Monthly Archives: September 2012


Good thing I didn’t spend time making up some clever Tunisia-related title for this blog, because that is no longer where I am going. That’s the bad news.

Friday, Sept. 21, I received a call from the Peace Corps. The main news of that call was that, in light of the current protests/instability in Tunisia, a decision had been made by Peace Corps to postpone the Tunisia group departure for June 2013 instead of the end of October as originally planned.

Related to this bad news is that Friday also happened to be my last day of work at The Mining Journal. Dang. I was also told I would definitely have a spot in the Tunisia group if I chose to wait it out until June.

But that’s also where the good news started to kick in. I was advised to contact a placement specialist to find out what some other departure options would be. I left a message for “the placement guy” and didn’t expect to hear back from him until the next week, as an entire group of Tunisia invitees were likely going to be calling him. Surprise, surprise, he called back within an hour (which resulted in a quick round of phone tag as I had walked away from my phone and was sprinting toward it just as the last ring sounded) and told me that my best option would be with the Morocco program, leaving mid-January.

My official invitation email came Tuesday, Sept. 25, which I immediately accepted. So it looks like now I’ll be leaving Jan. 14, 2013. My assignment will be working in a youth center, doing a combination of English teaching and youth development.

I am disappointed to not be going to Tunisia. Truly it was a country I wanted to serve in and I was excited to be helping start a new program.

However, waiting until June was not an option, given I had no guarantee of finding another full-time job until then and, as much as I love my parents, didn’t want to intrude upon their generous hospitality until then. And even if I had decided to wait, what if things were still not stable enough to send a group in June? Would we wait again?

Going to Morocco is a good alternative. I’ll still get the chance to learn Arabic, which instantly became one of my goals as soon as I got the Tunisia invitation. I’ll still be working with kids, and at a youth center, which might fit me better than just classroom work. Morocco is a stable program with lots of current volunteers to meet and network with.

Some additional perks: I have an additional couple months to start learning Arabic/acquire all the clothing and stuff (for lack of a better word) I’ll need for my service. I get to spend my favorite time of year (Halloween through New Years) with my family. Also, filed under the “least important detail but one I am nevertheless tremendously excited about” category – I will be in the United States when “The Hobbit” comes out in theaters.

So now I have a packing list and a long list of stuff to accomplish before I leave. Not to mention having to come up with a title for this blog. Any ideas? “Moroccan’ and Rollin’” has already been taken, I believe.

Categories: Invitation | Tags: | 1 Comment

Uncertainty again

So much of the Peace Corps application process is a lesson in patience, in waiting. You wait to hear if your application has been received. You wait to hear the results of your interview. You wait for your medical packet and then in a long string of doctors’ offices for your medical paperwork. I thought the hardest part would be waiting to hear that an invitation was in the mail and then waiting what seemed like a lifetime for the big blue folder to end up outside my door.

And I thought the waiting lesson might have been over for the time being.

But then what seems like half the world erupted in protests after attention was focused on what is said to be a poorly-made, ignorant film depicting the Prophet Mohammed with a whole list of very negative characteristics.

Including Tunisia.

At first I tried to tell myself that the worst of the protesting wasn’t in what I have come to think of as “my country,” that everything would be fine. And then I saw that the State Department had issued a travel advisory for Americans, warning them to not go to Tunisia or to get out if they were there. Then I started to worry.

A woman at the Washington, D.C. Office was kind enough to answer my email begging for some news as to whether we would be going or not. She says they’re in the process of making a decision and will let us know in a couple of days. What they’ll be letting us know is what I’m not sure of. Will we be leaving on time? Will our departure be delayed until things calm down? Will we be going at all? If our group isn’t able to leave, will we be assigned to different countries?

I’m not afraid to go. I’m afraid I won’t get the chance to go.

It doesn’t help that this is my last week of work, as I had planned on giving myself roughly a month to prepare for my original departure. Having health insurance and a steady income is an easy enough thing to stew over when you’re faced with the possibility of your plans being disrupted.

But I think yesterday was a turning point. I went for a run. And when I came back, miraculously not soaked as a brief moment of sunshine in what has been a week of very cold rain appeared for the duration of my run and not much longer than that (a sign? Maybe), I decided that whatever happens happens. I will deal with it and I will make the best out of whatever that situation is. Because that’s the only thing there is to do, the only option.

Categories: Invitation, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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