Last week, I finally completed my updated resume and Aspiration Statement. Both seemed far too long, but whatevs. I feel like I can't possibly convey my goals when I don't really know what will be asked of me. Basically, I'm going to try really hard not to suck. I hope that what I wrote doesn't sound like B.S., because it was written from the heart, but I can't imagine that I've said anything that hasn't been said by almost every other Peace Corps nominee. "I want to change the world", "I want to be a better person", "I want to make a difference," blah, blah, blah. Trite, but that's the gyst and I can't help if it's true.
I also started shopping for stuff I might need. For those of you who know me, you might understand that I have a slight shoe addiction. When Colin was deployed to Iraq the second time, I bought almost 30 pairs of shoes while he was gone. I really love impractical shoes. The strappier/higher/stilleto-eyer/ridiculously-colored, the better. Shopping for Peace Corps shoes is difficult for several reasons:
1. I am easily distracted by non-Peace Corps shoes.
2. I am trying to avoid Safari shoes or Tourist shoes
3. I am supposed to dress professionally (which to me would normally mean something like this)
4. ... but I also need to be able to walk for A LONG TIME in hot weather, which sometimes makes me look like this:
not my favorite in terms of appearance, most of the time.
6. In an ideal packing world, I would bring 1 pair of each of the following: boots, sneakers, sandals, casual flats, dress flats, heels, flip flops. I have 80 lbs. This is not happening. I am impractically trying to find one pair of shoes that fits all of these categories.
I ended up buying two pairs (one pictured below) that I may or may not keep.
I've also been looking for a sleeping bag, a new jacket for rain that I can also add another layer underneath when it's cold, a big rolling duffel bag that doesn't weigh 10 lbs. or more (wtf???) and doesn't cost a million dollars, along with countless other things (very few of which are included here).
I'm also looking for new reading. I have read a few Peace Corps books:
1. Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village, by Sarah Erdman: Awesome
2. Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Malawi by Kris Holloway: Awesome
3. Mango Elephants in the Sun by Susana Herrera
4. Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle by Moritz Thomsen
5. Dear Exile: The True Story of Two Friends Separated (for a year) by an Ocean by Hilary Liftin and Kate Montgomery: Hilarious
6. From the Center of the Earth: Stories out of the Peace Corps by Geraldine Kennedy
7. The Insider's Guide to the Peace Corps: What to Know before you Go by Dillon Banerjee: Very helpful!
8. First comes Love, then comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won my Heart and a Third World Adventure Changed my Life by Eve Brown-Waite
9. All You Need is Love: The Peace Corps and the Spirit of the 1960s by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
10. A Life Inspired: Tales of Peace Corps Service by Various Peace Corps Volunteers
11. The Ponds of Kalambayi by Mike Tidwell
Books that aren't about Peace Corps but are awesome and relevant anyway:
1. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
2. 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen
Books I want to read:
1. The Village of Waiting by George Packer
2. Cry of the Kalahari by Mark James Owens and Cordelia Dykes Owens
3. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith
4. The Lonely Planet Botswana and Namibia by Matthew D. Firestone and Adam Karlin
What I am reading right now (Peace Corps-wise):
HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa: Understanding the Implications of Culture and Context by the United Nations
Those are all that I can think of right now. I'll add more if I come up with any. If you have any recommendations or thoughts, please send them my way!
Anyway, that's all for now! I'm going to go back to online shopping, blog stalking, and applying for Peace Corps discounts from various retailers. Oh- and- we started a Facebook group for this April 1st Botswana departure group. If you're out there, find us!