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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Received that famous blue packet

Well, they said it would take 7-10 days, but I got my blue packet in only a few days!

Coming home from work yesterday, I had my mother on the phone. Upon getting out of my car, I SQUEALED!! We were both so happy to have been on the phone at the same time for that moment. Eager, I rushed inside and tore open the packet. It's amazing how much information they packed in there! Sure enough, it says I will be working as an English Resource Teacher for either secondary or primary students, leaving for Macedonia on Sept. 9.

More forms?!?!?!? Man....I thought I was just about done with filling out forms and other materials, but alas, there is more. Mainly, it isnt so bad....just things for passports, insurance, and other informative info on where I'll be and what I'll be doing. So I sent in my acceptance last night, and I spent the rest of the evening celebrating over nachos and margaritas with two of my closest pals.

Gotta say.....I was filled to tears with happiness. I was telling my housemate "Do you understand how many months I have waited for this?? Do you know how much time and money I've put into just being able to hold this packet?!" She was thrilled for me. : )

Alright guys....two months to pack and sell. Now comes the tough part.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Invitation is in the mail!!

So I got medically cleared on June 15th. On June 21st, I thought I was going to have to wait another 9 months to get placed. One day after my last entry, I heard from Placement. It was my Placement Specialist, and she wanted me to answer some more questions and also set up a time to speak on the phone. Elated, I announced I'd be free to talk on Monday.

Monday morning rolls around, and it is about 11:10 in the AM. The specialist calls, and we discuss the option of either me going as a regular English teacher this September, or waiting until next year to work as a Teacher Trainer. I weighed out my two options pretty heavily, and decided the placement in September worked best. To be quite honest, I am a little disappointed I will not be working as a Teacher Trainer, because it really would have looked nice on my resume. That being said, I will have some definite perks working in my upcoming placement!!

So the specialist said "Eastern Europe" for the first week in September. I quickly jumped online to look at the timeline, and Macedonia it is!! I spent the rest of the day at work googling every piece of info I could find out about the place and the programs.

In comparing my two options (teacher vs. teacher trainer) I think the only downfall at this point will be the difference in the job title. Macedonia, however, looks INCREDIBLE!! I am seriously pumped!! Not to mention, I'll be in a good place, geographically, for nice weather, close to friends I know over there, and not too terribly expensive for family to come visit. The proximity to other volunteers will be great, and the living conditions are considered "posh corps," bc most places have running water and electricity.

All in all, I am a mixture of terrified, anxious, nervous, excited, and a little sad. Now I just have to sell my stuff, pack my stuff, and move out of my awesome house. I'll spend the next two months saying my goodbyes, spending every second with my dog, and doing A LOT of packing!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Awaiting final invitation

So I've spent weeks, if not months, following other people's journals in hopes of determining my application timeline. I figured now was a better time than ever to start one of my own. Hopefully, some people will find my rantings somewhat useful or comforting!!

I began my application process back in January. By March, I'd had my interview and was nominated to work as a Secondary Teacher Trainer in Central/South America, leaving in late August. Excited and anxious, I decided to not waste any time on my medical clearance, as I've heard a lot of people spend months trying to get cleared.

I'd honestly have to say the medical clearance was the longest and most frustrating part of the process. I would consider myself a very healthy 25-year-old, who has had few medical problems. That being said, my biggest wall was hit with having an abnormal pap smear. I KNEW this would cause delays for my process, but I was determined to make it work. I spent weeks researching other women who'd had the same type of situation happen, and many women claimed you couldn't serve until you had a normal pap smear. Well I am telling all you ladies out there, THIS IS NOT TRUE. After having a biopsy done, the PC simply requested my doctor sign a waiver saying I could go at least 15 months without seeing a gyno. Luckily, my gyno is very supportive of my PC decision, so she gladly signed.
Another bump in medical was hit when they were apparently missing two Hepatitis tests. My doctor had order a Hep. package with my bloodwork, and my PC nurse said this is a very common mistake. In that package, it does not include a total antibody test (not igm), so I was requested to go get more bloodwork done. Although this was nothing more than another delay, another hassle, and more money out of my pocket, it all worked out just fine.

While we are on the subject, I might add how much all this cost me. In total, the lab work and physical stuff with my doctor cost me close to $500. My dental cost close to $170. My gyno stuff cost me an arm and a leg, and that is all I am going to say about that....and I cant remember what my eye stuff cost me, but I did have to buy two new pairs of glasses, as they require you to have such, prior to departure.

Well folks, on June 15, I became officially medically cleared!! YAY!! I was so excited, you have no idea. I jumped up and down in my supervisor's office for about 15 minutes and talked about all the next steps. I also contacted my original recruiter, and he was elated at the news. He claimed I should hear from Placement within a week or so, which only made me more anxious.

Within a couple days, I received an email from Placement, asking for all my updated info, such as resume and transcripts. By the morning of June 21, I felt compelled to email them. I mean, the deadline for my nominated departure date was getting too close for comfort!! In my email, I basically asked if we were still on for August. Within a few hours, I received a response saying NO.

From here, I was pretty devastated. As most of you must understand, I really put my life on hold. I thought I would be leaving in August. At this point, I didnt know what to do. The email set a vague timeline, basically saying I could leave anywhere between now and next year. The thought of next year set me into tears, as I've just worked my ass off for months!! I didn't know if I should sign a new teaching contract, renew my lease on my house, or accept a job offer out in Seattle. I needed something solid to chew on....not some vague email they are sending out to everyone right now.

Today, I called Placement. I was really quite frank with them, and I expressed most of my concerns. I also stressed how eager and flexible I was with both program and geographic placement. Although the Placement Assistant said this was helpful to know, she said they were still going to try and place me in a Teacher Trainer position, seeing as how I was qualified. Our conversation ended on her telling me I would hear something within a couple weeks. After thanking her, I said I would be calling her back in a week to check on the status.

All in all, it is frustrating and exciting. When I was brought to tears on Tuesday, I realized how invested I was in all this....mentally, physically, and financially. I know it'll be worth the wait, and I am optimistic I will be placed for a program leaving this year. I hope this post has maybe helped answer some questions or concerns, or maybe it has let some of you know you arent alone in your situation. I appreciate anyone who wants to reach out, give feedback, or simply vent along side me. : )