My apologies to anyone who has been checking this regularly for an update, only to discover that I have not even thought about blogging for over a month.  Life has been hectic and access to the internet has been sporadic.  And who am I lying to, I basically just didn’t feel like it for the first two months I was here.  But now I am at my permanent site in Sihanoukville also known as Kampong Som and I have a feeling that I will have a lot of free time and boredom, so expect more frequent updates on my life.

Where to start?  Training is finally over, which is a huge relief.  It was more stressful for me than the last year of graduate school.  Every day I would wake up around 6:00 or 6:30 and go to the market for breakfast with my friends.  My breakfast of choice was bai sike trook and cafe dteuk da go da ga (or something like that, I still can’t say it right) or grilled pork with rice and an iced coffee with condensed milk.  After that I would go to language, cultural, or technical class.  Language class was 4 hours a day, 6 days a week and nearly made me lose my mind, but I am grateful for it, nonetheless.   Cultural training was exactly as it sounds.  We were taught about all aspects of Khmer culture: religion, clothing, holidays, ceremonies, etc.  Technical training was to train us English teacher volunteers how to teach and the Health volunteers how to work in a health clinic.  Somewhere in there I would go to my house for lunch with my host family, then go back to class.  Once I was done with class for the day, usually myself and the other trainees would meet up for a few Angkors (the beer of choice in Cambodia) and then I would rush home before dark, which mind you, is at 6:30PM.  I would eat dinner at my house at 7:00PM.  Afterwards, I would usually read a book and be in bed by 9:30PM.  Quite different from my life in the States!

Next update:  Swear-in and my move to Sihanoukville!

Cambodia!!!!!

Just waiting for my invite!!!!! Kinda freaking out!

It has been almost one month since Peace Corps received my medical packet and there still is no word.  I can’t lie, it is started to drive me crazy.  Last week I saw many of my relatives and everyone asked me the same series of questions: “Do you know where you’re going?  Do you know when you’re going?”  Which was usually followed by: “I don’t think I could stand not knowing!”  The more times that I had this same conversation, the more anxious I became about finding out my placement.  I tried to call the medical office and ended up leaving a voicemail message for the nurse just expressing that I would like an update on the status of my application.  I happened to miss her call, but in the message she explained that there were many people ahead of me and that they probably wouldn’t get to my application until next week.  But, at least I know they are planning on looking at it.

I finished up my Master’s in Social Work a few weeks ago and graduated last Friday, so now I have nothing to do.  No papers to write.  No projects to work on.  No classes to go to.  Since I have nothing to do, this Peace Corps application is really starting to test my patience.  Before this point, I was always busy so I hardly had any time to think about it.  But now it is all I can think about.  I just hope that next week I get my medical clearance.  Have your finger crossed for me.

Hello all,
I have decided to start this blog to discuss my Peace Corps adventure.  So far, I have submitted application, had my interview, been nominated, and just last week I mailed my completed medical packet. So, now the real waiting begins…

(I will be updating this throughout the application process)

Here is my up to date timeline. It’s pretty long, so I put the most important information in bold:

January—March 2008 Start thinking about applying for the Peace Corps.

April 2008 Get accepted to graduate school, put Peace Corps on hold.

September 2008 Decide when I graduate, that I’d still like to join the Peace Corps.

June—September 2009 Continue working on application, spend a lot of time editing my essays

September 22, 2009 Submitted my application

September 23, 2009 All of my references have already submitted their letters of recommendation

October 2, 2009 Received packet in mail with fingerprint forms and background check. Also received Toolkit password.

October 6, 2009 Received email from recruiter about other forms to fill out and email back

October 14, 2009 Set up interview with recruiter for October 29; Also, went to get my fingerprints done, police officer messed it up, had to call and ask for new forms.

October 16, 2009 Mailed out background check; Received new fingerprint forms.

October 19, 2009 Emailed forms to recruiter; Got fingerprints redone and mailed them.

October 29, 2009 Interview with recruiter; Was told I had to get volunteer experience with HIV/AIDS if I wanted to go to Africa. I filled out a volunteer application for AIDS Partnership of Michigan.

November 3, 2009 Received Romantic Involvement and Vegetarian form, filled them out, and emailed them back. Set up interview for Friday with AIDS Partnership of Michigan.

November 6, 2009 Had interview with AIDS Partnership of Michigan. Will begin training in one week. Emailed my recruiter to update her.

November 9, 2009 Received email from recruiter stating that I should email her three months from now about my volunteer experience and then we can move forward.

November 24, 2009 Recruiter called me to see how many years of French I had taken. She found a placement for me which required a higher level of proficiency in the language. Told her I would look into taking a French class. Did a lot of research over the next couple of days and found a class that I wanted to take.

December 22, 2009 Recruiter called me and told me that she was nominating me for a placement in Asia leaving in July or August. I no longer have a reason to take a French class.

December 31, 2009 Received medical packet.

January 2010 Had ob/gyn fill out pap smear section of the medical forms.

February 15, 2010 Got eye exam done.

February 26, 2010 Had physical completed, need to go back to have TB test read, and overseeing doctor sign the paperwork. Cost over $400.

March 1, 2010 Went back to had my TB test read. It was positive. Immediately went to hospital for x-rays.

March 2, 2010 Went to public health clinic to have my x-rays read. I definitely have latent TB. Was put on rifampin for four months.

March 4, 2010 Got my dental exam completed, but the dentist will not be able to complete filling out the forms for two weeks.

March 16, 2010 Had doctor fill out more forms regarding TB test result. Picked up forms from dentist. Now just waiting on forms to be signed by the physician overseeing the nurse practitioner who completed my physical.

April 7, 2010 Finally got my paperwork back and mailed my medical forms!!!!!

April 12, 2010 According to usps.com my packet was received in Washington D.C.

April 14, 2010 Mytoolkit is updated.  Peace Corps has officially received my medical packet.

April 15, 2010 I am dentally cleared.

May 26, 2010 I received a phone call from the placement office this morning just asking me a few follow-up questions about my motivation to join the Peace Corps and my relationship.  I was told that I would be put at the top of the list for medical clearance.  About an hour later I heard from my Peace Corps nurse that everything looked good with my file, but they were missing one blood test.  She said that once I get it in to her I will be medically cleared.  Shortly after, I went to the campus clinic and had my blood drawn and they said the results should be in by Friday.

May 27, 2010 The results from my blood test came in and the clinic faxed them to the Peace Corps.

May 28, 2010 I spoke with my pre-screening nurse today andddd…..I have medical clearance!!!!!

May 29, 2010 According to my toolkit my invitation is in the mail!

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