Wednesday, June 14, 2006

WTF? and other fabulous thoughts...

So it seems that about each hour of the day that I'm awake I completely zone out and think what-in-the-hell am I doing and going to leave the country and work in Eastern Europe with the Peace Corps. Have I gone bonkers?!

Especially when there are beautiful days like today and the whole of last week and the week before when it's absolutely beautiful here in Southern Cali. The sun is shining, it's nice and warm the ocean's glistening - I get all misty eyed and think I can't possibly leave this place. I keep worrying people will forget me. My cat will hate me for giving him to friends, then he'll forget me. My family - well that's family they won't get rid of me! But seriously I feel like I'm in a dream. Everything has new meaning - well not really new meaning I guess I appreciate things much more. Like little things, having good coffee and breakfast with friends, running on the beach or just sitting and chilling out in the sun reading a book. It all has this heavy element to it. A feeling like it's so treasured.

Do all PC peeps feel something like this before head off into the sunset and the country they have been invited to? I wonder. One thing I am learning from this - after all of the Buddha books I've read and zen folk always telling you to live in the here and now and enjoy the moment you are in? Well it's totally true. That is the only thing that calms my mind when it goes over to the WTF? side of thoughts!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

This was a fun little thing someone sent me...

Take the survey yourself and find out what kind of soul you are... I am:

You Are a Dreaming Soul

Your vivid emotions and imagination takes you away from this world
So much so that you tend to live in your head most of the time
You have great dreams and ambitions that could be the envy of all...
But for you, following through with your dreams is a bit difficult

You are charming, endearing, and people tend to love you.
Forgiving and tolerant, you see the world through rose colored glasses.
Underneath it all, you have a ton of passion that you hide from others.
Always hopeful, you tend to expect positive outcomes in your life.

Souls you are most compatible with: Newborn Soul, Prophet Soul, and Traveler Soul
What Kind of Soul Are You?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What will you be doing in Moldova?????

A question I've been frequently asked. So here is a little description! My assignment (should I choose to take it a la' Mission Impossible! ) is as a Community & Organizational Development Advisor in the Community and Organizational Development (COD) program. Bascially I will be working with NGO's (Non governmental organizations) known as non-profits in the US and Local Public Administrations. This includes a wide range such as youth centers, women's groups (Moldova along with Ukraine, has one of the highest rates of women sex trafficking in the former countries of the Soviet Union), environmental groups, parent/teacher assoc., business centers and/or local Mayor's offices.

It's a really cool assignment because the possibilities of involvement are endless. Under the Soviet system the government provided services and activities for the people. With the Union's collapse that disenegrated as well as decreased peoples' sense of identity and security. Imagine having something ripped away you relied on and were conditioned to believe in and - then left flailing on your own. Such is the case with Moldova and many emerging nations in Eastern Europe.

Anyway I could go on and on and on - but my duties are varied in helping local individuals and community groups transition from a centralized managment style of the Soviet Union to the challenges of grassroots community development.

Peace and Love!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Why'd you go and do that love? Join the Peace Corps?

Soooo - I've been asked what on earth made you sign up and join the Peace Corps. Was it something you always thought about doing? A whim? Well - yes and no.

See I DID always want to join after my experience as an exchange student in high school, I was seriously bitten by the travel bug and developed an appetitie for wanderlust! But after college I didn't go into it right away and because I found myself a job in the travel industry. I got to travel a ton but again I left that industry and found myself on another path. Hardly travelled after that but still had the bug all the same. Over the years I didn't totally forget about the Peace Corps but thought my time had passed for me to do it.

BUT it's funny how a seemingly innocent conversation makes a light bulb go off in your mind and begin a series of events that changes your whole life. A special friend of mine that I made last year was here for a brief period before deciding to move back to Europe. We were talking about imagining ourselves 10 years from now and looking back to see what we may have regretted not doing. Both of us agreed continuing to travel the globe was something we wanted to do. My next statement - that I wished I'd joined the Peace Corps. My friend left and I thought - I'm not going to regret not joining. So I began the application process and here I am.

Warning alert - below will be some serious cheesy comments! Even though I enjoy what I do I can't imagine myself sitting a cube the rest of my life not making some sort of contribution. As I wrote in my Aspiration Statement to the PC - I have an intense belief that we can make this world a better place for everyone. No matter how idealistic that view may be, I want to try as best I can to make some difference.

So that's it in a nutshell.

Moldova, Moldova - Land o' Wine...

So above is the map of and flag of Moldova... Where I'll be for the next 2 years...

-4.4 million peeps

-Land o' wine -Heavy Agriculture base

-One of the poorest European countries

-Summer: hot and long; Winter: Moderate however - during an intrusion of the arctic air mass it can get dang chilly!

Hmmmm....must bring parka. I am a Cali girl.

Peace Corps Application Timeline...

Here's a timeline to show my application process for the Peace Corps: A long, frustrating process but in the end was worth it!

June 2005 - online app - filled it out, held on to it for a bit, finally submitted it at the end of June.

Mid July 2005 - interview - went really well. Cool interview. August 8, 2005 - nominated Community Development Eastern Europe, September 2006 departure - Sweet!

August 22, 2005 - PC sends me a huge, hunkin' medical, dental and vision packet. October 2005 - Start scheduling doctor's appointments. This began a mini-dental drama from my schiester dentist who wants to charge me $2500 for dental work! Um, I'm trying to leave the country debt free - not saddled with dental debt!

End of October 2005 - Dental drama still going - looking for another dentist; researching dental schools. Finished medical packet - sent in.

November 8, 2005- Medically Cleared, Legally Cleared (woot! woot - I'm not on the CIA, FBI or any other legal list!) - Dental drama still draaaaggginng on!

ALL of December - Dental drama ends. New dentist is on the scene - he is my dental angel! Send PC my new dental forms BUT PC sends them back to me saying "work needed" on 2 teeth. DRATS!

January 2006 - My dental angel retakes xray's of my teeth. Tells me I don't need my 2 teeth worked on. Writes a letter to PC stating this fact. Send updated dental/xray/letter packet back to PC - Dental clearance on Jan. 24, 2006. YAHOO! All cleared on all fronts...or so it seems...

February 2006 - patiently waiting for word from the PC. Am I in or out?! Invites start going out... but not to me!

Early March 2006 - Get a phone call from my Placement Officer about resume/skills. He drops a mini-bomb regarding something listed on my app. I have to fill out and additional questionnaire and write a personal statement to clarify as well as have a phone assessment - I have 2 weeks to fill out the questionnaire. Turn it in the next day with an updated resume. Now waiting for the phone assessment - tomorrow it will be 2 weeks of waiting for this call. UGH!

...During this time of waiting and feeling pitiful because I am STILL in limbo I bought a ticket to visit my Aunt and sister in D.C. and my friend Laura in NY from April 25th to May 2nd...

April 1st - Assessment peeps send me an email to set up a time to talk But I don't receive it from blasted hotmail. HOTMAIL sucks!

April 8th - They resend me an email and then decide to call me on April 9th to verfiy email address (I give them Yahoo) and set up time for assessment call. April 10th - assessment call delayed by work! UGH! I have to reschedule - I could cry!

April 11th - Assessment call - YAY. It's over. I did it. Finito! She was a very nice woman and I enjoyed our call. So now the invite waiting begins!

April 25th - 30th - In D.C.; head to NY on the 28th.
Check my email on April 30th while on vacation to discover that on the 27th my invite status changed to INVITEE!!!!!!!!!! I feel such joy, fear, relief and wonder all at the same time! And how great - I'm at my Aunt's so I could share my news with her first and in person!

May 2nd - Get home to a big old package from the PC! My invite is to MOLDOVA! The send me lots to read, a CD ROM on Moldova, more forms to fill out and oh yes my favorite - more essays to write! But it's alllll gooood - I am on my way.

May 8th - on my PC toolkit: Congratulations! You have accepted an invitation to serve in Moldova.