As I sit here, in the laundry room of a rather pleasant truck stop in Arizona (pleasant not only in the visual-sanitary sense, but also due to free WIFI and air conditioning that allows me to escape the 100 degree weather outside), I can’t help but be reminded that I have 15 days left in the United States. While I am excited to be heading out on an extraordinary journey, I am also very nervous. I mean, not only am I leaving everyone I know and love behind, but I am about to enter a completely new stage of life.
———— on another note, I feel it would be useful to describe the various reactions had by people when either me or my mother mention my leaving for the Peace Corps (some Mongolia specific) and my notes to go with them (in no particular chronological order):
1) “Why doesn’t she just join the military?”– yes, while I respect the men and women in the military, no, I will not join up…. It is not that I am against the military, it just ain’t for me… I believe that the Peace Corps and the military both serve and equally important service (just different but both needed).
2) When my mom said that I was nervous to go, “She will probably quit/ won’t go”…. great faith in that sentiment… and escalated to the extreme quickly (really, I’ll just quit cause I am nervous).
3) Aren’t you afraid you will get killed or raped? … um no, that could easily happen here. This comment was even funnier when Genghis Khan was factored in, to go something like the top with the added… wasn’t Genghis Khan there at one point… to this I say that, I doubt Genghis will kill or rape me… he went to therapy.
Those are the three most memorable ones… I will definitely add more when the time comes.
Also, along the lines of reaction to me joining the Peace Corps, I have to thank my family for being supportive. For those of you contemplate joining or starting the hair-pulling process of applying, here are some tips for preparing family:
1) Keep them informed in every step of the application process. Not only will they be a great outlet for you to vent and a great resource for support and encouragement, but will also let them know that you are really going to join the Peace Corps, and it is not just a post-teenage whim of an idea.
2) Get them excited about the possible places you could go and things you could be doing while dispelling the widely believed idea that Peace Corps only builds houses in the jungle (I had many people think that this is what the Peace Corps does). Do research and show them pictures of volunteers and countries. (this was especially exciting for my gramma)
3) Give them friends and family related safety information as well as the stuff potential volunteers get.
4) When you do get accepted, get them excited about what you will be doing and where you will be going. Make them feel like the country you are going to is the safest place on earth. It will help.
—Those are the things I did. Even my dad, who was very hesitant, felt much better.
I hope that this blog entry was helpful…. I’ll be sure to update you all as the day for departure gets closer.