My invite came on Monday the 20th. It was all very exciting. I had been expecting a knock on the door at any time because I thought I would have to sign for the invite. By 6:00, I was giving up and thinking that it would have to wait until the next day. Colin got home from work around 6:30 and we decided to run out to the video store after we ate dinner. When he opened the door, there the package was, sitting on the stoop! Colin asked if I wanted him to open it and read it to me, but by the time he had finished asking the question, I was tearing the box out of his hand and trying to get it open with my teeth/claws/car keys. I read the first line and got to the word "Botswana" and screamed. I was so excited. Colin even jumped up and down with me to humor me. He feigns excitement so well. Then we ran to the video store and I called a bunch of people to tell them the good news. It was received well by most, but my mother and mother-in-law struggled to be excited. Lots of "I'm happy that you got what you wanted" and "I'm happy for you, sad for me" type stuff. My program is HIV/AIDS Community Capacity Building and my job title is Community Capacity Builder. Staging dates: April 1st to 3rd (in Philadelphia, to my knowledge). Pre-service training in Botswana: April 1st through June 6th, 2011. Dates of Service: June 6th, 2011 through June 6th, 2013.
I read through all of the materials sent and absorbed just about none of it. I sent my official acceptance email on Wednesday and then started filling out the passport forms, etc. I also downloaded the Setswana lessons and started freaking out because the language involves clicks and a sound that is described as "the sound that you make when you hawk a lougie". I almost peed when I saw that, because a. I've never seen the phrase written before and b. It actually is that sound. At least now I know how to spell "lougie."
I also read the "A Few Minor Adjustments" booklet that came in the invitation package. It is a little bit scary. To summarize, "You'll probably hate your life but just be patient and flexible and you'll probably survive." It's a well-known fact that I'm really great at patience and flexibility. And sarcasm.
The last week has been pretty crazy. One of our other cats, Molly, was in the hospital Monday through Thursday. He's home now, but we had to do the whole ultrasound thing again and we have some lovely vet bills to pay. It's Christmas, so we were also running around like crazy trying to finish shopping/wrapping and we have had visitors, too. I still have not mailed our Christmas, I mean New Year's cards. Needless to say, I haven't started re-working my resume to PC standards or writing my aspiration statement thinger.
I have started making lists. Actually, I've been making Peace Corps lists for 2 years now, but these are getting more serious. I have lists of lists. My packing list is about a million items long. I have a list of items in our house that Colin will probably not be able to locate without a map. I have started a calendar for him of things he needs to do while I'm gone, such as replace furnace filters, renew our cars' registrations, and pay the water bill. I'm planning to make a sort of Instruction Manual for living without me. This may sound like I don't think very highly of Colin's level of independence, but really it's just that I like to think that he needs me more than he actually does. One thing that has bothered me about this process is that whenever I tell people that I am joining the Peace Corps and then they ask about whether or not my husband is coming with me, I always get this sort of shaming look and the question, "What's he going to do without you?" as if he isn't capable of feeding himself or something. They always manage to convey some feelings of doubt about our relationship, our fidelity, or our commitment to our marriage. I guess it's (sort of) understandable that people would be concerned and a little judgey, but when Colin was deploying both times, no one ever asked, "What's your wife going to do while you're gone?". It was always assumed that it was sort of my duty to sit back and wait for him and that maybe I would have trouble using power tools by myself or opening jars, but that I'd probably be ok. Apparently for a wife to leave her husband on purpose, there must be something wrong with me or with us. Then there's the whole "He didn't choose to deploy" argument that sometimes gets brought up, but it's not as if anyone forced him to join the Army and forced us to get married despite the fact that he might get deployed. We both went into those decisions knowing the possibilities. The same goes for this Peace Corps thing. It wasn't entered into lightly, and though we have no fantasies about it being easy or fun to be apart for so long, it's something we're accustomed to, and it's something that he understands I need to do. *Removes self from soap-box*
This blog needs some work. I need to Botswana-ize it and stuff. I'm also looking for other invitees to Botswana. If you're out there, let me know!
Merry belated Christmas, PC blog world! This is the best Christmas I've ever had. I got everything I wanted: three healthy/recovering kitties, a Peace Corps invitation, a dance party on Christmas morning, a Christmas afternoon nap, and a day full of people I love. All of the gifts were extra bonuses.