don’t know why I’ve put off this post until now...I found out on October 14 that I’ll be headed to Paraguay as an Early Elementary Educator with the Peace Corps!!!!! Super excited, nervous, anxious, the whole bit.

I’ve been putting together my packing list, and yesterday I made a large purchase from the North Face (PC volunteers get a discount). Schoolteachers wear uniforms in Paraguay, so I also made an investment in a couple navy bottoms and white tops. Other than that, I’ve been lurking on volunteer blogs and trying to wrap my head around the experience I’m about to have. I’ll be leaving on February 2 for Miami and leaving for Paraguay on the 4th.

I have approximately a million things to do: cleaning, passport applications, aspiration statements, etc, but I’ve been spending my (very few) off days lounging and reading up on Paraguay. Starbucks is still a drag, but at least there’s a definite end in sight. Hooray!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Call to the Corps

Today I finally broke down and called the medical office and asked for information on the status of my file. Apparently, my contact person has gone to law school, so there’s a new guy who’s taken over her spot. He told me that “unfortunately” (his words) my file was assigned to a part time nurse, which means most likely it’s been sitting in a pile untouched for the past 2 1/2 months. Great to know. Although, I must admit that I figured as much. I’ve learned time and again that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, but I didn’t want to pester. I regret not calling sooner. He promised to call me with follow-up information this afternoon, a small but positive sign. The guy was nice and helpful, but the whole call begs the question, “what would have happened if I didn’t bother checking up?” Answer: it may have remained in limbo forever. That’s horrible.

As for my life, I’m taking my lumps at Sbux/the Cup, though perhaps not as gracefully as I would like. The 2 dead end job thing is taking its toll, and I’d like to hear some information that reminds me why I’ve made the choices I have for the remainder of 2010. I’m willing to make the sacrifice so long as I know that there’s a clear end in sight--a goal, a destination, a plan. I just about have to bite my tongue off at this point when people at CoffeeBux ask why I’m working there and what my future plans are. As per PC suggestion, I haven’t mentioned my application to them. I’m so fed up with the nonsense that goes on at that place; I need to make my move soon, before the siren slowly strangles my soul. If not the Peace Corps, then something else. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that makes you contemplate time and money like the current ridiculousity of my work schedule.

Things, however, are not all bad. Mom, Linda and I booked a cheap trip to Dublin for November...bring on the Irish mirth and Guinness pints :) I find that since the Peace Corps seems nebulous at times, I focus on mini-adventures/outings to take my mind off the mindlessness of my current jobs. This weekend, for instance, I’m going to visit Darren in NYC. Trips like that keep me going when I’m in the middle of a double double. So does snuggling with Finn, like I’m doing right now.

Let’s hope for a phone call, shall we?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Long Time, No Write

Greetings Cyberspace,

It’s been a while since my last post, nearly 2 months. A highlight: I graduated college with honors (YAY!),

got a second job at Starbucks (sort of YAY!),

and sent out my excruciatingly long medical packet (triple YAY!).

The medical packet thing was quite an adventure. I compiled all of the requested information in just about 2 months, with a vacation and a faulty urine analysis holding me up a bit. As of June 29, the Peace Corps office has acknowledged that they have received my medical packet, but may not be reviewing it for quite some time. We shall see.

After the heady experience of graduating college and traveling to Montreal (where I turned 22), I’ve been keeping extremely busy trying to hold down 2 jobs. Starbucks is a good position for the most part, but it’s quite draining. I work around 50 hours a week, sometimes more, and often with double shifts. I’m trying to keep a positive attitude about the whole situation, knowing that this isn’t a long term career, but rather a grueling but necessary bump in the road. I’m trying to build up my bank account for any upcoming PC expenses (did I mention how freakin’ expensive getting medically cleared is? Sheesh), plus SB will offer me insurance in a couple months. That will certainly unburden my mom a bit.

Off to enjoy my day off. Guatemala in 7 days!

Monday, May 3, 2010

You Suck, L.L. Bean

Knowing that I’m in the medical clearance phase of my PC application, I thought it would be wise to apply for a second job in the interim. L.L. Bean seemed like a good choice, since they’re known for their outdoorsy apparel and general lefty attitude. Only problem: application denied. Boo. Apparently, my skill set (college graduate, bilingual, costumer service experience) does not match their current needs. Bitter? A little. I guess I’ll be shopping at the North Face for my PC supplies--assuming that my med clearance goes well.

I looked through my paperwork yesterday, and it is intense. I’m hoping my stint in therapy doesn’t limit my eligibility--I’m going to ask both my shrink and my regular doctor to write a letter of consent along with the forms they have to fill out. I’m also required to write a statement of purpose, which I was sort of expecting. I guess it’s time to plead my case.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Mail God Satiated

I got an e-mail today saying that my medical packet was sent out. I guess the Mail God listened :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dentists and Gynos and Bloodwork, oh my!

So, I took my recruiter’s advice and scheduled all of my doctor’s appts before I even received my medical packet in the mail. I’m hoping this plan doesn’t blow up in my face, since I scheduled all of my appointments (GP, dentist, gynecologist, optician and psychologist) 3 1/2 weeks after my nomination--even though the PC tells you the papers will come in 3-4 weeks. Whoopies. The thing is, my going to Montreal at the end of May, so the following week wouldn’t have worked. I just want to get all this medical stuff out of the way ASAP.

I’ve set up an alter to the United States Post Office God, and am willing to perform blood sacrifices, if necessary.

In other news, I applied for a job at L.L. Bean. I’m hoping they’ll hire me (and give me that sweet discount). Oh, and I only have to write one more essay in my undergraduate career!!!!!!!!! Thrilled does not even begin to describe how I’m feeling. Graduation, here I come :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Virgin Entry

Mission Statement: With this blog, I hope to record the process of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer, from start to finish. I invite you to follow my journey.

As of yesterday, I was nominated to work in Central/South America as a TEFL volunteer. Now, the Peace Corps repeatedly tells you that your nomination information is not a done deal; any number of factors could lead to a different region or work assignment. However, I can’t help but feel excited about the possibility of serving in the region I requested. I was praying that I’d be selected to work in a Spanish speaking country--it makes the most sense for my language background and personal interest. There were only seven nomination slots available at the time my recruiter called me, a fact I consider extremely fortuitous. Now it’s a waiting game for my medical paperwork--from what I’ve heard and read, I should expect a veritable shit ton of forms. I’m trying to brace myself and make all the necessary appts NOW.

My nomination is the third step in a five step application process. The first step was the written application, which includes a lengthy list of personal and professional questions. They ask for a resume, two essays, and three references. I think they make the initial application so grueling to weed out people who aren’t really serious about joining. It’s not so bad, but it does take a while to fill out. There’s also an initial medical questionnaire you have to complete before your application can move forward. For me, the process took between a week and ten days--I turned everything in on Feb. 21. This step can be done online.

After your completed application (including references) is submitted, you’ll receive a packet that asks for a copy of your fingerprints, a National Agency Check Questionnaire for Peace Corps Volunteer Background Investigation, information concerning your student loans (if you have any), and possible work area assignments. Once you mail in these completed forms, you’ll receive a letter with login information for My Toolkit, an online taskmaster/checklist. Then it’s on to step two.

The Interview. It took about two months from the submission of my initial application to my actual interview at the Peace Corps office in NYC. I interviewed on April 20th, which turned out to be truly a great experience. I can only speak for myself, but my recruitment officer was warm and open. She asked me a standard set of interview questions, typed my responses into a laptop, and told me on the spot that she’d be moving my application forward. Although some of the interview questions were a little personal, I never felt uncomfortable or like I was being grilled. The Peace Corps Wiki is a great place to find practice questions and information about the interview process.

Then, three days later (April 23) I moved on the step three: the nomination. :) Actually, she offered me two choices: either the Caribbean or Central/South America, both for TEFL. I picked the latter because I have a stronger interest in that region, and because it offers a wider range of placement opportunities. The program is charted to leave in February, but I’d like to get my medical stuff out of the way ASAP (over the summer). I was told that it would be a good idea to strengthen my application my working as a health volunteer, so I’m looking for work in the area. I know that the upcoming months will prove to be frustrating, but right now I’m on a nomination high. So excited!!

So, this blog will pick up with a record of steps four and five: medical/legal clearance and invitation. I’ll keep you posted once my medical stuff comes in. For right now, I must savor the anticipation.