30 June 2009


Nailed it.

Again: yes. My interview went well. Not nearly as intense as I was expecting and preparing for. I was there for probably about an hour and a half, but, really, the interview part only lasted about 40 minutes. I gave sweet answers to questions about my leadership skills and successes and working in an unstructured environment and my motivations. And that was that. Then we just pretty much chatted -- his time in the Peace Corps, training, nominations to invitations, et cetera, et cetera.

But. The important part. He said I am solidly qualified to serve as a health program volunteer. Huzzah! Good news! Then came the not-so-good news -- there aren't any positions open right now. But then some better news -- they'll be getting a new "batch" of positions later in July.

So, assuming he finds one of the spots later in July that I'm a good fit for and nominates me for that, then it would most likely be to leave next summer, July, August, around there. He said I should hear from him in about three weeks, which would be the week of the 21st. Not too, too long of a wait. And pretty much what I expected and much better than I was worried about, that being no open positions until late 2010, early 2011. But summer 2010? Again: yes (and a possibility of something opening up sooner is also awesome).

I asked what were the odds of, if I get nominated, actually solidifying that formal invitation. He said that as long as I was medically cleared and the program didn't get canceled or anything, then it's not quite a sure thing, but pretty close. He said he's nominated people before who've then gotten turned down once their application got to DC, but he's always set those people up, told them that he'd go ahead and nominate them despite less-than-stellar qualifications. I'm not one of those people. Again: yes.

So I am happy. I am trying not to be too happy. It's still such a long process, there's still the dreaded medical clearance, there hasn't even been a nomination yet. But I did my part. And now it's basically out of my hands, for better or worse (I can't decide which but would lean towards worse because, well, if it was in my hands, I'd give myself a spot today).

So, (again:) yes. I am happy.

And now comes that most fun of all aspects of applying to the Peace Corps: waiting.

Block Quote!

Final preparations for my interview in exactly 60 minutes!

This quote is from An Imperfect Offering by Dr. James Orbinski, who is a former international president of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres -- MSF). It's a horrifying and amazing book and I think it should be required reading for everyone in America.
But this quote is from when he asked a colleague of his what his reasons were for joining MSF.
"We suture, we record the events, we tell the world. We struggle daily with private thoughts of of whether or not we make a difference. The ultimate solution may be political, anonymous and nebulous, in some remote teak conference room. But I have seen the blood, the people cry in pain and the people laugh with hope. And I know we need to be there."
It inspires me every time I read it. It reminds me why I'm going to this interview today.

25 June 2009

Block Quote!

Really quickly:

If you ("you" being my non-existent readership) have never read Kerouac's The Dharma Bums then, well, you are missing out. On some great writing about travel, life, and the great PNW.

And here is an example of just what you are missing.

...See the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming... all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures...

That's a little more out-there than I am (I don't hate consuming, and life would be dull without some kind of work). But I like the idea that maybe I am, or was, at least for a few months, a part of that rucksack revolution. I love to / want to wander and see things and meet people.

But now I want something more purposeful than just the wandering and the seeing, something that will give people visions of eternal freedom. (I think I'll skip the part about becoming a Zen Lunatic, though.)

Oh. Well look at this.

I'm blogging? Huh.

Well, ok. I think everyone I know is already sick of hearing me stress out about my Peace Corps application process (which, really, has barely even begun). So I figure that this is a better way to get the anxiety out. I've never really blogged before, so who knows how long I'll keep it up, but I figure that if I end up getting into the Peace Corps, I'll start blogging anyway, so I might as well include the application process too..

Let me just start by saying this much though: a year-to-year-and-a-half long application process is really going to test my patience. But the end will be worth it. Totally.

My interview is on Tuesday (the 30th).
And here we go..