I thought that Jill, my Placement Assistant hated me, or at least found me to be incredibly annoying and impatient. Well, she probably still thinks I am impatient (and I am), but at least we had this exchange today after I emailed Health Placement with my updated resume:
Me: Thanks so much, Jill. Again, I appreciate all of your help! Do you mind if I ask you about your PC service? Where did you serve and when?
Jill: No problem, I am here to help! I served in Paraguay from 2007-2009 as a Youth Development volunteer. I had wanted to go to Africa originally (because I had studied abroad there) but was super flexible and went with the flow and I loved it. As you have probably heard, Peace Corps service can vary a lot, but in the end it is what everyone makes of it. It hard to just talk about it in general, but if you have specific questions, I would be happy to answer them for you. You should also check out volunteer's blogs on the internet, there is a lot of great information on them, and it gives you a view of the varied experiences that Peace Corps volunteers have.
This makes me feel better. Again, I know she's telling me to be patient and flexible (I wish I could just flip a switch to make it so!), but I love hearing about other volunteers' experiences. This is especially helpful because she talked about what she wanted vs. what she got (similar to James' experience).
I am adjusting my expectations. I can honestly say that I am open to the idea of serving anywhere (yes, even Mongolia). It's not easy to change my train of thought from Africa to somewhere unknown. And I'm pretty sure that I may feel some level of disappointment to an invitation to somewhere that isn't Africa, but at this point, I'll be thrilled just to get an invitation to an amazing opportunity. As I've been obsessing over Africa for a couple of years, it's like I have to re-train my brain. I don't feel entitled or short-changed, but I was just finding it hard to believe that an HIV/AIDS position in Africa would be difficult to find for me. I'm figuring out how this PC thing works though, and it's not like they're just filling up slots to fill up slots. They needed people when they needed them, and my file wasn't ready- I'm sure hundreds of others were that were well-qualified for those positions and thus the slots went to them, end of story. Hopefully, when my file is ready, a slot will come up that my placement specialist thinks is perfect for me and I'll get an invitation to fill it. I am joining the Peace Corps because I want to make a difference in the world, however small. I want to be a better person. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself. And, it doesn't matter where- I can be an asset to the PC wherever they need me. That's what it comes down to. It's not about me- it's about where I'm needed. After the last 28 years of always getting what I want and everything being about me, it's time that my life is about something else... which is the whole point of me joining the Peace Corps.
In other news, I've finally shared this blog with the PC Wiki page and with Facebook. I am not under any delusions that I'm writing anything other than self-centered blather that isn't remotely interesting, but it's been pretty therapeutic and I think Colin appreciates me dumping on the Internet rather than on him. But he's still probably fired as my blog manager.
Also, in a recent post, I mentioned that my sister was in Kazakhstan once. She called me a few minutes ago from Korea to tell me that she was not in Kazakhstan, but Kyrgystan. We discussed the differences between the two places (all we could come up with was the spelling of their names) and decided that I probably wouldn't know the difference between the two even if I had been to both countries. I should probably learn more about them. So, sorry Kazakhstan and Kyrgystan!