This is what I looked like today as I left my interview with the Peace Corps. (except this picture was not taken today. It was taken about 8 weeks ago after I left a different interview. And I was wearing a black shirt today. And my hair has changed colors since then. But still, it's mostly what I looked like today!)
Have I mentioned that there are 15,000 applicants to the Peace Corps annually, but there are only 4,000 spots? Well, as of today, I am one of the lucky 4,000!
Please join me in the Dance of Joy!
Thank you. I hope it was as good for you as it was for me.
Now, before you get too excited with me, here's the rest of the story.
No, I do not know where I will be going. And I won't know until May at the earliest!
I have officially been "nominated" into the Peace Corps. I now have to pass a medical review (which shouldn't be a problem, as I am an adult in reasonably good health). And an FBI background check (again, shouldn't be a problem). And there's some other little paperwork issues that may come up since I have 2 close family members that work in intelligence/security. Again, I just have to do paperwork and go through a review to prove that everything will be fine (in other words, I don't come from a family of spies).
And then I also have to do some placement testing to make sure I have the right skills for the areas I have been nominated in. What are those areas? I'm so glad you asked. Let me explain! Most people go into the PC right out of, or even during, college, and therefore don't go in with a lot of specialized skills. These volunteers end up teaching english or math in schools around the world. They make up 40% of the PC. The other 60% enter with specialized skill sets- knowledge of engineering, medical issues, farming, etc. In my case, I know business and computers. So I have been nominated for business development (which was also my first choice), computers/IT, and medical (health/sanitation).
What does this all mean? It means that I will get tested (in the form of more paperwork) to make sure that I have the necessary skills for the different countries (to prove what kind of computer skills I have). And then, when the time comes (in about March/April) country leaders can look at the list of available applicants and say, "Hey, we need someone who can set up and run an internet cafe here! We'll take her!" And then, around early May, I will get a letter "inviting" me to do that job.
Here are some other little things I can tell you-
First, all things are subject to change.
Depending on medical tests (and how long it takes to schedule appointments), May may be a pipe dream.
You can play along (daydream) with me and narrow down the list of possible countries by looking at the PC wiki calculator and the PC wiki timeline. Basically you select "worldwide," as a possible location, and then select my nomination areas (business development). It tells you which countries have that program and what likelihood there is of going there. You then compare it to the wiki timeline and figure out which countries will most likely have openings around or after June 1, 2011.
Which if we all did it the same should bring up Ukraine, but then you compare it to the timeline, and you will see they depart in March, and maybe Sept. So unlikely for me.
Oh now, one more thing to throw in. I won't be going to any country where corn is a major dietary staple. (I'm deathly allergic.) So as my dad puts it, "No Taco Land for you." We can rule out pretty much most of South America as a destination.
Then, there is one more fun step. There are little buttons next to the countries on the calculator. Click the countries that are ruled out (both for corn and departure dates), and they disappear from the list, adjusting the percent automatically. If I am doing it right it looks like this in the end-
Kenya is now at 27% and Togo is at 23%. And Mongolia is scaring the beejeezus out of me at 19%. (Mongolia is cold! I am very afraid of the cold. Bring on hot countries! I like the hot!)
And now just for fun- my other possible nomination areas-
(Tanzania, by the way, is high on my list of places I'd love to go- Mt Kilimanjaro!!)
And as you can see on this list, Uganda is a REALLY strong possibility!
So as you can see the wiki calculator and timeline are fun, but not really practical. If anything, they are just good for ruling a lot of places out. (For instance, it doesn't look like there is any chance of me going to the South Pacific, which is a bit of a bummer.)
So there you have it, I'm in, but I have no idea where to!
And in case you were wondering, YES, I can have visitors!