Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I'm very excited to report that just 10 days after sending in my stack of medical and dental paperwork, I got news today from the Peace Corps. Seems Dr. Rogers and his stellar staff did an excellent job on the paperwork because I've received dental clearance. Shockingly fast, since it typically takes over a month after the paperwork is received.

The next steps in the process are to have the medical review completed, as well as finalizing the legal review. Then, a placement officer will review my resume and make a final determination on where I'll be assigned. I'll be consulted on that and then a formal invitation will be sent, letting me know which country and my departure date.

Other exciting news this week is that I went to my friend's Ralph and Mary Lou's for dinner Monday night. We had pizza delivered. The big deal was that they had closed on their beautiful new home in Mt. Dora just hours earlier. A certain irony that just about the time they'll be moving to Florida, I'll be heading out to the PC.

My fingers (and toes) are crossed that things continue to move quickly. In the meantime, I'm working and enjoying the perfect Florida weather.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Good News, Bad News

I was doing a bit of research this evening on the Peace Corps Wiki. The good news is that there's a group leaving September 1st for Micronesia/Palau. That would match my nomination to be sent to the South Pacific in early September.

I would have been thrilled because everything I've read and heard about those islands describes them as simply amazing. Beautiful. Unspoiled. Close to Guam, so I could visit my friend Margaret's family.

The bad news? One of the requirements of accepting an assignment in Micronesia/Palau is that you live with a host family not just for the first few months (which is a requirement in every country) but for the entire 27 months.

I live alone. I work alone. I have some hermit-like tendencies. I think I can tough out the physical challenges of not having all the luxuries I'm used to. Okay, I have some doubts about that, but I plan to be like the Little Engine Who Could. Chugging along, telling myself "I think I can, I think I can....I know I can, I know I can!" Along with the occasional moments of "Not only I can't, but I don't wanna, either!" Ok, I can do it, but I don't guarantee I can do it without a little whining.

I figure I can cope with almost anything if, at the end of the day, I can hole up in a quiet (perhaps buggy), private (perhaps steamy), solitary (perhaps with no running water) retreat. A place where I can whine to myself or just read and recharge my batteries. For a few months, no problem. The initial home stay is a way to become part of the community and get to know a new "family". I'm looking forward to that. But 27 months? Not sure I can do it.

In any case, I may be worrying about nothing. According to my recruiter there's a 50/50 chance that my assignment will change. One thing I'm sure of is that it's going to be quite the experience. I can't wait.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Just a few more needles!

I'm very excited to report that after two visits to the dentist this week and a trip to the Department of Health, I'll be submitting my final paperwork. I can't say I'm looking forward to more needles, but it will be worth it, in the end.

Today involved six needles at the dentist, since the first batch didn't numb everything. Or, because Dr. Rogers has a mean streak. Perhaps I shouldn't joke about the guy that's going to be sticking more needles in my mouth. Hopefully, later in the week will be better.

Wednesday means a visit to the Health Department to get a MMR booster, better known as Measles, Mumps and Rubella. The PC requires two boosters, but the nurse at the Health Department said that because of my age, I only need one. I know I've had measles and mumps. Seems it was common in the '50s for kids to get them. So, when I submit my paperwork, I'll clarify whether or not I need two. I don't care about the needles as much as I do the $115 fee, per shot.

BTW, who knew that the Health Department seems to be the only place to get the MMR boosters. My doctor referred me there and so I called a pediatrician (thanks for the referral, Margaret!) thinking I just needed to talk to someone used to dealing with younger patients, but nope, just got another referral to the Health Department.

Luckily I'm working at home this week so can adjust my hours to accommodate the visits.

I'm hopeful that once I submit the final paperwork, I'll get the formal invitation, which gives me the date of departure and my destination country within 4-6 weeks.

I still have the occasional moments of "what the heck am I doing", but overall am absolutely committed. Or should be committed. In any case, I can't wait to get the show on the road.

Take care, everyone. I hope you're doing well in navigating your own river.