Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Adjusting Expectations

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!


  1. Hey, i found your blog on pcj. anyway, i'm going to senegal and i know that half my group is doing health programs. so maybe you'll be going there?

  2. This post makes me extremely proud to have you as my big sister. I am glad you are trying to adjust your expectations because this whole thing is very much out of your control. I think no matter where you go, you are going to have an amazing experience and you are definitely going to "make a difference" in your own way.

    I disagree that your last 28 years have only been about've had a very positive affect on a lot of people's lives whether you know it or not. That thought says a lot about you though- you have self-evaluated and decided that your contribution to the world hasn't been significant enough over the last 28 years. Not many people have the ability to even come to that conclusion, let alone decide to dedicate two years of their life living in a very foreign place making just enough money to live on and helping complete strangers have a better future. I'm not sure I could do what you are about to go do.

    I miss you, I love you, and I'm very proud of you.

  3. Kate, you're the sweetest. I love you! Also, I feel like PC is nothing compared to what you're doing in the Air Force. You were deployed for 9 months! You lived without Brent for a year! You moved to Korea! People have shot at you! Now that's ballsy. I know I couldn't deal with that- I was bad enough at it as an Army wife. I miss you and love you and I am proud of YOU. xoxo

    Emily, nice to meet you! When did you get your invitation? Very exciting! What program are you in? Best of luck to you!

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  5. I, too, have been in a constant state of trying to adjust my expectations and be open, willing, and flexible in case my nomination changes. Not going to lie, I'm finding it incredibly difficult to pull myself back from the idea of going to Africa. And my RAS is in full-blown freak out mode since hearing from Placement on Monday. I'm in the same boat, totally understand. Maybe there is some comfort in that? Good luck! I'll keep an eye out for how things end up for you!

  6. Hi Tija! Nice to meet you. I've been reading your blog as well. It is nice to know that I'm not the only person feeling this way, specifically about Africa. Good luck to you! I'll keep my fingers crossed for both of us.