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.