Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Staging Info Coming Soon

I received an email today telling us that there are TWO staging events for Philippines Training Batch 269. This is unusual but I guess that follows since I have also learned that our training batch has 145 volunteers in it! Past years Philippines training batches have had around 60 people and had their staging event somewhere on the west coast, which makes sense if you flying to the Philippines.Therefore I am a little confused as to why our staging events are closer to the east coast - Philadelphia and Detroit are where the two training batches are going to be. Now I wait till Monday to receive my staging information and how to go about buying my plane ticket to Detroit!

I can't believe my departure date is so close! Where did the summer go?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Count down officially begins...

One month from today is my departure date!!! and there is still SO much for me to do! I am moving out of my apartment in less than two weeks and living on Kelly and Gretchen's couch for two weeks before going to see my parents and flying out of Augusta. I haven't received my staging information yet but it should be getting here very soon! I also let me boss know the last day I will be working. I just can't believe a month from today I will be on a plane flying to the other side of the world... it's a little surreal sometimes! Even though I am totally excited about going to the Philippines I am definitely sad to leave my family, friends and Charleston behind. I have always known that I want to serve in the Peace Corps and this really is the perfect time in my life - done with grad school, have lots of work and volunteer experience, and the job market is not the best. But at the same time, I have a decent job here in Charleston, the best friends anyone could ask for, and I'm living in a beautiful coastal city. I could see myself almost settling down here and am at the point in my life where I guess that makes sense, but when I think about being settled I get the itch to travel and do more. So although I can see two paths my life could take right now, I feel 100% positive that the Peace Corps is the right decision for me and that if I didn't go, I would regret it for sure.

That being said, I really hope to be able to stay in touch with everyone often and people keep asking me if I know where I will be and what kind of internet access I will have. It can be frustrating sometimes to have to tell them I won't know that until probably at least half-way through my training. But that is the Peace Corps way - not knowing and having to wait!

I am starting to really get all of my stuff together that I will need to pack. It's hard to know what is too much and what isn't enough though. And I am really worried that if I don't pack enough/the right clothes I won't be able to find things that fit me in the Philippines (I am probably a lot taller and bigger than most of the girls there). I ordered a pack online though and it's in the mail now so I will just have to see how much stuff I can fit in it! I really want to try to have one bag and one carry-on although they allow us two bags, but I have a feeling I am not being realistic about how much stuff I am going to want to take with me....

31 days and counting!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Loaded Questions

So yesterday I got my Site Placement and Host Family Questionnaires and I can't help but feel how heavy my Philippines fate depends on each answer I write. Would I prefer to live with a host family with or without children? An older or younger couple? What do I feel my major strengths are? How rural would I prefer to live? How basic of living conditions?.... All these questions! Part of me just wants to say "Drop me off in a village on the coast with a little hut!" It's like camping for 2 years right? I love camping!.....heh

Then there's the host family... I have heard many great stories about how close volunteers get to their host family but I have been living on my own now for 6 years. I am not used to having "parents" around and definitely not kids. But when I was in Costa Rica, talking with children was an excellent way to learn the language. I used to volunteer at a day care just so I could play and talk with the children, and they were so cute! However I am not the most patient of people when it comes to kids.... I'm the kind who likes the kid when they are smiling and laughing and being cute, but they second the kid starts to cry or decides its more fun to throw things at me, get it away from me! (Don't judge me, you probably do it too.. unless its your kid, in which case you're just happy he's not throwing things at you for a change.)

I almost just want to answer "no preference" to it all and let fate decide.... but I'm probably not going to do that. Everything about the Peace Corps process is so defining. We are always being asked to define what are our strengths, preferences, expertise, etc. I'm only 23! I didn't know I had to define myself already. I kinda thought I was still a work in process and the PC was going to be part of that process.

Totally unrelated, I'm going to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros tonight! I am so stoked! The show is completely sold out and it's going to be awesome! Also makes me wonder, what kind of music shows I might see in the Philippines?