My timeline for the Peace Corps. From the planting of an idea, to watching it sprout, being killed by a drought, and after lots of refertilization and watering, the seeing it bear fruit.
Circa 2010 – First Account of Peace Corps
My tenth grade history teacher, Ms. Covington, spent a day in class showing us her slides, yes the same type my grandfather used, to show us her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia. The pictures were cool, but Peace Corps didn’t look like my kinda thing– silly Chandler.
3-24-16 – I Reach out to Ms. Covington
I began to put some serious thought to becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer. I figured who better to direct my questions to than someone who has been through the experience. Perhaps her efforts to get one of her students worked? Perhaps my desire to do something worthwhile pushed me this way? Nonetheless I am happy I decided to reach out to her because she quickly invited me to join her the following week for a happy hour with the North Florida Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. I agree.
4-7-16 – NFRPCV Happy Hour
I went for it. I met 14 RPCVs at Blacksheep’s rooftop bar to talk about the Peace Corps. I heard stories lots of stories about pooping, specifically who had the worst form of restroom; the ultimate barometer for the post’s hardship. I met many great storytellers and interesting conversationalist. After this meeting, I knew I would love to be in a group of people like this.
4-15-16 – I Apply
Repeat the part where, “I went for it.” I went out on a limb again. I submitted my application and statement of interest.
4-22-16 – Country Selection
With every Peace Corps application the volunteer is allowed to have some preference. You are allowed to rank three countries in order of desire to serve there. The catch is that if you do not put, “willing to serve anywhere” on your list you are only considered for the countries you chose. My order was as follows: 1) Ukraine- Community Youth Development. 2) Albania – TEFL. 3) Anywhere- Anything.
4-29-16 – Under Consideration
I remember getting this email while I was at work and thinking that this basically meant that I was now a Peace Corps volunteer. Looking back, I wish it was that east. I had been told that I was under consideration for Albania.
5-6-16 – Interview Request
Receive an email stating that I have been selected for an interview the following week.
5-12-16 – Interview
In a little over an hour I had to further prove that I am worthy of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer. I have had a good deal of interviewing experience but this interview was challenging. Once it was complete, I didn’t feel to good about the interview.
6-16-16 – Legal Kit Sent
I thought it was weird that I was sent a legal kit although I had yet to be invited. But, later, I found out that this was their new procedure.
8-2-16 – Receive Invitation
I remember this very vividly. I had just stepped off my 12 hour flight from China. I headed to my next terminal for my flight back to Jacksonville. I had about 2 hours to kill. Mindlessly playing on my phone I loaded my email. And what I can only imagine an emotion similar to a lady awaiting her lover’s letter from war, I was greeted with an email form the Peace Corps. I had been invited to Albania. I called my sister. I called my dad. I waited to tell my mom in person. Next step find a celebratory airport beer.
8-10-16 – Begin Legal and Medical Clearance
I believe I had 60 days to finish. For my legal clearance it was quite simple: finger prints and a few pages of paper work. For Medical, that one made me feel like Sisyphus rolling his rock up the hill. Page after page, doctor visit after dental visit after dermatologist visit. Once you update one task and you think you’re done, a new task shows up like the awkward plus one at a party.
10-12-16 – Legal Clearance Granted
My legal clearance went though pretty fast. Cool.
I had completed any new task that was added for me. Now I just wait for clearance to process. Think again.
12-20-16 – Medically Unable to Serve in Albania
What? But I had already post on social media that I was going! I received an email late one night, around 10pm, from a nurse assigned by the Peace Corps to examine my paperwork and deem if I was in good health to serve. I called her back that night at 11pm, after work. No answer, because SLEEP. I called again at 9am. She regrettably told me I could not serve in Albania due to medical conditions not being supported in country. She then began to walk me through my next steps, which include possibility for a second invite if competitive enough in another country.
2-9-17 – Second Invite
After being in the dark for sometime, with no communication between me and the Peace Corps I began to feel like I somehow fell through the cracks. I did send a few emails out expressing that I was still very much interested in serving. Luckily, I received a phone call from my placement officer offering me a position to serve in Kosovo. SWEET. A country very similar to my initial country of service, in the same part of the world, and it only left a few months later than Albania had. SCORE!
2-9-17 – Medical Clearance Granted
I messaged my nurse and she granted my medical clearance. I was good to go, but, given the unexpected nature of the process I wait to tell just about everyone.
4-20-17 – Staging Email
Good to go! I receive details about my flight and staging.