In January of 2016, I began the arduous process of applying for the Peace Corps. It is something that I had always wanted to do– hell, I even studied international development in undergrad– but was also something that I was never really sure I could get in to. The process is made intentionally difficult and very thorough– even though I was an okay student in undergrad, I knew I was up against people with way more experience and education.
So imagine my surprise when in late August, I received an invitation to serve as an English educator in Thailand. After months of interviewing and sending in documents and waiting waiting waiting, I was honestly shocked. All of the interim time, from the initial application to the invitation to serve, had been spent getting discouraged and scrambling to find a plan b, c, and so on. It is all such a big game of hurry up and wait, and wait some more, and wait a bit more. Then hurry up and fill out a bunch of paperwork. And the communication coming from DC has been less than ideal– frequently I would get emails that needed a lot of clarification, things sent in the mail that had literally no directions attached.
It is now October and I have finally finished up the medical clearance aspect of this process (something I will likely post about soon to hopefully illuminate some of the process for others). It has been a blurry scramble of doctor’s visits, blood work and bureaucracy– all wrapped up in the chaotic nature of living in the mountains and having to drive 1.5 hours to the nearest city. I haven’t had a weekend off to myself until very recently so in a word, I am ecstatic to be done with this portion of the process. If I am honest about my life up until this opportunity, I’m not sure I have ever worked this hard, this consistently, for this long. I understand completely why this vetting process is the way that it is– by committing to spending 2 years of my life in another country, the Peace Corps has every right to test just how serious I am about this before I ever actually get on a plane. I owe it to myself, to the PC, and to the community in Thailand to make damn sure that I can handle this before taking on something much greater.
I leave January 5th to begin the 3 month period of Peace Corps Training (PCT). Wish me luck!