Thursday, December 30, 2010


I forgot that I changed my PC contact e-mail to my new g-mail account (which I am not used to yet and have not been checking at all)...anyways, there was an e-mail from like 8 days ago from the Zambia desk requesting a copy of my college diplomas. Supposedly, the country of Zambia requires a copy of each person's diploma in order to allow them to volunteer. No big deal, I just gotta scan it in and e-mail it back. And then I need to make sure that I check my g-mail account more regularly from now on!

So, I posted my broken car on far the best offer I have is for $325 (I'm gonna try to get him up to $400) I'll have to call and deal with that tomorrow. Chad is coming into town tonight and we are going to the Outback Bowl- Gators vs. ??? (you can tell how much I keep up on my football lol) on Saturday :-)

I was bored tonight and felt that I needed to reinspire myself about this blog, so I spent some time playing around with my template and backgrounds and stuff. Any opinions? Good? Bad? Try again? lol

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas, Family, & Broke Down Car

So, Christmas went well... I basically got a bunch of gift cards, money, and a bunch of small things I still needed for Africa. Now, I'll use the gift cards to buy the very last things I need...pretty much just a couple new bras and a pair of tennis shoes....then I'm done! And my family just left, so now I will start the task of pulling my suitcases back out of the closet and packing/re-packing (some of it is still packed from November).

It was a very nice vacation with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew here. I will miss seeing him grow up for the next 2 years :-( Let's see...mostly we spent our time eating, shopping, playing at the park, and watching movies....but it was all fun, just spending time with them.

Now to the bad car broke down today....which, for anyone that knows me, is kind of a common occurrence. I have had many many issues with my car over the years, but this time I think it is the I think I can officially say this is the LAST time it is broken down....because I am leaving in a month and I AM NOT fixing it! So, now I am trying to see what little bit of money I can get for my broken piece of crap car....and also trying to figure out how I will get back and forth to work for the next month :-( Wish me luck!

In Peace Corps Zambia group is steadily growing...we are up to about 22 people now. The date for invites to Zambia has passed, so all people should be invited, now it is just a matter of waiting for any more to find us on Facebook. Also, we should probably be getting our Staging e-mails sometime in the next week & then we will book our flights and get all that good information! It finally feels like I am getting close again :-)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Trees etc.

We bought a Christmas tree today, and put it up and decorated it, all in one clean sweep...probably the quickest Christmas tree fiasco we've ever had. Me and my mom usually put off getting one until it is almost too late, then spend forever trying to pick one out that is good enough and for a cheap enough price...then we dread and procrastinate on actually decorating it. Some years, we've just left it plain and undecorated. Last year, we actually ended up not having a tree at all! But, for whatever reason (I think because we were also helping out our neighbors), our tree finding and decorating was quick and easy and painless this year!

Babysitting is keeping me busy...worked 50 hours this week :-)

Bike riding is going so-so. I need to do it more though!

My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew will be here in like 10 days! It is nice that I get another chance to see them again. When I visited them in LA in September I thought it was going to be the last time I would see them for 2.5 years. But with my first departure canceled, now I get another chance to spend more time with them! :-)

My brother turned 27 yesterday and I joked that he is old. And he made the comment that I will be that old by the time I get back from Africa! Aghh!

There are now 11 of us in my Zambia Facebook Group. There should be a lot more of us...but I don't know where they all are. If you, or anyone you know, has an invite to Zambia for January or February, tell them to join our group!/home.php?sk=group_148215408556589&ap=1

Also, check my link "Other PCV Blogs" on my sidebar---I just added links to some of the people's blogs that will be in my group going to Zambia in Jan.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sorry for My Absence

So, I am sorry to anyone and everyone who reads my blog--- I am sorry I have not written in like a month. I don't really have a good excuse why, as I am not exactly sure of the reason why myself...

Part of it is probably that I have started and been busy with my new nanny job....which is going great by the way. I guess the mere fact that I am now working all day- every day again, means that I am no longer sitting at my computer obsessing over Peace Corps blogs and such all day. And there have actually been some evenings where I get home and do not even turn my computer on!

I think the other thing about working again is that I feel like I'm kind of switched back into normal everyday life again, and somewhat switched out of that "oh my gosh, I'm going to Africa soon" phase. It's not that I am not excited about Zambia or anything, it's just that I was already waiting and getting so close to leaving, and now I still have more waiting to do....I'm just tired of thinking about it is all.

Probably every other day I get asked "So, have you heard anything new/more about your Peace Corps thing?" and I respond "No!" while having to hold back my attitude and frustration.....What new would I have heard?!?!?! There is nothing new....there is nothing more... I am going to Zambia, January 31st...... and that's that.....there is nothing to do but wait.

I don't want people to misunderstand and think I am not excited or that I am rethinking PC or anything. I just feel like I've already gone through all of the excitement and obsession with the first departure....and at this point I just don't really feel like thinking about it as much anymore. It's too much effort. I'd rather just keep on going with daily life for the next couple months.... and I will allow myself to get excited and put in the effort again once I have the plane tickets in my hand...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Biking Plan

As my new nanny job is about to start, and will be taking up all daylight hours of my days for the next few months, I was troubled with the dilemma of how I would fit my bike riding in. Well, I decided to research stationary exercise bikes, and was surprised at how cheap you can get them. So, after looking at a few and reading reviews, I just ordered myself an exercise bike.... so I will be able to sit in front of the TV and bike in the evenings. I'm excited!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Job!

I got the nanny job I interviewed for the other night! Yay! It will be +/- 40 hrs/wk and will be during November, December, and January :-) I will be taking care of one little baby boy...almost 3 months old. I'm excited :-)

P.S. I haven't gone on a bike ride in a couple days....I'm already failing lol.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bike Riding Zambia it is possible that on any given day I may have to ride a bicycle up to 40km (24miles) to visit a school, volunteer, main road, etc. In order to prepare, PC suggests you get very comfortable with biking beforehand.

I started my bike training yesterday... I rode an 8 mile loop at a medium pace (I figured I shouldn't race b/c I most likely won't be able to go very fast on the dirt paths in Zambia). It ended up taking me 50 minutes. So, at that pace (8 miles/50 minutes) would take me about 2 hr. 30 min. to ride 24 miles!

So, today I biked the 8 mile loop again, but tried to speed it up a little bit...I finished in 44 minutes. So, 8 miles/44 minutes.....that would be about 2 hr. 15 min. to do 24 miles. Making progress, but that's still quite a long ride....

I figure I will just keep doing the 8 miles for a while till I get good and fast at it, and then I will gradually increase the distance and such until I make it up to that goal of 24 miles!

In other news, I interviewed for a babysitting/nanny job last night. Hoping that it went well so that I have a job for the next few months :-)

Also, I've been working on making my Halloween costume... Xena Warrior Princess!

P.S. I would have been leaving (to Lesotho) in 5 days! Crazy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Waiting for Peace Corps is Like....

I know I probably sound like I'm complaining about all this... but it really is hard to explain how horrible this is. Let me try this:

My sister told me something about a month ago after I had been telling her how I was feeling while waiting for my Lesotho departure.

I was trying to explain how long the application process had been (about 7 months), so I'd kinda already been preparing for a long time....that I was excited, but kinda anxious....that I had done all the research I could to be as best prepared as I could... it was all I ever wanted and could think about, but it seemed so long away and each day was taking forever....I couldn't sleep some nights because I couldn't stop thinking about it....all day long I had thoughts of Lesotho and Sesotho running through my head to the point that it was annoying....I just wanted it to hurry up and get here....

Well, she told me that it sounded exactly like the last two months of being pregnant, when a woman has had this thing growing inside for her for 7 months, watching it develop and getting ever the more attached to it.....she is excited about the baby, but also a bit nervous...she has researched and read and talked about it constantly, but every day leading up to it is slowly dragging on....she's so tired of the waiting and she just can't wait to hurry up and have that baby....

So, now, imagine being in the last 3 weeks of your pregnancy, and the doctor says "Sorry, you can't have this baby yet. In fact, you are going to have to keep on holding that baby in there for 4 more months". Doesn't sound like fun, huh?

Don't forget the part that you quit your job b/c you were 8 months pregnant and about to have a baby.....or that you told everyone you know that a baby would be here in a month....or that you cleaned out your closets and got rid of half your stuff to make room for the baby.....or that you've spent all kinds of money the past few months buying things for the baby....or that you have your bags packed and ready for the trip to the hospital...

Oh well, don't worry, you'll have your baby....just not for another 4 months.

Sure, when the baby finally gets here after the 4 extra months, you will probably love it just as much as you would have earlier. It's your baby, of course you'll love it and you'll be super excited when it finally comes! You'll love it and take care of it and it will be the center of your universe.

In the meantime though, I thinks it is perfectly understandable to be a little angry at the doctor (and perhaps baby) for having to stick it out and suffer for 4 more months. I mean, who wants to be pregnant for 13 months? And who wants to deal with the hassle of rearranging your life b/c your baby unexpectedly got stuck on its way out. Nobody can argue that it will be an easy 4 months.....

Bad Day

As I start to get over the initial shock and disappointment that I will not be going to Lesotho, I am entering into the shock of "what the heck am I going to do for the next 4 months?". I essentially quit my job 2 months ago, and my information is already gone from the school district system, so basically I have to start over at ground zero. I tried that today, and started filling out the teaching application...

I got to the section about my certification, and I busted out crying, b/c my certification information is all filed away and packed up, beneath a stack of more boxes....I didn't think I was going to need to get to it for at least 2 more years....

I finally looked up my certification information online....then I moved to the next section....detailed descriptions of intern placements/student teaching....really? OMG I have to fill this all out again!?!?!

The other sections went on to Teaching Jobs, References, Recommendations, yeah, I was so frustrated and stressed that I just quit filling it out and gave up for the day.

If I had not planned on leaving in November and had not given up my job, I would be in there teaching right now. I could have taught until January, and then taken a short break before my departure in February. But instead, I am sitting here filling out lengthy applications like I was back in grad. school and looking for my first teaching job. This sucks!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


After 6 calls (over 2 hours) this morning, I did finally speak to a placement officer. He was very nice and friendly and trying to do his best to take care of all of us displaced Lesotho people. He went over my information and said he would like to put me in a program departing Mid-February 2011 for a Sub Saharan African country. The program is called "Nonformal Primary Education Training" and should be similar to what I was going to do in Lesotho. He said my invite should be sent out today and they will expedite it so it should be here by Friday. From what I can tell, it will probably be one of two countries, Namibia or Zambia. I have a slight preference for Zambia, but am not going to get my hopes up.

I'm glad I have this settled and have another invitation on the way. Although, it doesn't really make me feel any better about Lesotho being canceled. Now I have to figure out what to do for the next 4 months. I've been looking to see if there are any temporary teaching positions open and sent a few e-mails already to look into that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lesotho Canceled. Dreams Smashed.

Worst day ever. Just got the call about an hour ago, with the
"Unfortunate"News: The November Lesotho program is CANCELED!
Reason: Conducting a Reassessment of the Country and it's Safety/Security.

I can't believe this happened NOW, 20 days before departure! How can they do this so close to us leaving! Peace Corps, I want you to know that I, along with all the others in our group, am absolutely and totally shocked and crushed!

I don't feel up to going into much more detail right now, but I will try to update later tonight or tomorrow. I am supposed to call a placement officer in the morning to discuss my next steps and options...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vacations All Around

I haven't really updated much in the past month, as I was waiting for my staging info. and I was pretty much busy vacationing all around :-)

I went to Louisiana and spent 11 days with my sister and her family. I had lots of fun hanging out with her and all her boys! We got to spend a couple days at a lakehouse, take Nehemiah (my nephew) to a VeggieTales concert, go to a ULM football game, redecorate her house, and just spend time with all her boys (she works as a houseparent at a children's home... kinda similar to foster care). Thanks Stephanie and Joseph for having me there!

After I got back from LA, me and my mom went on a weekend beach trip with our neighbors, Greg and Michele, and one other couple. We had an awesome little 3 bedroom condo thing rented on the water. Got to spend 3 days laying on the beach and at the pool, went on a couple short boat rides, saw a dolphin up close, saw a just-hatched baby sea turtle, played cards, and had lots of time to practice my Sesotho! It was a great trip!

This Wednesday, I am going to head up to Gainesville for the last time & visit with Chad, Wendy, Aiden/Kirk, Amy, Mrs. Coffey's class, and whoever else I can get together with. I plan on this being my last vacation/trip....then I will spend my final 3 weeks at home preparing for Lesotho!

Staging & Flight Reservations!

Just got my staging information by e-mail this morning, and then called SATO travel and booked my flight to Philadelphia. So here's a quick version of the details:

Flight from Tampa to Philadelphia:
Monday, November 1, 2010
Depart- 7:55am
Arrive- 10:23am

Staging in Philadelphia:
Monday, November 1, 2010
12:30pm- Check in at Hotel & Peace Corps Trainee Registration
2:00-4:30pm- Staging Session
4:45-7:00pm- Staging Session

Tuesday, November 2, 2010
2:00am- Check out of Hotel
2:30am- Bus Ride to New York JFK Airport

Flights to Africa:
Tuesday, November 2- Wednesday, November 3
Flight from New York JFK to Johannesburg, South Africa- 15.5 hours
Flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Maseru, Lesotho- 1 hour

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Unfortunate Event

I want to share some sad news from Lesotho. A fellow University of Florida graduate, and Peace Corps Volunteer, was shot and killed in Lesotho on Friday, September 3, 2010. His name was Tom Maresco, and he has been serving as an Education volunteer in Lesotho since November 2009. Tom was an amazing guy and will be missed by family and friends here in Florida and in Lesotho.

Although I did not know Tom personally, I have friends that did. Ironically, I was also given his e-mail address by a friend just days before his death, as I was supposed to get in contact with him. Supposedly, Tom has been waiting and hoping for another UF grad to join him as a PCV in Lesotho. I would have been that person, and Tom and I would have met in November. I am sad that I will never get that chance to meet or talk to Tom.

I want my friends and family to know that this was a random violent crime, and was not something targeted at Peace Corps Volunteers. The investigation is ongoing, but it is thought to have been an attempted robbery. Please read the Peace Corps Press Release to get more information.

This event saddens me, but does not deter me or lessen my resolve to go to Lesotho. Crimes like this can and do happen all over the world.

More Preparation

Other things I've bought in the past few days in preparation for Lesotho:
- thick tights (girl's sizes b/c they are cheaper :-)
- thick knee socks (from men's section b/c again, they are cheaper)
- thick thigh-high socks (actually had to get these in the women's section lol)
- a set of kitchen knives
- winter coat, 4-in-1, w/ zip out fleece lining....very cool!
- extra USB Flash Drives
- Toshiba Netbook- up to 11 hours of battery life....awesome :-)

Also, my Diva Cup arrived in the mail today....interesting.....

I've also spent time trying on and modeling various clothes for my mother and making tentative piles of which clothes I will bring with me. Fun fun!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Spending $$$

I just spent about $70 at Wal-Mart (luckily I had a gift-card) on things for Peace Corps. Here are some of the treasures I came home with:
- LED headlight ($15)
- Small LED Flashlight ($5)
- Crank LED Flashlight that requires no batteries ($10)
- All-in-one Pocket Knife Tool Thingy (pliers, screwdrivers, saw, etc.) ($10)
- 2 Waterbottles ($8)
- 2 Pairs of Leggings ($10)
- Can Opener ($2)
- 3 Cheap Vegetable Peelers (supposedly they are good as gifts?) ($3)
- 2 Pairs of Scissors ($2)
- Crossword Book ($1)

Now I might go order a Diva Cup for ~ $30 (I'm not going to explain what a Diva Cup is on it if you are that interested)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

HIV/AIDS in Lesotho

I just added a new page on my blog for information about HIV/AIDS in Lesotho. I knew that Lesotho had a very high prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS (23%), but until today I had failed to really research it further. I failed to realize just how prevalent and serious it is. Here are just a few things I learned/realized:

1. Lesotho is ranked #3 in the world for its HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
2. Swaziland is #1 and Botswana is #2
3. Nearly 1 in 4 adults in Lesotho may have HIV/AIDS

Please click on the HIV/AIDS in Lesotho tab to find out more (and the links I included there have awesome interactive maps!).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Aspiration Statement & Resume

Worked on my Aspiration Statement and PC Resume this weekend, and just e-mailed them to my country desk :-) There were no guidelines as to how long each document should/could my resume was 2 pages and my aspiration statement was 2.5 pages. I was going to post it here, but it is telling me there is something wrong with the html code when I copy and paste it...oh well.

My mind is so overwhelmed with research and information about PC and Lesotho and Sesotho (the language I will be learning) that I am having trouble sleeping and doing anything else in my life. I played a little dress up last night and started making piles of clothing, hiking boots, camping gear, etc. that I may be bringing with me. It is too early to start packing, but I can at least start getting an idea of what I already have and what I need to get.

Okay, it's naptime now...since I couldn't sleep last night....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Things accomplished today....

So, although I was quite excited about receiving my invitation packet last night....I quickly became a little overwhelmed. Did I mention that (according to the shipping label) it is basically 3lbs. of paperwork and literature to be read and filled out? Anyways, to avoid going totally crazy, I skimmed through it all last night, and then allowed myself to do more fun things, such as:
Then, after a good night's sleep, here is what I tackled so far today....
  • Read 13 page Assignment Description Book
  • Read 103 page Online Lesotho Welcome Book
  • Officially accepted my invitation (and certified that I had read the above mentioned literature) by e-mail
  • Completed no-fee passport (special government business type passport- different from normal personal passport) paperwork on computer, printed it out, got passport photos taken at CVS, and mailed it all in to PC office w/ my current personal passport
  • Started reading 47 page "A Few Minor Adjustments" book......

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I am invited to serve in....

LESOTHO- November 2, 2010 !!!!!!!!!

So happy right now!
Just got my invitation packet (delivered by UPS at 7:15pm)! I am officially invited to serve as a Resource Teacher in Lesotho. I will be leaving on November 2nd! Not much else to say....
Here are a few pics to document this great day!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Got my application status update this morning! As of yesterday, I am officially invited to serve in the Peace Corps! NO...I DON'T KNOW WHERE/WHEN my invitation packet is in the mail...and as soon as I recieve that sometime in the next few days, I will know all the details :-)

Crossing my fingers for no surprises :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Contact from Placement

I got an e-mail from Placement on Friday, asking if I would be available and interested in an earlier departure (October 5th) to go to the Pacific Islands (Tonga or Samoa). I was totally shocked by this e-mail, because although I always suspected they might ask me about going in October, I had always assumed it would be for one of the African countries going in hadn't even crossed my mind to possibly go to Tonga or Samoa in October! LOL. Anyways, I spent most of the day researching and then considering my options, and eventually e-mailed back Friday afternoon saying, "Thank you for considering me for an earlier departure to the Pacific Islands. However, after much consideration, I have decided that I would prefer to remain with my original nomination for Sub Saharan Africa and departure date in November."

Just to help everyone out, here is some of my reasoning leading up to my decision:
* October 5th is very soon to be ready and I already have trips planned that would interfere or need to be cancelled
* My heart and passion has always been set on Africa. Although I would be willing to go somewhere else, if Africa is still an option- I definitely prefer Africa.
* I don't like seafood and would have lots of trouble w/the diet in Pacific Islands
* Sounds like a lot of volunteers may have to live with a host family all 2 yrs in Pacific Islands- which I would prefer not doing
* A lot of areas in Pacific Islands have electricity, running water, indoor toilets, etc.....I am looking for the more extreme and rustic living conditions
* I think I will meet more volunteers and have the opportunity to travel to more places in the Pacific Islands I think it would be harder to travel and there would be a smaller pool of new friends/volunteers to meet

Well, hopefully everyone supports and understands my decision! And hopefully Placement was not offended by my saying no, and hopefully they contact me soon about leaving in November!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Official Medical Clearance Letter

As I had suspected a few days ago, I am medically cleared! My mom received the official medical clearance letter in the mail today. Woohoo! Not really a surprise or new update....but good to have it officially in writing :-)

Waiting for contact from PO....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Medically Cleared!

Just got another status update..... a decision has been reached regarding my medical clearance & I should get a letter in the mail soon! This usually means that you're cleared, and seeing that I faxed in the only additional info. they had asked for, I'm assuming I am cleared! I'm happy, for me this has been a pretty quick and easy clearance, compared to some other people's medical clearances that I have read/heard about.

Now, I should be getting contacted by a placement officer sometime coming up in the near future. I am in New York right now at my grandma's, so I tried to bring any and all info. with me that I might need in writing an updated resume, etc. (anything else the PO usually asks for).

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Additional Medical Information Requested

Just got a letter in the mail from OMS (Office of Medical Services) requesting more information from my doctor regarding my allergic reaction (hives) to Penicillin in January. I had this reaction after submitting the original health status review, so I therefore had not indicated it on the review. If I had indicated it originally, they would have sent me this additional request form upfront with the rest of the medical packet. Anyways, it should not be a big deal... I will drop it off to the doctor's office on Monday and hopefully they can fill it out quickly and fax it to OMS. It was not a severe reaction, nothing a little Benadryl couldn't I'm hoping it won't cause any complications or set backs.

Crossing my fingers and hoping for clearance soon :-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Woohoo! Medical Review!

I got an application status update this morning! I have a hold on my medical section...which is actually good...because that means that they are now reviewing my medical files...which will eventually hopefully lead to medical clearance. I've been waiting for 1 month for them to start this review, so today is a happy day :-) Now I have to wait for them to finish reviewing and grant clearance...which could be anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to 2 months (hopefully not! lol).

P.S. I am very proud of myself for performing my own vehicle maintenance this afternoon! I just changed my air filter (which is easy and anybody can do) and I changed my fuel filter (a little bit more difficult, but still semi-easily DIY..... although I think most people usually pay to have it done at a shop). I might go buy an oil filter and try an oil change next :-)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This is not really an update...because nothing new has happened....
Still waiting on PC to start reviewing my medical packet....I've been pretty good at being patient so far....but hoping they will get to it soon :-)

For those of you who have just found out about my Peace Corp plans or are visiting my blog for the first time, here is some information to catch you up to date. Joining the Peace Corps is a long and complicated process that is said to take an average of 9 to 12 months (I applied in January, and am nominated to leave in November). Here is how I see the breakdown of the major components:
1. Online Application
2. Interview w/ Recruiter
3. Nomination (for projected date & program)
4. Legal Clearance
5. Dental Clearance
6. Medical Clearance
7. Placement
8. Official Invitation
9. Departure
Currently, I have completed steps 1-5, and am now sitting in Step 6: Medical Clearance. This is usually one of the longest waits during any part of the process. I have completed all medical requirements and am waiting for the medical team to review my file and grant clearance.

While I am waiting, here is my plans for the next few months:
July- finish up summer last days teaching my kids :-( I will miss them lots!
August- upstate NY for 3 weeks to visit my grandma, aunts, uncles, & cousins
September & October- Louisiana to visit my sister, brother in law, and nephew
- visit w/ friends & family
- volunteer/help out at Seffner w/ the EELP and ASD classes
- volunteer w/ some other organizations

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Aghhh....Sigh of Relief

Woohooo! Peace Corps has officially received my medical packet! So glad it made it there safe! Took exactly 7 days from when I mailed it :-) Now I just have to wait and see when they start reviewing it. Should be pretty soon I would think, since it took me so long to complete it and send it in (and they seem to be done with a lot of Aug. & Sep. people already). I'm getting excited!!!

First week of summer school complete....5 more weeks to go! We've been very lucky so far to not have all of our kids show is so nice to have a manageable size class (I know a luxury I most definitely will not have in Africa lol). I also cannot even begin to explain how nice it is to have early release days every day all summer...I wish it was like this during the school year!

Leaving tonight to go to Gainesville for a long weekend :-)

P.S. I just noticed on my has been exactly 5 months since I submitted my online application.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Out of My Hands

So, "it" is now "out of my hands". I just put my completed medical packet in the mailbox. It is kind of a terrifying thing to do...this packet that I've held on to for 3 months, brought with me to at least 10 doctor's appointments, stressed and cried over, spent at least $200 of my own money & all of my benefit allowance from my health insurance plan...and finally it is all done. Now, the more terrifying thoughts occur...what if it gets lost in the mail & they never receive it? what if it gets damaged in the mail? what if I forgot a sheet or a shot or a signature? what if they come back and say there is something wrong with me? what if they want me to do some additional tests or paperwork? Ughhh! Too much to worry about!

I guess I just need to be positive and hope that:
1) I hear from them sometime within the next week confirming they received the packet in the mail
2) They review my packet, find it to be complete & okay, and grant me medical clearance

Well, it is good to know at least that it is "out of my hands" now, and that I have done my part to complete the next step. It is nice to not have to worry about going to anymore appointments, waiting on specialist paperwork, paying for more shots, etc. Now, like I keep telling all of my friends and family, it is really just a waiting game.

P.S. I think I might have stolen this title from someone else's recent post. I was trying to think of a title and this is what came to mind, but I vaguely remember reading it recently when someone else finally sent off their medical packet. Anyways, it's a good title, so thank you to whoever it is that I am stealing it from lol :-)

Monday, June 14, 2010


I kind of just realized, as I was sitting here watching TV, that I am 24 years old now. LOL my birthday was on Friday, but I guess my weekend was busy, so I didn't really think about it much until right now. It sounds so old. It seemed so unreal too, when my mom reminded me that when I get back from my service in the Peace Corps I will be almost 27. I kind of thought I would be married and have kids by now. But, looks like that won't be happening anytime soon...

It is nice to be done with school. And as much as I know there is a big possibility that summer school will be horrible, I kind of feel excited and invigorated by the thought of it right now. It is like a second chance. It's like starting a whole new school year, and I am having fun being creative and coming up with ideas about how I am going to do things differently. Hopefully, at least some of it will be successful and work out ;-)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Last Day of My First Year...

Tomorrow is the last day of school. I can't believe it has gone by so fast! Sure there were many, many, many days that were incredibly torturous and long, and weeks that have dragged on, but somehow, overall, it has flown by pretty fast. I have to admit, the second half of the year was like 10 times better than the first half...largely due to the difference in the number of students ;-)

I am going to miss my little babies like crazy. But more than missing them, I am going to be filled with wonder about how they are doing and what kind of progress they are or are not making. I get so worried about them and have a genuine desire for them to continue growing and progressing, and I regret that I can't be there to help nurture and support that growth :-( year of teaching down...and I'm quitting already lol :-) Not totally though, I guess, because I'll still be doing teaching/education related work in the Peace Corps...probably nothing like teaching here, but we'll see...

My First Year Teaching Complete!
Peace Corps Here I Come!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nine Hills

So...I haven't posted in more than a month...obviously that means nothing new has happened as far as PC goes :-(

Basically, I am waiting until June 15th to get my 2nd Varicella shot...then I will finally be able to send in my completed medical packet. I'm really hoping that I won't need to do any additional medical stuff after that point, b/c by the time they review the packet and let me know, my health insurance will have already ended.

So, what has happened this month? I'm totally tired of school, and can't wait for it to be over. I think I've had like 10 IEP meetings in the past 3 weeks. I'm also starting to wonder what I was thinking when I signed up to teach summer school lol... I'm busy packing my classroom into 3 piles (one to stay at school, one for summer school, and one of personal things to go home). Also starting to think about packing up my apartment and getting ready for that move. My car has died in the middle of the road 5 times...been towed 4 times...blown at least 10 fuses...gotten a new relay modulator...and STILL DOESN'T WORK!!! Meanwhile I've been driving my brother's car....which also conveniently didn't start this morning. I've been trying to go to Gainesville for a month, and still haven't been able to make it up there :-(

One thing I have enjoyed, at least this past week, is reading my new book from the library, "Nine Hills to Nambonkaha" by Sarah Erdman... it is a memoir written by a PCV in a health program in Cote d'Ivoire. I am loving it and have been reading it nonstop! I also picked up two other PC books..."Power Lines" by Jason Carter, and "Dear Exile" by Hilary Liftin & Kate Montgomery. I haven't started them yet though ;-) Anyone know any other really good PC books I should look into?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Autism Walk

No word yet about whether or not I should send in my medical packet minus 1 shot. I guess I just keep on waiting.

In other news, the Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Tampa Bay is going on this Saturday. I'm busy making shirts for our team of teachers and parents (for those that do not know me, I teach PreK Autistic children). If anyone is interested in reading about the event and/or providing a donation, please visit my webpage

Thanks for all the support!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dental Clearance

I got Dental Clearance today! Hooray!!! I was staring to get worried that they never even received my packet because it has been like 2 weeks since I sent it, and I never got confirmation that it arrived....but all of the sudden my toolkit was updated today to say I am cleared :-)

I still have not mailed my medical packet yet. I finally found a clinic to get my Polio and Varicella shots for pretty cheap...will come to a total of $55 for the 3 shots (compared to the $180 it would have been at the Health Department). I got the Polio and the 1st Varicella on April 15th, but unfortunately have to wait 8 weeks to get the 2nd Varicella dose :-( I e-mailed my Peace Corps nurse today to see if I can send in my medical packet now, and just send in that last immunization record later....I don't want to wait 2 more months to send in the packet just because of one shot.

I just finished a great Spring Break (from Elementary School). I had an awesome week with my sister, nephew, and my grandma, aunt, uncle, and 2 cousins from New York :-) Made a few trips to the beach, the pool, and other fun places.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dental Mailed, Spider Bites, Autism Awareness, etc.

I mailed in my dental stuff today. It has been done and sitting on my desk for a couple weeks now, because I was just going to wait and send it all together with the medical. But, I'm still going to have to wait a bit for the medical, so I decided to just go ahead and stick the dental packet in the mail now.

On medical, I'm still waiting on my counseling history forms from UF, a polio shot, and apparently a chicken pox shot (even though I had chicken pox when I was little, my blood work came back saying I don't have any immunities to it). Unfortunately my doctor's office doesn't have these immunizations in stock, and I have to go to the health department and pay $35 each for them...and I'm waiting until spring break to do it so I can get there and get in line early enough to get in.

In the mean time, I got a spider bite almost two weeks ago, and I have this about 3 inch (in diameter) infected area on my arm that is just now starting to show some signs of getting better. It's pretty gross...

In other news....April is Autism Awareness Month; and tomorrow, April 2nd is World Autism Day- wear the color BLUE to show your support! Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that is characterized by problems in three areas: social development, communication and stereotypic behaviors. Autism is a "spectrum disorder" that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. 1 in 91 children in the United States is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. There is no known single cause or cure for Autism, but increased awareness and funding can help families today.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Moving Right Along...

I went back to the doctor on Friday to get the PPD results checked and also to get the blood tests done. Oh, and he ended up doing that not so fun #13 on the physical. It actually wasn't all that bad though :-)

So, all that I have to wait on now is the results of the lab tests (should be by Wednesday of this week) and the specialist reports from UF (those might prove to be kinda tricky and more time-consuming). And I need to find time to go down to the Health Department to get a Polio booster.

I'm trying to not totally get my hopes up, because it is so way early in the process....but from what I can tell, Lesotho is the only SSA country with a Primary Ed program and a departure date in November.... and Lesotho happens to be the first country I told my recruiter that I was interested in.....

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Talked to my Regional Office today....turns out my estimated departure date is not February 2011.... so here's my corrected nomination info:

Program Name: Primary Ed./Teacher Trainer
Region: Sub Saharan Africa
Departure Date: November 2010

I'm very excited about this change in the date :-) Makes some decision making about teaching next year a lot easier for me! Looks like I should not start the next year teaching....instead I'm thinking I might just substitute teach for those couple months until November....that will be more flexible and less stressful anyways!

Also they said there is some possibility I could get placed with Special Ed., just all depends on what is needed and such later at the time of my placement....but at least I know it is not totally out of the question :-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dentist & Doctor- all in one day!

Had my dentist appointment today....and my doctor's appointment! The doctor called me yesterday and said they had a cancellation and could squeeze me in :-)

The dentist visit was kind of long....but free! and included a full cleaning, exam, and x-rays. And I have no cavities or I'm all set to go with that :-)

The doctor visit was also long...he was kind of annoyed with all the paperwork and all the lab tests he needed to order. I got a tetanus booster and my Tuberculin test applied. I have to go back on Friday to have the Tuberculin test results read and to do the blood tests for all the other stuff. He also didn't do/check off the part of the exam regarding the anus and rectum.....did everyone's doctor actually examine that or just check it off??? I'm going to ask him about it on Friday.

I'm amazed this is all going so quick. Looks like I'll be waiting the longest for the specialist reports from UF :-(

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nomination Packet

Yay! I have some nomination info! Here it is:

Program Name: Primary Ed./Teacher Trainer
Program Number: 170 2011 1 M2 (I don't know exactly what all this means, but I know 170 is the primary ed part, and I think the rest might mean something about February 2011?)
Region: Sub Saharan Africa

So, there was not anything else that talked about departure date, which is why I'm guessing maybe that program number is code for Feb 2011? Not totally sure though. If anyone knows for sure, please comment :-)

I am very happy about the region and also the date if it is 2/2011. The Primary Ed. is okay too, although Special Ed. was my first choice. But, I don't know, maybe I might be changed to Special Ed. by the time I get can hope, right? :-) And even if not, I will be happy with Primary Ed. and I will just have to create a secondary project for Special Ed.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Wow! I never would have guessed I would be able to get a dentist appointment more easily than a doctor's appointment. I called a dentist from the ICD list who will do the dental exam and x-rays for free. They gave me an appointment for this Wednesday! Wow! Super easy :-)

Unfortunately, I then stopped by my doctor's office to make an appointment with them....they can't get me in until May 28th! And they won't start any of my labwork or anything until after I see the doctor! Very disappointing :-( She said she'll give me a call if there end up being any cancellations and she can get me in earlier.

So, I just left a message with my OMS nurse to see about possibly going to a federal facility if they can get me in earlier. Who knows....maybe I don't even need to worry about rushing, since I have no idea when I'm nominated to leave lol.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Medical Packet Received

Nominated? YES, I guess so....for the past week and a half according to my toolkit...

Know what/when/where I'm nominated for? NO....still haven't heard from my recruiter....

A little bit annoyed? YES....but I'm practicing patience....

On another note.... I received my medical packet in the mail today. I started filling out some of the papers and made copies of past history ones I have to send to UF Clinic to get filled out. I will try to schedule my doctor and dentist appointments on Monday. Fortunately I did my gynecologist one last week, so that is out of the way :-)

So I guess I'll just keep moving with the medical stuff.... and keep on waiting for my recruiter to contact me and tell me what my nomination is for.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


So... my toolkit says I have been nominated (on March 3rd)... but I have yet to hear from my recruiter about the nomination. By now, I've been thinking I will probably receive my packet in the mail before I hear from her. But I just checked the mail.... nothing :-( Guess I will have to wait until Monday to hopefully either talk to her or get something in the mail...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hello Blog!

Hello! I have started this blog as a way to keep record of and share my adventures in the Peace Corps. Hopefully this will serve to keep my family and friends informed, and also to share useful information with other Peace Corps applicants and volunteers. Please feel free to comment or ask questions about anything you read or see. I'm looking forward to a fun and productive blogging experience!