When I was nominated to serve the Peace Corps back in May, I was nominated to a non-Spanish speaking country located in South America, Central America, or the Caribbean with an August-September departure date. The Peace Corps remains mum on the actual country but will give you some idea of the region they are considering for you. I’m not sure why this is policy, unless they simply don’t want you to get your hopes up for one specific country in case you miss your nomination (which I did). Thanks, however, to the Freedom of Information Act and a little website called Peace Corps Wiki, people who have been invited to certain countries “report” their departure dates, making it relatively easy to do some sleuth work and figure out where the Peace Corps is most likely sending you. Of course, I didn’t come across this fantastic little website until rather late in the game, but I had managed to figure out that I was nominated to one of eight countries (there just aren’t many “non-Spanish speaking countries” in South America, Central America, or the Caribbean). Then, when I found the wiki site, I realized that I had been nominated to the Eastern Caribbean. Thus began my excitement.
Then came the wait. The endless, annoying wait. And in that time, I realized that, while I do have an unbelievable amount of patience, two months can be a ridiculously long time when someone has your future on their desk and doesn’t look at it on your time-frame. Those few weeks, I probably drove my friends crazy splitting my time between dreaming about sunshine and sandy beaches and simultaneously, despairing over the prospect of not doing the Peace Corps at all.
The process itself is long and grueling, and though the nomination, I was told, is the toughest hurdle to leap, the Peace Corps takes its Medical, Dental, and Legal evaluations very seriously. I even had to return to the doctor to show that my sinus infection from late April had cleared up before Medical would qualify me. After your nomination, you fill out all that lovely paperwork, and then you wait and hope for an invitation that will come before your six-week deadline (i.e. because of the length of time it takes to complete paperwork, the Peace Corps will not invite you to a program departing fewer than six-weeks away). So, I knew in late July when I still had not heard anything that the Eastern Caribbean was out of the question, and I immediately began to contemplate the prospects of being sent to the Ukraine or Azerbaijan, two places I had no desire to be sent.
Then, finally, the phone call I had been waiting for came. I knew as soon as I saw the 202 area code out of Washington, D.C. who it was, and I answered eagerly and hesitantly. All of my stuff was packed, and I was prepared to leave Nashville. It’s funny, in hindsight, that the day that chapter came to a close – my life in Nashville, the Peace Corps literally opened a new chapter. I was standing in Greta Frensley’s home (my partner in crime whose seventh grade class will be part of the Peace Corps Correspondence Match with me), chatting it up and getting ready to say goodbye when the call came, so I walked into Katie’s room, and five minutes later, I walked out still on the phone and giving Greta the thumbs up. Like the nomination, the Peace Corps did not tell me where they were sending me, only the region (North Africa and the Middle East), but I knew immediately it was Morocco.
Since then, everything has been a firestorm of prep work from getting a U.S. Government Passport to retooling my resume for Morocco. Here are some links to a few websites that I have found particularly interesting and helpful or exciting as I’m continuing to prepare for this big move come September 13: