I have spent the last week feeling anxious and dramatically full of dispair. Last Monday, when I got the bad news about my program being closed, Colin even made me a cave out of blankets and couch cushions so that I could wallow properly. He's a good man (enabler). I did send an email to James, my PC recruiter, asking for some perspective. He was hoping to be invited to Latin America, but was invited to Mozambique. In my interview, I asked him whether he ever considered rejecting that invitation and he said, "Not for a second." I really want to know how to get myself in that mindset. So I sent an email and was pretty honest about my feelings, saying that I would have to think long and hard about an invitation to Mongolia, Bulgaria, or the like. Then I checked my email every 3-4 minutes for a response. Flash forward a week later, and still nothing. Yesterday, I sent him another email (I know, stalker!). The second email was significantly less dramatic and conveyed that given the time to think, I've been able to start adjusting my expecations. If I have a choice between scary PC destination and no PC destination, I'll take scary.
Just when I was beginning to think that James had obviously forwarded my manic emails to the placement office with the "REJECT FOR IMPATIENCE AND INFLEXIBILITY" stamp, my cell phone rang with a 212 (NYC) area code. James and I chatted about my frustration. He said that what I'm going through is pretty typical and that this waiting is purgatory. Which is perfect, really. He said that in 6 months I won't be able to remember quite how this feels, and I hope he's right. I have never been so anxious- not when Colin was in Iraq or Kate & Brent were in Afghanistan/Iraq, not when I have moved up and down the East Coast alone, not when we were buying a house, not when writing my thesis or preparing my final Master's curriculum, not when loved ones are sick or have died. Wow, even my anxiety is super self-involved! He talked about how expectations are so different from reality regardless of whether or not I end up where I want to. Interestingly, Mongolia was his ultimate nightmare PC placement too, so we talked a little about what will happen if I do get invited there. He basically wants me to chill and try not to think about it until I get an invitation (which could be anywhere, and probably not Mongolia). When I do get an invitation, I'm supposed to call him and then he can hook me up with current/past volunteers from that country so that I can make a well-informed decision. I feel better than I did last week, but I am just ready for this waiting to be over. I'm really glad James called me. He's been so helpful through this process.
Last Wednesday, I went into AIDS Care to talk with the Women's Prevention Program about their storytelling during their monthly meeting. I've been observing them when they present to different groups in the community. My supervisor, Lucia, asked me to give feedback, and figure out some ways to help streamline the storytelling to make sure that the messages intended by the program are the ones received by the audience. I was nervous about having to critique these women without sounding like I was criticizing their stories/lives. It went well, though, and I think we're getting somewhere with this. They've agreed that practicing telling their stories to one another and getting peer-feedback would be helpful, so hopefully we can set that up soon.
Last night, I did outreach in the van with Lucia and Karen (on the women's prevention team) and Dan (another volunteer, student at U of R, also wants to join the PC, lol). I guess we're trying to do more outreach later in the day or at night in order to be able to reach more of the sex workers in Rochester. The crowd at noon is a lot different than the crowd at midnight, obviously. We were out from 5 to 7 last night, which isn't late by any means, but it was dark, and so it was a change for sure. We found a pretty busy corner with a corner store with a lot of activity. We gave out condoms, mostly to men, because the women we tried to talk to were already pregnant, and what else would you want condoms for if not to prevent pregnancy? We tested one person, but it was raining and kind of typically nasty Rochester weather, so testing one was better than nothing!
At least the rest of the week will be full of activity. I won't have time to sit around in my pajamas and feel sorry for myself. Caitlin comes home from NY with her boyfriend, Mike, tomorrow, and Grandma Prosch (Colin's dad's mom) is driving up from Binghamton. I have to start making pies and food for Thursday. I got my snow tires put back on the Fit today, eww. Tomorrow I am going to try to give blood, and then I'm babysitting Evelyn, and then my mom and I are going to our last Weight Watchers meeting before the holiday. I have one more stupid pound to lose before I make my official WW goal weight and become a lifetime member after 6 weeks of maintaining that weight (I'm trying to do this before I leave for PC).